Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jewel Of Andalusia

Jewel Of Andalusia
Building this one always attract attention and curiosity every tourists visiting Barcelona. Casa Milla is known as one of the best of Spain's greatest modern artists, Gaudi.

The uniqueness of the city of Granada is not only beautiful and charming location, but also for its rich cultural and art historical value that makes the city a unique destination. Yes, Granada, home to the Alhambra, one of the last bastions Muslim dynasty in Spain, it offers different attractions to other Spanish cities. Original text narrated by Cinthya Sopaheluwakan.

The heat, sun and dry air blanketed in spring day in the city of Granada. Being in Andalusia autonomous administration in the south of Spain that borders Portugal to the west, across the strait Giblatar Morocco, and the Mediterranean Sea, the region has an ideal climate for year-round tourist destinations. The population of Granada is only about 240 thousand, compared to Barcelona and Madrid has a population of 1.6 million with a population of 3.4 million. Awesome location in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, about 700 meters above sea level. The contour of the hilly city as a cohesive series of panoramic eye remedy.

Nasrid Dynasty was the last dynasty of the Moorish rule in southern Spain. The Moor is a people who are ethnically a mixture of ethnic Arab, African and Berber and controlled southern Europe, northern Africa and western. They conquer and rule the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) during the 800 years after successfully conquering dynasties and Umayyad caliph Rashyid. Their power in southern Europe ended when they surrendered to the Catholic authorities in 1492. In general, the Moors are adherents of Islam. The rest of the Nasrid dynasty historical legacy and cultural heritage of Islam, particularly in the fields of architecture, located in Alhambra, which is the main reason travelers come to Granada.

On top of the highest hill in Granada stand up to the magnificent forts and palaces Alhambra, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rocky hill on the banks of the river Darro this in the past is difficult to achieve, making it a complex defense that is not easily conquered by an enemy attack in its heyday. Once set foot into the complex magnificent forts and palaces, the Alhambra atmosphere feels like a thousand one-night story.
The poet Federico Garcia Lorca once said that time seem longer and meaningful in Granada and visit the Alhambra as figurative justify it. Alhambra does not have a neat and organized layout. At first there is a fort built between the 9th century and 11. Only then stood beside Nasrid palace built in the 14th century. Then Carlos V Palace built in the 16th century after the Alhambra fell into the hands of the Catholics. In contrast to the ruins of the fort and other buildings style makes this complex is like a mosaic that seemingly everlasting.

Construction of the Alhambra Palace itself began in the 13th century by the founder of the Nasrid dynasty Mohamed Ibn Al-Ahmar (or Al Hamar) and continued by his descendants in the 14th century. Alhambra in Arabic, Al Hamra, meaning 'red fort', signifying the red color of the rocks and clay used to build the fort. Alhambra was built as an independent city, the imperial residence flanked by official chambers of government, mosques, baths, water reservoir, to the residence of the members of the government and court employees.

Military defense complex area of Granada called Alcazaba, while the royal residence and other castle (famous Nasrid Palace and the Palace of Carlos V) called Medina. Alcazaba is the oldest part of which was barren and desolate because no trees that shaded ruins. Part of the fort has a long wall of about 2200 m, with a view of the valley and the city and is also known as Kalat al-Hambra. There are 13 towers surrounding the Alhambra. Here are some public baths, workplace, stables to shelter the soldiers and prisons. No wonder this complex can be considered as a mini city.

Throughout the 13th century to the 15th Alhambra fortress became a point of defense against the Moorish invasion of the others. Tower overlooking the city of Granada holds, especially the tallest tower, Torre de la Vela, complete with a large bell perched on top, providing broad perspective to monitor the town, fertile plains and mountains Siera Nevada. The houses of the soldiers and the prison was closed, but we could walk freely towards the ruins of the baths, and the former grain storage reservoirs.

 Torre de la Vela

Nasrid Palace complex is an oasis in the desert ruins of the Alhambra fortress. The design was made to reflect the beauty of the palace paradise complete with gardens, fountains, ponds, waterways, palaces and mosques. There are 3 pieces of the palace Mexuar, Serallo and shelter empress and concubines sultan called Harem. The inside of the palace nasrid like a symphony of wood carvings, colorful tiles, mosaic, and stucco decoration integrated curved columns and domes. Arched arcades connecting one room to another room and almost no parts that are not decorated with carvings or decorations. It's magnetic and unparalleled work of the experts making this palace. Geometric mosaic decoration on the walls, carved wood panels are very detailed, and the Islamic calligraphy carvings are incredibly beautiful and elaborate palace complex was made ​​as one of the best parts of the Alhambra site.

Nasrid rich palace architecture, characterized by the Moorish architecture with the concept of an open courtyard (courtyard surrounded by buildings or walls) are surrounded by neat gardens and equipped with a fountain, the water flow in the middle of the rooms, and ceramic basin filled with water. There are several open courtyard that beauty can still be seen, one of which is the Patio de los Arrayanes (Court of the Myrtles) are in the middle there is a pond with fish and surrounded by myrtle plants. Patio de Los Leones (Court of the Lions) gets its name because of a pond that is supported by 12 stone lions, a symbol of strength and courage that is in the middle of the page.

