Alhambra – Granada, Spain
Part fortress, part palace, part garden and part government city the medieval complex of Alhambra overlooking the city of Grenada is one of the top tourist attractions in Spain. The eighth century old site was named for the reddish walls and towers that surrounded the citadel: al-qal’a al-hamra in Arabic means red fort or castle. It’s the only surviving city of the Islamic Golden Age and a remnant of the Nasrid Dynasty, the last Islamic kingdom in Western Europe.
Alhambra offers up stunning ornamental architecture, lush gardens, cascading water features and breathtaking views of the city. The impressive complex is deservedly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are the 4 primary attractions (there are many more and all you have to is explore)
Alcazaba – This is the oldest part of Alhambra. The ruins of this massive fortress sit atop the crest of a hill and provides the finest views of the entire city and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
View of Grenada from Alcazaba
Palace of Charles V – The most recent addition, this 16th century building was commissioned following the Reconquista by Charles as a royal residence close to the Alhambra Palace. It has an impressive circular courtyard and 2 museums inside.
Palace of Charles V
Although tourists set their sights on Seville, Granada or Madrid when they think about visiting Spain, it would be a mistake not to go to Cordoba.
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristiano
Cordoba is the only city in the world with four protected UNESCO sites. It is one of the few places in Europe where Jews, Muslims and Christians lived together relatively peacefully. It is the home of the largest mosque in the world which co-exists with a cathedral. It was an important Roman city as well as a major Islamic center. It was the largest economic and culture center in the Western world.
In southern Spain, Cordoba is a fabulous place to visit in spring or autumn. In the summer, temperatures can reach 100 or higher making sightseeing difficult.
At GetAway Travel we can arrange your trip to Cordoba and some of the surrounding cities and make sure you have tickets to the bull-fighting museum and/or Cordoba’s month-long flower festival.
In January we took our oldest Grandson on a trip to southern Spain to celebrate his upcoming high school graduation. Coming from the midwest US, most folks think of warm weather beach vacations during the winter. We wanted to do something with more culture and history – southern Spain in January was a perfect choice. Mild weather, no crowds, mostly sunshine, tons of extremely interesting history and culture – AND fantastic food.
There are so many things to blog about – but let’s start with some history in Córdoba. Córdoba was originally a Roman settlement taken over by the Visigoths and then taken by Muslim armies in the eighth century. The Caliphate of Córdoba encompassed most of the Iberian peninsula and was likely the largest city in Europe in the 10th century. It was recaptured by Christian forces in 1236.
No visit to Córdoba is complete without visiting the Mezquita (Mosque-Cathedral) and the Alcázar. The amazing Mezquita will be the subject of an upcoming blog – for now let’s focus on the Alcázar.
The Alcázar had been around for 200 years before the monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand used it for one of the first permanent tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition. In addition it was the used as headquarters for the campaign against the last remaining (at that time) Moorish kingdom on the peninsula which was the Nasrids in Granada. After about 10 years, their campaign succeeded in 1492 – the same year the monarchs met Christopher Columbus in the Alcázar as he prepared his first voyage to what we now know was the Americas.
View of the extensive gardens
One of many security cats that monitored our visit
A visit to Southern Spain should be on everyone’s bucket list. Please let us know if we can help make your travel dreams come true.