Alhambra, Granada, and surrounds, Spain Week 100  March 6th 2013
We booked our Alhambra tickets based on the promised completion date of truck repair.

They can be booked either online, phone, or using a La Caixa (local bank) ticket machine.

The first machine was broken. The second one worked but didn't give us the promised option to select time of entry to the Nasrid Palaces.

This is the Puerta de la Justicia at 07:20. A tad early.

Internet info reckons at least an hour to get from the main gate to the palaces.

The main gate opens at 08:30. Same time as our palaces ticket.

We weren't convinced but based our visit on at least an hour.

It took us about 10 minutes from the main gate to the side gate (Puerta de la Justica), walking the path outside the walls.

The car park contained one other motorhome when we arrived. And same when we left. We probably could have camped there (only EU18 for 24 hours).

This is the outside of the Nasrid Palaces just before 08:30.
The three Moorish Nasrid palaces were built between 1330 and 1391.

This is the adjacent, and later, Christian Palace de Carlos V. Spanish renaissance architecture.

Construction of Alhambra began in 1238 with the establishment of the Nasrid Dynasty. The Moors in this part of Spain.

The Alhambra was surrendered to the Catholic monarchs in 1492.

The Puerta del Vino stands a bit alone these days.

Seems it used to be an entrance to the medina.

There is much about the buildings, but very little information on the way of life.

At first it looked like a sparrow ....
The early morning light illuminated the Alcazaba.
We hadn't really a clue what to expect.

Our first impression was of architecture similar to what we had seen in the palace near Rissani (Morocco).

But on a far grander and more intricate scale.

A strange room.

Its not a mezzanine floor, just a separator.

The first part of the Mexuar Palace (1362-1391).

We had the luxury of being first through the door.

At this time of the morning there were more staff than visitors.

Once inside it was a little difficult to work out which of the three palaces we were in.

We think we are in a courtyard between the Mexuar and the earlier Comares (1333-1354) palaces.

We weren't too sure whether to look at the floor, the walls, the arches, the ceilings, or the roof.

We chose the roof first.

No choice of doors through the Facade of Comares.

The signs said the left one.

We thought the Mexua was ornate.

The Comares Palace transcended it.

We couldn't see the joins but reckoned the patterns must have been made with the equivalent of potato cuts.
Some of the ceilings are wood, some plaster.

All different.

We began to see why the Alhambra is so popular that visitors are limited.

This is the Chamber of the Ambassadors in the Tower of Comares.

The nine rooms off it are for the Sultan.

Ceiling to floor ornateness.
No two arches the same.

And none of them gothic.

We enter the Patio de los Leones (Lions).
The wooden ceilings became plastered.

This is a "stalactite arch".

The Palace of Lions (1362-1391)

Part of this ceiling in the Hall of the Muqarnas has collapsed - which allows us budding architects to realise its a false arch.
Impossible to capture the light playing on the (stalactite) ceiling. 

The Hall of the Abencerrages.

"Just" another residential area.

And the arches.
I should have stood about a half metre to the right .... and leaned a bit to the left.

The Hall of The Kings.

A bit of conservation of paintings on the right.

We still can't spot the joins.

But we can see the repetition.

Of course you've guessed that there's a slight difference in one of the repetitions......

Is it an original mistake or part of restoration?

For those who understand my sense of humour there really is an inconsistency in this pattern. 

Having walked round the Court of the Lions we looked at the middle.

Carved marble lions.

Water and fountains seem to be a feature of the Alhambra.

Every room and arch is different.
A quiet space.

We couldn't find it on the map.

Intrigued by some sort of diving bell?
And the quiet space - with nowhere to sit.
Did I mention it rained ...

The sun broke through briefly in the distance.

The outside of the Partal Palace.

It seems the Alhambra has had flexible boundaries over time. The important buildings form part of the outer wall.

The Partal Palace has only been part of "Alhambra" for the last century and was at one time privately owned.

One of the ceilings is in a German museum.

The mystery of the diving bell is revealed.

The roof of what we think were store rooms.

No windows in the walls.

The gardens outside the Partal Palace. 

Having occupied our spot in the timetable for the Nasrid Palaces we were free to wander.

The Palace of Charles V has a circular area at its core.

It was Charles V that married Isabella of Portugal.

We finally realised why it was drawn as it is on the map. Th circular space in the middle.

The stone of the pillars is a conglomerate. 

Something else we've not seen before.

The museum on the ground floor is well worth a visit. But no photographs.

And so to the Alcazaba.

The earliest part of the Alhambra. For the troops.

This is looking back to Nasrid Palaces and Palace of Charles V.

A typical Moorish castle with a series of defensive walls and distinctive battlements.
Looking out over Granada.

We would have liked a walk round the old town but decided against it.

Some grand old buildings.
Inside the Church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra.

To the left and right, in front, of the altar are where worshipers would have lit their candles in days gone by.

These days a coin lights an led light.

We thought something has been lost but can't quite explain why.

Much is mentioned of Royal Canal, water, and fountains.

This looked like an aquaduct to us but just out of the picture is a gap for people to walk through.

In common with all the other places we have visited on our trip there is no map of the plumbing despite being mantioned often.

And outside the wall is how the water gets in (or out?).

The problem for us with aquaducts is that without water in them its difficult to know which way they run. 

We moved on to the Generalife.

A strange word to our ears.

The consensus seems to be it refers to "the Architects Garden".

Built between 12th and 14th centuries. A place for relaxation as well as veggie production.

More fountains, and more water.
A bit of a maze really.
The Court of the Main Canal.

We'd been confused by mention of the "Royal Canal" in the Nasrid Palaces.

We suspect it hasn't translated well.

Looking back from Generalife Palace to the Church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra, the Palace de Carlos V, and the Nasrid Palaces.

What can we say? A palace, a fortress, a citadel, a garden, and a living town at some time. Very different. Very worthwhile getting up at some unearthly hour of the morning, standing round for an hour or so, and getting a bit damp.

So all of a sudden, after braving the umbrella salesmen out in force, we headed into the Sierra Nevada to find a fishing track to a nice flat terrace.

We camped and collected about 80 litres of water in a couple of hours off our roof.

We also fixed the diesel tank changeover valve. A wire had broken and shorted to the chassis which provided a bit of puzzlement for a while.

Granada to Andorra, Spain Week 100 March 7th - 10th 2013

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