in case you haven’t been following along, i “live” right by spain’s most renowned and most visited monument. well, i finally got my little act together (as once admonished by my catty olde sixth grade teacher) and got up there. this entailed my getting up at six in the morning in order to make it into line by seven.
the line was already a good twenty-some people deep when i arrived and, by the time the sun was up, there were well over a hundred people waiting to buy a ticket. this doesn’t even include the people who had reservations already and were waiting in a separate line to go in. suffice it to say, the alhambra draws a crowd.
by way of explanation:
Originally designed as a military area, the Alhambra became the residence of royalty and of the court of Granada in the middle of the thirteenth century after the establishment of the Nasrid kingdom and the construction of the first palace by the founder king Mohammed ibn Yusuf ben Nasr, better known as Alhamar.
Throughout the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, the fortress became a citadel with high ramparts and defensive towers which house two main areas: the military area, or Alcazaba, the barracks of the royal guard, and the medina or court city, the location of the famous Nasrid Palaces and the remains of the houses of noblemen and plebeians who lived there. The Charles V Palace (which was built after the city was taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492) is also in the medina.
The complex of monuments also has an independent palace, opposite the Alhambra, surrounded by orchards and gardens, which was where the Granadine kings relaxed: the Generalife. (www.alhambra.org)
you see, the southernmost part of spain, where i am, was once known as al-andalus. this is an arabic name because the area was ruled by muslims— moors, if you will—who came across the water from neighboring north africa. granada was their last stronghold in spain, and it was finally surrendered in january of 1492 (paving the way for christopher columbus, with spanish funding, to “discover” the “new world”).
southern spain is now known as andalucía and comprised of eight provinces, including granada and sevilla, andalucía’s capital and largest city. and now, without further ado, here is some of what the alhambra has in abundance (i.e., elaborate detail work, water, and cats)…
a view of the city across the raveen:
inside a palace courtyard:
inside a palace:
water flowing everywhere:
close-up views of some detail work:
an exterior passageway:
a garden in the generalife:
the eventual king of the castles: