The sceneries along the way from Cordoba to Granada were splendid, and the traffic was easy. As we approached granada, barren mountains became visible. It was nice to see something different, as we were used to tropical forrests covering the mountains in Malaysia.
We booked accommodation at Motel Sierra Nevada, encouraged by the good reviews about this budget facility. It was a motel integrated within a caravan park, conveniently located for public transport and facilitated with ample parking spaces. It was clean and it suited my needs. Just parked the car there and as usual, explore the city on foot and using public transport.
The motel was located close to the central bus station and a major supermarket. The duty manager spoke very good english and I received lots of informations to plan our short stay in Granada.
We took bus no 3 from the bus stop next to the motel to the bus stop at the Granada Cathedral and from there a minibus No 30. The minibus took us all the way to the ticket office of Al-Hambra.
We were adviced to go early in order to secure an entrance to al-hambra at it was sunday. So, we left the motel at 7.30 in the morning and conveniently secured tickets after having our morning coffee at the cafe nearby.
It was 9 am and our entry to the palace was half an hour later. So we slowly strolled the beautiful gardens along the path to the palace. It was about a kilometer to the palace entrance from the ticket counter, and it was cold in the morning of march. It reminded me of the old days Colorado – sunny and cold in spring.
Al-hambra was a palace on the hill equipped with all facilities. Surrounding the palaces were housing quarters for workers, military etc.
All structures – arches, walls, in fact anything – were decorated. They were beautifully stone-carved. Millions of man-hours must have been spent, all were skillfully done.
Water and its soothing effect had its role in Andalusian palaces. It can be commonly found – streams of running waters, falls and fountains.
Also typical of Andalusian palaces were gardens and courtyards in the palace interiors.
From the upper part of the Al-Hambra, we could see the snow-capped Sierra Nevada. It was fantastic, and I felt like staying there forever.
On the other side we could see the city.
Staring at the beautiful decorations of the walls, arches and ceilings, and the beautiful gardens, waterways and fountains, I was both impressed and amazed. But at the same time, my engineer’s logic was contemplating. Was it at all necessary? It looks like such an extravagant thing to have. Then my sufi soul was feeling sad. My critical mind started to correlate between the fall of the last of the Muslim government in Spain with the luxury that they were in… Mmm it was a subjective thing. It was not always right to evaluate the past by looking at the remnants of what they had. But those were the thoughts that I had at that time. A mixture of excitement, amazement, sadness,… I just let those feelings lingered for a while before saying to myself, it was all history… and we have to move on.
After spending half a day at Al-Hambra, we took the bus back to the city. From the cathedral, we walked around looking for souvenirs while appreciating the architectures. It was getting late in the afternoon and we were hungry, and we found our treat…
After late lunch, we continue walking through the streets, with shops mostly manned by Arabs of Morrocan descends.
Then we continue towards the Albaicin (the old Arab quarters). From the streets, we can see the magnificent Al-hambra at the hill-top.
The Fall of Granada
Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed the straits between Morocco and Spain in the year 711 to end the tyrannical rule of King Roderick, and offered the more lenient conditions of Islamic rule to the Iberian peninsular with its capital Cordoba. The whole region had benefited from the more than 700 years of Muslim civilization in Andalusia – education, technology, cultures etc. This continued for over 700 years. But then the caliphate was fragmented into small kingdoms and one after another fell. By 1240’s only Granada remained, but lasted only until 1492.