Today, we visited the city of Granada and the amazing Alhambra.
We drove for two hours until we came to the castle of Alhambra. We met our guide Israel and then learned a little bit of history. During the time of Muslim rule, when Alhambra was constructed, the main language was Arabic, so many of the words in and on the castle were Arabic. Alhambra means red in Arabic, they named it that because all the red soil in the ground that was used to make the walls made it look red. The three main materials inside of the buildings are, Plaster, White Marble and Wood.
We walked across a bridge into the castle, and the castle was huge. We learned that at the peak of it’s time, there were 1000 people living inside of the castle. The castle was a series of watchtowers and buildings all inside of a wall. The wall had 28 watchtowers and had a circumference of 2 kilometers.
Many of the watchtowers weren’t even watchtowers at all, they were only to show off to the citizens how powerful they were. The castle was started in the 13 century, and wasn’t finished until the fourteenth century. The Muslim Moors came to Spain in the year 711. The Muslims were very powerful, and had no opposition when they rushed to take over what is now Spain. The three largest cities in the world at the time were all Moor cities: Baghdad, Damascus and Cordoba. The last Muslim ruler lived in Alhambra before the Christians took over. The ruler of Alhambra was called an Emir. The Muslims were thrown out in 1492 and in 1575, the Christians destroyed the Mosque inside of the Alhambra and built a cathedral.
The wall is a massive 200 yards wide. Granada is the hottest city in Europe reaching 47°C or 116°F. We walked through the entrance and we could see buildings and watchtowers everywhere. We looked at bits and pieces of the brick wall that still barely stand. Many pieces had collapsed, but some still stood joined with little or no restoration work added. We walked through a grove of trees that looked like castle walls. They were all shaped together with small outcrops on the trees where soldiers would’ve sat behind if it was a real wall. We walked through a room where we had a great view of the town below us.
We walked out of that room and came to a large outdoor courtyard with bushes and a pool in the middle with tons of tiny minnows. While we were standing in the courtyard, the bells on the bell tower began to ring. Each time a bell rang it did a full spin creating a beautiful orchestra of sound. In this courtyard, there was a room called the Hall of Ambassadors, which was a room where the Muslims would make peace treaties with enemies, or the Christians, who were also an enemy to the Muslims.
We came to another courtyard where there were two rooms across from each other, and there was a fountain with 12 Persian Lions surrounding it. We learned that these rooms were for the siblings and the family. In each guest room there must be four things: a fountain, art, a beautiful ceiling and two alcoves that are symmetric. The buildings both had all of these aspects inside of them.
We walked on and came to a balcony where we could see almost all of Granada. The final thing we did inside of the walls was go to the top of one of the towers, where we got an incredible view of all of Granada. We took some photos and then headed to the gardens that were outside of the wall.
Two Cats Hugging! So Cute! (we randomly saw this on the side of an arch inside the Alhambra)
The gardens were called, Palacio Del Genralife. Which translates to The Palace of the Architects Garden. We walked out of the main gate, the same way we entered and walked through some trees and came to the garden. We came to a spot where there was a small pool of water with many fountains shooting water out into the pool. Trees surrounded us on either side, creating a wall. There were spots where the trees were a bit taller than the rest, and they were intertwined with each other. The taller trees stood over a fountain with a more elaborate design. We passed by many more of these fountain groves, until we came to an area where there was a huge stage. We learned that this stage is for flamenco. The stage was a large concrete platform with a pool of water in front of it, and trees surrounding the sides and the back. We walked past the stage and climbed the stairs to get into the palace. Most of the Palace was open air, there were many courtyards, and many rooms without windows, letting the maximum amount of air inside. There was another pool, similar to the one outside. Except, this one has many more fountain spouts, and was surrounded by bushes. The whole scenery was beautiful, with the fountains and the pool, surrounded the beautiful castle. We looked at many of the rooms, and many flowers and trees, and then headed out to get lunch in Granada.
Next, we toured the city of Granada. We walked through many narrow and bumpy roads. We crossed bridges over streams, and climbed many flights of stairs. We came to a street called “Beso” which means kiss in English. We took a photo of mom and dad doing a kiss cam, and then walked on.
After about an hour of walking up and down we came to an area that had an amazing view of Alhambra. Sadly, there were so many people there, so we went to a secret spot where nobody was and got a great view of the place that was inside of a Mosque. After that we learned about the Gypsy’s lifestyle. If you didn’t know, Flamenco came from the Gypsies. We learned that the Gypsies weren’t allowed to live inside the wall of the city and weren’t given citizenship. If that wasn’t bad enough, many of them lived in caves. We took a tour of one of the caves. The whole cave was very small and cramped. Also it was very claustrophobic inside of the cave.
We walked back outside to find that it was raining, so we sprinted to the car. We got soaked on the way, but that wasn’t a problem. We got in the car and drove home.
We had a great day touring the city of Granada.