Posted in Travel

Alhambra

Today we went to Alhambra, the bastion of the last Muslin kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula. Also described as the red castle or the red fort.

THE WINE GATE:

This name or a large, ordinary archway originated from the times when wine was deposited here for consumption by the citizens of Alhambra (beginning in 1556).

The Wine Gate allows access to the Higher Royal Street, the very heart of Medina. Medina is a small little village isolated from the sultan’s palaces and from the defensive fortress. It is in fact, also used to separate the military area from Medina.

ENTERING THE MILITARY DISTRICT:

The Military District was used as the residential area for the guard and soldiers that protected Alhambra. It is surrounded by wall-walks and towers, with a maze in the center that allowed people on the other side to escape safely and quickly should the enemy attack.

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On the inside of the Military Fortress, the maze directly behind us.

Many dungeons are still preserved, with a special layout in the shape of a wine bottle:

UnknownIt is a simple hole in the ground, with no stairs. A soldier, guard or prisoner would enter climbing down a rope. The entrance was narrow, but soon expanded into a larger room.

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The entrance hole into a dungeon. Designed so no prisoners could climb up the walls.
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A closed-off dungeon with a twist: stairs.

THE TOWER OF HOMAGE:

The fortress chief usually lived here, high in the air. With six floors, this is Alhambra’s tallest tower. Along with a top floor concealing four dwellings, it also contains an inner courtyard.

Archeological findings show this tower may have been built on top of the ruins of a much older tower, dating from the 9th century.

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The Tower of Homage stands on the right, connected to a lookout tower that archers would be stationed at for hours at a time.
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The walls on top of the tower. An impressive view lays beneath:
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The city spreads out in front of us.
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Below us, a forest borders the city.

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MORE PICTURES FROM THE MILITARY DISTRICT:

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THE GATE OF ARMS:

An arch dating from the thirteenth century, connects Alhambra to the city of Granada. The gate has a shape of a keyhole, with symbolic meaning. It is using a key to open the doors to the city, allowing them to go through.

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PICTURES FROM: THE PATH TO THE FOREST:

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Locked doors protect a secret path into the forest.
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Outside, near the beginning of the path.

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THE COURTYARD OF THE MILITARY DISTRICT:

The courtyard of the Military District is a small area with trees and flowers. Nothing too grand, but not entirely simple in the eyes of the soldiers and the sultan.

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Look what was waiting for us in the courtyard!

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THE FIRST PALACE: PALACE OF MEXUAR

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This is the front of the Palace of Mexuar. The sultan who lived here had wanted it to be simple, and it evidently doesn’t look like the palaces we see in the movies.

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The sultan’s royal throne. Cricket, cricket, cricket.
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A pool in front of the entry to the Palace of Mexuar.
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Another angle from the pool, but both pictures capture light and dark.
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A plaster crown sits over a doorway in the main entry room of the palace.

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The colors that are seen in patters such as mosaics are mostly orange/brown, blue and yellow. The blue was mad of stone called lapis-lazuli, which was worth more than gold in that time period. The black color was created by using coal as paint.

THE PALACE OF THE LIONS:

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Back of the Palace of the Lions.
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A reflection in the pool of the back of the palace.

The Palace of the Lions is Alhambra’s most universally recognized palace. IMG_3658 IMG_3694

The Palace of the Lions is perhaps most recognizable for the fountain that depicts twelve lions, guarding the water. It has, in a way, become the overall symbol of this particular palace.

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If you look closely, you will see that each lion’s face is different, adding a new mood to the fountain. IMG_3666 IMG_3665 IMG_3646 IMG_3645 IMG_3635

 

The Palace of the Lions is also well known for the amazing artwork on the walls, catching visitor’s attention.

 

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Author:

Kiran is in 6th grade, and lives in Chicago. He enjoys writing, and blogging. He owns kiranmathewblog.com Check him out on Twitter and Instagram: @kiran_mathew_. Kiran loves Taylor Swift, Greek mythology and his dog Cocoa.

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