The red one

The Al-hambra, or “the red one” is a smallish palace within a huge fortress that was first built by the Nasrid Moorish dynasty on a hill in Granada in the 14th century.

The Alhambra as seen from Rambutan hostel

The Al-hambra is obviously very old and has a lot of history. We won’t bore you with historical details, but here are our top three favourite things about this palace/fortress:

1. It’s clever – The Moors were brilliant defense engineers who included all sorts of clever engineering designs (especially in the outer walls and ramparts) to make it an impenetrable fortress that has never been breached. Perhaps the most important of these is the construction of an aqueduct inside the hill behind it that provides a permanent source of clean water into the palace.

2. It’s pretty – While it’s all solid and impenetrable on the outside, the Al-hambra is soft and pretty on the inside. In the palace, the Nasrid rulers conceived what is thought to be the most brilliant Islamic building in all of Europe, with perfectly proportioned courtyards, beautiful gardens and fountains, elaborate carvings, etc.

3. It’s peaceful – Compared to other old fortresses, very little blood was spilled in the Al-hambra (and Granada too) as the Muslim Nasrid rulers preferred diplomacy over warfare – this make love not war thing is apparently the reason why a large hippie community now resides in the town. When Isabelle and Ferdinand (a very cool couple who even signed a prenuptial agreement before it became fashionable) sent a huge army to conquer Granada, the then Nasrid ruler Muhammad XII chose the peaceful option – he sold the Alhambra to them and left Granada peacefully on condition that that they would not harm or persecute the Muslim community living in the town.  Moved by the beauty of the Moorish palace, they did not tear it down (as is usually done following reconquest) but just did a little re-decorating instead.

The two palaces for the Muslim and Christian rulers

With beams like these, who needs plaster ceilings?

This tree isn't dead, just deciduous

Carved into solid rock

Remaining outer walls and tower of the impenetrable Alcazaba (citadel)

A very tall hedge

The Nasrid palace - the best example of Islamic architecture in Europe

Not having audio guides, we never found out who the two sisters were, or why their hall was so small

Part of the Alcazaba's fortifications

The Palacio de Carlos V built by later Christian rulers has huge knockers

With a view like this, it's good to be king

"Vertical gardens" are now currently the in thing, but were already in use in the Alhambra

Pretty trees everywhere in the Alhambra grounds

One of the many types of flowers in the gardens

Instead of the usual photo of one of us, here's a nice shot of a random guy

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6 thoughts on “The red one

  1. mama says:

    Seeing all the beautiful scenery and architecture I will persuade Papa to cabutlari also.

  2. Nos says:

    What an amazing place… and such a pretty view from your hostel, looks surreal!

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