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By: rustam khairi zahari

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Thursday, 12-Jul-2007 12:00 Email | Share | Bookmark
...espana - granada: city-alhambra-aeropuerto - EMA

beratur...to get tickets...but have to wait til 2pm for entry
so we were off to explore Granada...d old part
...n d new section
...bustling alive...n people everywhere
...one of d local policia on duty
...n his collegues...nice uniform ehh
at one of d plazas in Granada
here we can see Corral de Carbon...
...part of d carving still intact
d muqarnas at d entrance
...d entrance door to Corral de Carbon
next we ventured into d shops along d alley
...one of the restaurants there
...he was thinking...akak ni nak beli ke ni...
...Elyas tengah rambang mata nak beli mana satu...
...Siti pun cam jugak kott
...aaa...tu dah nak keluarkan duit dah tuh...
a shopkeeper n his wares, he thanked me later 4 snapping d shop
hihi...dah dapat souvenir
then it is time for Alhambra...
along d shaded walkway to Nasrid Palaces
one of d building still intact in Medina area of Alhambra
Sta. Maria de la Alhambra
years b4, there would be guards along d wall behind
Palacio de Carlos V
visitors crowding d gift shop
d view along d way to Nasrid Palaces
outside d entrance of Nasrid Palaces...
...this is inside d entrance
Mexuar - built by Ismael I for the juridical administration
intricate carving but d colors have faded
colorful geometric tiles adorned d wall
wooden ceiling...this is inlaid guys...no play play one
more details...more colors for this wooden section
close-up on d wall...'No one conquers but Allah'
one of d courtyards...with water feature of course
another inlaid wooden ceiling decorations
detailing on d door
another example of water feature - Patio de los Arrayanes
d only original floor tiles left in d palace
another door...with a different detailing
one of d most photographed sites...Patio de los Arrayanes
here we r in d Palace of d Lions...
...intricate carvings above d columns...
...but d lions weren't there...they're being restored
my Sayang trying out one of d 'tahta'...
...shadow play on d roof
Elyas, Siti n kids took a breather...
...there it is...lionless boxed up fountain
foto session near one of d openings...
...overlooking a courtyard below
another opening...to let light n air coming in...
a walkway linking different sections of d palace
...view of Granada from d walkway
looking down on another courtyard...many visitors resting here..
we r now exiting d palace n looking back at it
another foto session along d corridoor with Granada in d back
probably one of a original/similar column used there
...more visitors thronging d gift shop
next stop...Alcazaba n its many towers
Torre de la Vela as seen from below...
...an imposing structure indeed
view from on top of Torre de la Vela
foto op at Torre de la Vela, city n mountains as bckgrnd
...flags flapping by d strong wind
took this thru an opening while going down d tower
later at d aeropuerto...its 'lunch' time
d plane prepare to leave Granada-Jaen aeropuerta
...somewhere over Granada/Andalucia
aaa...approaching East Midland...back to Notts...alhamdullillah
Today was d climax of our persinggahan to Espana as we visited Alhambra today. After checking out from our apartment, we drove straight to Alhambra (means literally "the red fort"). However, at d ticket booth, we were told that we can enter only from 2 pm onwards as they are controlling d number of visitors at any one time. So...u guys may want to book d tickets online b4 coming here personally. With about 2 hours to kill, we decided to ronda2 d city itself. By d way, ticket is €10/adult.

In d city we visited d area of Albaycin, where many of d outlets were operated by Morrocans (or so we were told). We stopped by Corral de Carbón ( built in 1336 by d Muslims and was originally a corn exchange site...but used by coal merchants during Christian times), another architectural legacy of d Muslims as well as browsing thru d various colourful shops along d narrow alleys. We managed also to get some souvenirs here, which is definitely cheaper that those places near or inside Alhambra.

We made a move to Alhambra next, and inside there we met a number of Malaysian who attending a conference at d University Granada (2 of them r from IIUM). In it, we observed Sta Maria de la Alhambra n Palacio de Carlos V but paid close attention to Palacio Nazaries (Nasrid Palaces) n d Alcazaba. Palacio Nazaries was simply stunning in its simplicity, unlike d usual 'grand' palaces seen of other royalties in Europe. D function rooms within it were small and the material used were cheap n taken from d local environment...very humbling indeed. But d workmanship was excellent and we heard 'brilliant...beautiful...unbelievable' n other superlatives being mentioned by d many visitors while we were there. It can also be witnessed that water is one of d vital design elements here...providing d place with a cool scenery amidst d hot climate. In addition, there were a number of open space/courtyards n gardens...as well as patios overlooking Granada. But, at d Palace of d Lions, we were suprised that one of d images that symbolised Alhambra was not there...d Lions...that carry a water fountain on their back...as they have been taken away for restoration. So, there goes my foto opportunity with d lions....

Next we moved on to d Alcazaba, d fort with its huge towers. Here, most of the buildings were no longer there but we could see their foundations and lay-outs. We also climbed up d main tower, Torre de la Vela, and from here we could see almost every part of Granada n d Sierra Nevada in d background. U know...as d mantra goes...location, location, location. While there we can almost imagined d guards on duty manning their positions. But, time is not on our side...as our flight to East Midland Airport (EMA) is at about 8 pm. Anyhow, we managed to cover d important parts of Alhambra but we gave d Generalife (orchards n gardens) a miss...next time perhaps...ntah laaa...