 Patio de Los Leones

Browse the various parts of the palace that once a witness to the events that changed the world. Salon de los Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors), the main reception room where the sultan received their exalted guest, is where King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabel I approve of Christopher Columbus expedition to sail around the world. There's more Sala de los Abencerrajes (Hall of the Abencerrages) and the Sala de las dos Hermanas (Hall of the two Sisters), each of which stores its own story. Walking in between each room with a magnificent dome canopy as take visitors to several centuries ago in an artistic atmosphere. Some rooms have a small canal that drains the water in the middle. Gurgling sound of flowing water as soothing visitors, as they had to calm the residents of the castle hundreds of years ago. Water is an essential element in the architecture of this palace. Water becomes a symbol of the source of life, the generosity of the sultan, as well as being aesthetically beautiful elements. This complex system of irrigation in applying advanced technology to measure those days, covers for garden irrigation, hot and cold water, and high pressure showers.
Salon de los Embajadores 
Sala de los Abencerrajes  
Sala de las dos Hermanas 

Outside there is a garden Alhambra and Generalife villa which is about 15 minutes east. Real name jennat al Arif, originally a palace resort complex sultans and formerly of Alhambra can be reached via a road through the valley that now separates.

Generalife villa built in the 14th century but suffered restoration several times. The garden is filled with shrubs and high hedges beautifully appointed and chic, flower gardens, and ponds. Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Water Channel) at the center of the palace consisted of a long pool complete with fountains and flower gardens all around. Model courtyard is considered as an ideal example of Persian gardens.

Patio de la Acequia

Triumph of the Moors and the Nasrid dynasty ended in 1492 when Sultan Muhammad XII (Boabdil Emir) handed sovereignty to King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I in the Battle of Granada. At that Alhambra surrounded by Los Reyes Catolicos and lost in terms of troop numbers. The end of Nasrid imperial rule and the beginning of the power Catholic businessmen brought a major change in Granada, Alhambra too. The influence of power is seen from the Palace of Carlos V with a circular building accidentally blinded as contrasted with the architecture of the Moors who built earlier. Construction began in 1533 but was abandoned because of the seat of government moved to the city of Madrid. Only in the 20th century construction completed. Now the Palace of Carlos V is used as the Fine Arts Museum, Al hambra Museum, as well as a venue for exhibitions and performances Granada Music and Dance Festival.

Visiting Alhambra requires at least a full day. You can reach it easily because it is a bus service from the city center at the foot of the valley. You should prepare yourself and wear comfortable shoes and come early as possible to get a calmer atmosphere. Some parts of Alhambra opened on special hours as shown on the ticket. Walking and enjoying Generalife garden with a gentle breeze can be charming one day cover in Alhambra.

Granada is not only synonymous with the Alhambra. There are several other unique places that make this city one of the best in Spain. Across the Darro river valley for example, there's another Unesco World Heritage Site that is albayzin (El Albaicin), area of ​​residence of the Moors in the Middle Ages. The series of small roads winding row housing complex splitting dazzling white, with a decorative ceramic plates hanging on the wall outside the house. In this area there are many interesting tourist destinations like former Arab bath complex, Granada archaeological museum, and the church of San Salvador. Interestingly, the Church of San Salvador built over a former mosque building. From the Granada area we can get a spectacular view without obstruction to the Alhambra complex, especially from the Plaza de San Nicolas (Plaza of St Nicholas).

Plaza de San Nicolas

Sacromonte also the other parts of Granada that has its own charm. Located a little way out of town, from Sacromonte hill we could see the sights of the city of Granada, the Alhambra and Granada. Interestingly, this region is built on top of caves built into the hill, with a long history until the Roman occupation in early AD. Here there Sacromonte monastery built in 1600. Another interesting thing about this place is the number of Gypsies, a term for Roman descent who have a hereditary tradition of wandering across various countries in Europe, is settled. Therefore, do not be surprised if the Sacromonte has a reputation as a center of flamenco dance. You can easily find this typical Spanish dance performances, particularly dance Zambra Gitana very distinctive. Like the Alhambra, Granada and Sacromonte bring such a different aura and bring visitors to an era of the past that captivate.


Back to Granada, the Moorish heritage blend aura, Islamic architecture and catholic cathedral is thick, making it very interesting city to explore. In the city center of Granada, for example, there is a Plaza Isabel La Catolica, complete with a statue of Queen Isabel I and Christoper Columbus surrounded by fountains. Not far from the plaza are the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel primary, two of the many sacred buildings scattered around this small town. From the cathedral area there is a small road leading market areas and shops selling souvenir trinkets for tourists. Some street performers are near the entrance of shops winding and attached to one another. Typical flamenco dress with red detail black or white polka dots on the skirt and sleeves in children's sizes, skirt with ornaments coins for belly dance, as well as various frez red hats on display at a souvenir shop, a souvenir typical saying for missed. Other typical souvenirs such as ceramics, especially in the form of a plate with a decorative pattern beautiful colorful motifs on display for tourists who love to collect them.
  Granada Cathedral 
Plaza Isabel La Catolica

In the surrounding restaurants and cafes offer a variety of food, and you can observe that the food offered is very different from other Spanish regional food. Couscous, the Berber foods made ​​from semolina flour, lots on offer, and often served with goat meat. The texture of the yellow grain couscous, dry fit mutton eaten with a rich and creamy sauce. To accompany the meal is usually served mint tea. In fact, sometimes only hot water fed fresh mint leaves. Fresh mint tea that is perfectly suited to accompany couscous and goat meat. For snack foods available dolma or salma, the rice cooked in vine leaves. Various kebabs and his shoar also sold in cafes and restaurants.

The beauty of the Andalusian region centered in the city of Granada has been the inspiration for many writers, poets, musicians and other artists. The main character in the novel The Alchemist Paulo Coelho's famous essay, for example, is a teenager who comes from the region of Andalusia. If you are looking for a unique destination with a combination of nature and culture together to form a mosaic of harmonious blend of heritage and want to see Islam in Europe as well as the cultural heritage of the Moors brought aligned with European culture, point your steps to Granada to enjoy the beauty of the jewel of the Andalusian circuit.

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