12 days in Spain & 4 days in Paris- 9/12/14- 9/9/28/14

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

4 days in Seville -Day 3

Day trip to Granada - Alhambra's palace

We woke up early, had breakfast in Seville, and drove to Granada (3 hour drive) to visit the Alhambra.  The Alhambra is the last and greatest Moorish Palace, it was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-11th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.

Moorish poets described it as "a pearl set in emeralds," an allusion to the color of its buildings and the trees surrounding it.


The Alhambra is composed of three parts: the royal palace, the gardens of Generalife and the fortress of Alcazaba

From left to right: Generalife, Pico del Veleta (mountain), Palacios Nazaríes, Palace of Charles V, Alcazaba.

The Alhambra is not only Spain's greatest architectural treasure but one of the world's wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage.


You cannot drive to the Alhambra you have to park downtown and take a cab up the hill.  The taxi cost is about 5 euros one way.

By the time we reached the Alhambra it is time for Lunch.  There are not many restaurants around but we saw the Restaurant Jardines Alberto perched on top on hill and we decided to give it try.  If anything at least the view will be great.


The restaurant was full with tourists but we were able to get a table for 4 without any problems.

The restaurant has a really nice view.

The food was really awful.  The skirt steak was so dry that it is like almost eating a beef jerky, the fish was so fishy and not very good neither.


This place turned out to be our worst meal in our whole trip to Spain.

Maybe the kitchen was too busy and they left the meat on the grill for too long resulting into a non edible piece of meat.

The Alhambra

Entrance-Good thing the line to buy tickets was fairly short but we found out that tickets to see the Royal palace were sold out so we can only see the Gardens of Generalife and the fortress of Alcazaba.

Starting our walk toward the Alhambra. 


Below is the city of Granada


Road lined with perfectly manicured pine trees leading to the Alhambra.

La Medina Ruins


La Medina used to be a residential area that houses top government officials, employees and court servants.

Now all we can see is what is left of the foundation.

Parador de Turismo San Francisco is a luxuary hotel located on the grounds of the Alhambra.

The building used to be a 15th-century convent, this luxurious hotel is pretty unique as in the evening when all the tourists are gone, guests are able to wander the gardens (restricted to certain areas) of the Alhambra on their own...

The Outside of Church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra.

The facade of the church is made of brick and stone.


In 1308 the Moorish King Mohamed III built a mezquita in the Alhambra. When the Christians conquered Granada, they destroyed the mezquita (Mosque) and built the Church of Santa Maria de la Encarnacion of the Alhambra. This was a common practice at that time and occurred in many places all over Spain. The church was designated as the first cathedral of Granada, but later lost this designation when the Granada Cathedral was constructed.

Bell Tower


Just behind the church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra you can find the Baño de la Mezquita, the Mosque baths or hammam.

The baths were built by the Muslims because they believed water was a symbol of purity, and so used it to cleanse their bodies.  Christians, on the other hand, believed this to be decadent and heathen behavior, and so had the majority destroyed, with only a 'few left remaining.


Baths were a key focal point for social activity, second only to the mosque. They help to give us a glimpse into day-to-day life in Arab-era Granada.


They built opening in the ceiling to let natural light in.

The bathhouse is fairy small... on our way out.


Palacio de Carlos V (Palace of Charles V)

Palacio de Carlos V is a Renaissance palace located at the heart of the Alhambra.  It was built by Carlos V, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, after his marriage to Isabel of Portugal.

Carlos V wanted intended to construct a permanent residence befitting an for an emperor and the project was given to the architect Pedro Machuca, a pupil of Michelangelo.


The exterior of the building uses a typically Renaissance combination of rustication (rusticated masonry is usually squared off but left with a more or less rough outer surface and wide joints that emphasize the edges of each block) on the lower part of the building and Aslar (finely cut stone) on top of the building.

Beautiful Renaissance style portico

Close at rustication architecture.

This palace is really beautiful and full of details.




As you walked inside you'll be surprised that the interior is a huge circular patio with two levels. The lower is surrounded by a multitude colonnades made with mottled marbles.


View of the patio from the second floor.

The palace was never finished and maybe it was meant to have a dome but we never know for sure now.





Here you can really see the details of each column.

Here we are on the second level

View of the city of Granada

We are now heading to the Alcazaba (fortress)


We have to go through an immense gate to get to the Alcazaba.


Next.. Granada part 2 -Alcazaba



Our house


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