Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzin




Situated above the modern town of Granada in southern Spain, the palaces and fortress of the Alhambra and the residential area of the Albayzin were constructed in the 13thand 14thcenturies and remain relatively intact today, allowing a view into life in the ancient Islamic quarter.


The Alhambra, named for its reddish walls from an Arabic root meaning “red castle”, was a city built by the Nasrid rulers of Granada.  The outside walls enclosed a fortress from the 9thcentury, baths, mosques, palaces and gardens.  Covered with magnificent ceramics tiles and carvings, the walls of the structures were designed with the intent of filling every space with decoration, no matter its size.  While its architecture is reminiscent of other Islamic structures, it is unique in the way it brings together interior and exterior areas, with covered walkways extending from well-lit interior spaces onto shaded courtyards and sun-filled gardens.


One of the most magnificent Nasrid estates, located just past the walls of the Alhambra, is the Generalife, with its gardens, courtyards, fountains, canals and vegetable farms, which were dependent on hydraulic systems considered unique for their time. 


The residential district of the Albayzin, the original city of Granada, is filled with a maze of steep and winding cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed houses of Moorish and Andalusian design, walled gardens and small squares filled with bars and restaurants.


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