Monday, 30 June 2014

Alhambra - Granada Spain

There is a great site which has voted for and chosen the New7Wonders  and my husband and I decided we would like to visit all twenty one of the shortlisted finalists.

First on the list alphabetically is the Acropolis Athens but  I have only seen this from the air from a plane so that does not count. 

The first for me that I have visited is therefore the Alhambra which is in Granada , Spain. We were staying near Fuengirola with my daughter and her partner and we drove to Granada for the day to visit this Moorish Palace.

This is a beautiful palace in a deep peach coloured brick which gives it a lovely warm look. It can be a bit overwhelming deciding where to go first when you get there as it is pretty big.

If you want to visit the Nasrid Palaces within the complex you need a special timed ticket as only 300 are allowed in every half hour. This can mean that you have to be careful where you go so as not to miss your slot. 

The entire complex is a sight for the senses. Everywhere you look you see little pieces of intricate carvings or lovely still pools, tiles of beautiful patterns and despite the crowds it still has a sense of peace and quiet.

Some parts of the Alhambra can be visited without tickets and these are the colonnaded courtyard of the late 15th-century Palacio de Carlos V, the church, bathhouse and the craft shops and hotels along the calle Real de la Alhambra.

I would say if in doubt book in advance as it is well worth paying for the tickets to see as much as your legs can cope with.

Inside the first area we explored was the the Generalife which was the Sultans' summer retreat and here you will see the water gardens with beautiful fountains. 

These gardens have a number of pavilions and patios with views of the landscapes beyond. I love arches and walkways in the shade when it is hot and there are many to explore as well as the reflecting pools and fountains and my favourite is the staircase where a stream of water comes down the banisters.

You then pass through the Torre del Agua gate into the Alhambra palace. Don't miss the Arab bathhouse with its lovely star-shaped openings in the roof. The oldest part is the Alcazaba citadel which dates back to the 9th century and from here you do get great views.

Finally you visit the Nasrid palaces, these are actually three interconnecting palaces built in the 14th century. The Nasrid kings were the last to rule over Spain. Keep your eyes open for the beautiful decorations, tiling and ceilings to die for. It is truly beautiful and stunning when you think of how old it all is.

It is a really lovely palace and worthy of its place in the final twenty one of the new7Wonders..

It is NOT, however one of the New 7Wonders. I will reveal those as we go along