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Capture the World

CTW Explores

Granada

Country: Spain               Language: Spanish               Currency:  Euro (€)

Granada’s reputation as a 'must visit' destination for visitors to Spain is well deserved. It is filled with intriguing history and rich culture. Set at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the city’s rich tapestry of history makes it a sight to behold. The city retains strong influences of Moorish architecture, most notably evident at Generalife and the Nasrid Palaces at Alhambra. You cannot leave the city without also visiting the extraordinary cathedral built in the early 1500s, after the city was taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. A rewarding walk through history will leave you feeling enriched and enlightened. 

CTW Must See

Alhambra

Alhambra is a fortress and palace complex that sits at the top of a rocky hill in Granada. It is made up of numerous parts, including The Nasrid Palaces, La Alcazaba, Generalife and The Palace of Charles V. In 889 AD, it was a small fortress which became abandoned. In the middle of the 13th century, when the Nasrid dynasty was established, the Moorish Emirate of Granada built a palace there. For three centuries, Alhambra became a citadel ruled by 23 emirs. It was divided into military and court areas. The Nasrid Palaces are some of Europe’s most reputable Islamic buildings. The premises combine three palaces; The Mexuar, The Comares and the Palace of the Lions. Each palace was decorated differently and served different purposes.  The Palace of Charles V, on the other hand, was built after the city was taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. Construction of the Palace of Charles V commenced in the 1530s, but the kings lost interest, primarily due to the fact that the Court was fully established in Madrid. Monarchy never resided there and the roof was not finished until 1927 when the building was finally completed.  

There are a few options to choose from when it comes to tickets for Alhambra. If you wish to visit the Nasrid Palaces, you must purchase your tickets in advance as they only sell an allocated number per day. Also, even if you have a ticket, you may still have to wait in a long line to enter the palaces. If you do not wish to visit the interior of the Nasrid Palaces, then you can purchase a ticket to visit the gardens and grounds of Alhambra. This will give you access to the Generalife, the Alcabaza, and the rest of the Alhambra grounds. Garden tickets are available throughout the day and at night.

The Alcazaba

The Alcazaba was built in the mid-13th century, making it the oldest part of the Alhambra. It sits at the edge of the hill, combining rich history with stunning views of Granada. The Alcazaba served as the royal residence until the palaces were finished. After that, the Alcazaba was used for military purposes. In subsequent Christian times, it was used as a state prison, before it was abandoned until the 20th century, when restoration works were undertaken.

The Generalife 

The Generalife, built in the 13th century, served as the summer palace for the Nasrid rulers of the Emirate of Granada. The Generalife was renovated in the early 20th century, creating an almost entirely new facade. It is filled with beautiful gardens, known to be some of the oldest remaining Moorish gardens. Enjoy a peaceful walk through the colorful gardens; admire the water baths; and the detailed carvings along the way. After you walk through the gardens at Generalife, you can follow signs that will lead you to The Alcazaba and The Nasrid Palaces. 

Mirador San Nicolas

Marador San Nicolas is a lookout that provides magnificent views of Alhambra. The walk up is quite long and steep, but the views from the top are rewarding. At the lookout, you will likely find gypsies selling various types of handicrafts, flamenco performers, and tourists snapping photos of the Alhambra across the valley.

Granada Cathedral & Royal Chapel

Construction of the Granada Cathedral commenced after the overthrow of Granada’s Muslim rulers in 1492. It is the 4th largest cathedral in the world! The incredible facades, the pristine white interior, the grand altar, and the Royal Chapel are magnificent. A ticket is required to visit the cathedral, but this includes an audioguide. The Royal Chapel, located next to the cathedral is the burial place of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, who commissioned the stunning cathedral to be built.

The Madrasah of Granada

This mosque school was founded in 1349. It is located near the Granada Cathedral, which was originally the site of the main Mosque. It served as a school until the 1500s, at which point the Muslim rulers of Granada surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs. The Madrasah fell into disuse until the 20th century when the city brought it back. It is now part of the University of Granada.

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If you love the charming city of Granada, then these other Spanish cities could be your next adventure!

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