Granada and La Alhambra (photos)

Granada and The Alhambra have whetted the sensibilities of Romantics for generations, and at this place along the Sierra Nevada mountains, one finds that there are fewer places to better understand the Saracenic and Gothic which run so deeply and obviously in the culture of Spain.

Washington Irving wrote that the Alhambra was “so often and so minutely described by travellers that a mere sketch would probably be sufficient to refresh [our] recollection.” I would posit that it is so thoroughly mentioned (and visited) that most descriptions fail to describe it properly, risking the banality of package tourism. I share Irving’s dislike for ciceroni, so we toured the gardens and rooms of the Alhambra, as well as the Sacromonte cave district and Albaicin, with our own eyes and curiosity, eating and drinking all the way. Here are a few photos of the Palace and its surroundings.

A look toward the Sierra Nevada mountain range from the Sacromonte neighborhood, Granada.
Inside the Alhambra palace, we are surrounded by pretty political and religious propaganda from the time of the Caliphates.
The Alhambra was mostly built between 1238 and 1358, during the reign of Ibn al-Aḥmar, founder of the Naṣrid dynasty.

 

El Bañuelo, the oldest Arab baths in Europe. They were left, mostly unscathed, after the surrender of Granada in 1492. For generations, the place was known for its occasional brothel-friendly atmosphere.
A night of flamenco in a cave in Sacromonte.

 

A freshly made Arroz Gitano on a beautiful terrace overlooking the Alhambra.
A view of La Alhambra from the Albaicin neighborhood. The name of the palace comes from the Arabic for “The Red One.”

 

The brand of Paco de Lucía and Camarón, handmade guitars in Granada since 1875.

 

Almond trees hanging in Sacromonte, La Alhambra in the background.

 

Characteristic geraniums in hand-painted pots, modern versions of the work of cave dwellers in Sacromonte.

 

Inside the Alhambra.

 

Colored tiles also serve to cool the interiors of places that lie in the hot desert.

 

Paprika, saffron, star anis, cinnamon and other spices sold on the street in Granada.

 

One of the man processions in Granada during Semana Santa. This one was a procession of silence along the Paseo de Los Tristes before the walls of the Alhambra.

 

The walls of the rooms where the sultans would receive visitors in the Alhambra, hoping to impress them with detailed calligraphy and exultations of Allah mixed with wishes of good fortune.
The vibrant neighborhood of Albaicin, with its terraces and many incredible restaurants.
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