Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Walking the grounds of the Alhambra

My hotel was located on Cuesta de Gomerez which also happens to be the street that leads from Plaza Nueva up to the Alhambra, about a 20 minute uphill walk.

Once I passed through Granada Gate I was in a wooded and landscaped area surrounding the Alhambra. At the time the sprinklers were on and the trees were creating deep shade. At 10 am, I was able to see my breath in front of me as a result of the coolness surrounding me.

The beginning of the patterned stonework paths.

The Justice Gate, a point of entrance to the Alhambra.

Beneath a circle of trees where I ate my lunch.
The trees surround a small fountain in the center.

Walking down the Calle Real towards the main sights, there is an old building (formerly baths) that is free to enter. It had a vine covered entry court, and was built all in brick. The small skylights created just enough light in the interior while keeping the walls in darkness and the pattern created a meditative atmosphere.

Beautiful brick and stonework pattern in the walls of this building.

The entrance to the original 'red castle' or 'Alhambra', which at one time housed 2000 Muslims within its walls.

Conquering Christian king Charles built his palace over the Alhambra, and is considered one of Spain's most impressive Renaissance buildings. In plane it is a circle within a square and was intended to have a dome over it, but it was never finished.

The acoustics within the center court the acoustics are so perfect that is a venue for the International Festival of Music & Dance. It was the last stop on my walk around the Alhambra and on an emotional level I did not like it - the lack of any decoration, the austerity of the interior of the building and the lack of sound coming from the surroundings made the building seem cold and distant. The plan is interesting and the exterior is actually warmer than the rest of the building. The only way I could imagine this building coming to life, would be to pack it with people.

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