But may be I just include some descriptions about these sites that I found at www.alhambra.org...just to give u guys a better insight into this historical n legendary place:


Alhambra
The history of the Alhambra is linked with the geographical place where it is located: Granada. On a rocky hill that is difficult to access, on the banks of the River Darro, protected by mountains and surrounded by woods, among the oldest quarters in the city, the Alhambra rises up like an imposing castle with reddish tones in its ramparts that prevent the outside world from seeing the delicate beauty they enclose.

Originally designed as a military area, the Alhambra became the residence of royalty and of the court of Granada in the middle of the thirteenth century, after the establishment of the Nasrid kingdom and the construction of the first palace, by the founder king Mohammed ibn Yusuf ben Nasr, better known as Alhamar.

Throughout the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the fortress became a citadel with high ramparts and defensive towers, which house two main areas: the military area, or Alcazaba, the barracks of the royal guard, and the medina or court city, the location of the famous Nasrid Palaces and the remains of the houses of noblemen and plebeians who lived there. The Charles V Palace (which was built after the city was taken by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492) is also in the medina.

The complex of monuments also has an independent palace opposite the Alhambra, surrounded by orchards and gardens, which was where the Granadine kings relaxed: the Generalife.

The Nasrid Palaces
Complex of palaces, the residence of the kings of Granada. Its construction was started by the founder of the dynasty, Alhamar, in the thirteenth century, although the buildings that have survived to our time date mainly from the fourteenth century.
The walls of these palaces enclose the refinement and the delicateness of the last Hispano-Arab governors of Al Andalus, the Nasrids. Three palaces form these premises:
* The Mexuar
* The Comares, or Yusuf I Palace
* The Palace of the Lions, or of Mohammed V
The intimate concept of the royal palace, closed to curious eyes, harmonises the robustness of the outside stretches of the walls with the fragility inside, where the architectural elements become purely ornamental. The poor materials used to decorate the palaces demonstrate the temporality of the construction compared with the cosmos, the proof of man's transient nature. The patios, continuous allusions to gardens, with elements of Persian and Muslim inspiration, are a taste of paradise, a nomad's oasis, a delight to the senses.

Water, the element that shapes the palace, combining the garden with architecture, represents purity. Crystalline water running between the fountains' marble. Life-giving water making the garden lush and fresh, providing aesthetic beauty, the sultan's generosity... a whole world of symbols and stimuli.

Alcazaba
The fortified military complex. The first Arab constructions date from the Caliph period, possibly on the remains of a Roman fortification. In the eleventh century the Ziries extended the area when Granada became the capital of one of the Taifas [small independent kingdoms]. Nevertheless, the main constructions date from the Nasrid period, the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. The complex also includes some Christian additions, such as the round Torre del Cubo [Cube Tower].

This area contains the famous Torre de la Vela, a watchtower that has an unbeatable view of the city, the Vega [fertile plain] and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The soldiers' houses have disappeared, and the dungeons are closed, but you can walk along some towers, the rampart and parapet walks and see the remains of the baths, silo, cisterns, etc.


Now back to our story...as our flight is scheduled at about 8 pm, we should be at d aeropuerto 2 horas (hours laa) b4 d flight. But at 5.50pm we were still in d parking area of Alhambra. So, off bedesub we rushed to Granada Jaen aeropuerto but with a pit stop at a fuel station to top up our rental car's tank. After returning our car and gotten our boarding pass, we had our lunch...yes...at 6 something in d afternoon...at d airport...initially we were thinking of enjoying our lunch we had cooked in d morning at Alhambra's parking...but scratch that. On d flight, we bought coffees n snacks just to finish off our euros...coffee was for €2.80...n tak la sesedap mana pun...eventho on d cup it said 'gourmet coffee' or 'special selected blend' or something to that effect. Arriving in EMA, we gave Muzamil a call and he gave us a lift home in his limo...thanks again br. M.

So...there it is...our 5 days of frolicking in d sun in Espana...in total, I drove about 1700 km within that period...experiencing bits of this n that cities...and witnessing a heritage that Muslims had left in Espana, alhamdullillah. N d question now...when n where to is d next trip gonna be...hhmmm...insyaAllah...kalau ada rezki n d panjangkan umur.


Foto opportunity at d shops along an alley in Albaycin area of Granada


One of d shops there...quite colourful kan diorang niih. This guy ni agaknye tengah congak his profit for d day.


This mamat pulak offers calligraphy service to d tourists...written on tiles. Next to him is probably his bouncer.


Here we are...in Alhambra...and this was taken inside Palacio Nazaries...at one of d many pools that can be found there


I usually see this image either on tv, internet or magazines...but today I am witnessing it personally...a truly exquisite site


Water...and water features everywhere...one of d design elements of Alhambra


It was hot when we were there...rasa2 nak rendam kaki je dlm all these kolams


A view of what used to be a series of buildings within Alcazaba...this was snapped from d top of Torre de la Vela (d main tower).


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