Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday: Alhambra & Royal Chapel

building in the Muslim area of Granada

doorway to Royal Crypt

actually caskets of King Fernando and Queen Isabel, their daughter Juana and her husband Philip the Handsome, and the first grandchild, Miguel

view from the top of the Alhambra

Palace of Charles V, on Alhambra grounds, built by the Holy Roman Emperor after the Moors were conquered

Today I visited the Alhambra, which is absolutely the most famous monument in Granada, and some claim that it is one of the ten wonders of the world. The Alhambra used to be home of the Muslim rulers of Spain, and was built in the 1300's. The name means literally "red fortress", which seems fitting because most of the soil (at least from what I saw) was comprised of red clay. There was a beautiful rose garden, which is unusual to see because Spain has a pretty dry climate. Many other buildings are located on the grounds, some churches and some palaces. The inside is incredibly beautiful--all of the walls are intricately decorated, there are pillars everywhere, and even the ceilings are artistically decorated.

After this, I went to the Royal Chapel, where Isabel and Fernando are buried. It was built in the 1500's, when the two announced that they wanted to be buried in Granada. These two are the reason that Spain is the way it is today--they were the Catholic monarchs that conquered the last of the Moors. The place where they rest is also decorated with religious relics, portraits, paintings, tapestries, and Baroque sculptures--it was mostly from Isabel's art collection, but of course the individual tombs were created later. It was also very beautiful inside, and peaceful. It had the air of a chapel, even though it's simply a burial site and not an actual chapel.

After this, I enjoyed a beer and some tapas by the river. It was a very peaceful way to end a day full of walking! Tomorrow I go back to Madrid, so it'll be another 5 hour bus ride for me nice and early tomorrow morning.

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