Posted by: vlibrizzi | July 16, 2009

Summer Road Trip: Our Anniversary at the Alhambra

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, and C. planned our trip perfectly so that we would be at the most romantic, and most famous, landmark in Spain on our anniversary: the Alhambra. 

The Alhambra is actually four buildings on one tall mountain: a Moorish palace that was built in the 12th century, a fort that was built before the palace, Charles V’s palace which was built after he conquered the Moors and kicked them out of Granada (and later Spain altogether), and the Generalife gardens that were built as a place to escape from the busy life of the palace. In total, more than 2,000 people lived in the town that is inside the walls of the Alhambra, but most important was the Sultan. 

DSC_0695We first visited the famous Palacio Nazaries (mostly because we had to enter the palace by a certain time on our ticket that we booked weeks in advance….it’s very hard to get tickets to the Alhambra so you have to book far in advance to make sure you can get in). 

The palace is the highlight of one’s visit to the Alhambra. That is where all of the beautiful stucco etching is all over the walls and ceilings. 





Here I am listening to my audioguide in one of the first rooms of the palace. You can see the light from the windows opposite me reflecting on my dress. The windows, walls, ceilings…everything…is meticulously etched in geometric designs or words in arabic.







Here you can see some of the wall etching up close. The word in the photo is “Allah.” There is only one room in the whole palace with images of people or animals, because the Muslims did not like to reproduce any “graven images,” so the walls are filled with beautiful geometric designs and words that are intricately designed and detailed.




This corner alcove was used to put flower vases. Notice the etching combined with the inlaid stones…beautiful!











In addition to the detailed walls and ceilings, the palace is filled with fountains and reflecting pools. You can see us standing in front of one of the pools in the photo to the left.







Here is a detailed photo of one of the ceilings in the palace. Notice how the stucco on the ceiling appears to look like stalactites from caves. It must have taken years to complete this ceiling!





After visiting the palace, we moved on to the Alcazaba fort. This was the place where, in 1492, the last Moorish king Boabdil lost in his battle with the Christians. According to our guidebook, “With his defeat, more than seven centuries of Muslim rule in Spain came to an end.”



In the fort you can see outlines of where homes and buildings used to stand. 







This is a reflecting pool across from the fort.









After visiting the Alcazaba fort, we walked over to the Charles V palace. When Charles V conquered the Alhambra, he had this Renaissance building built. It’s a circular structure (reminds me of the Colosseum…but more intact) that has great acoustics, so that concerts are still held here today. While it’s impressive in its own right, it’s a bit of a misfit in the context of these beautiful Moorish buildings (though I guess that was Charles’ goal!). So we didn’t take many photos of it.

So then, we moved on to the Generalife Gardens…where we did take lots of photos 🙂


Here’s a photo of me in front of one of the long reflecting pools in the gardens.






DSC_0816Here’s a photo of the two of us in front of the sultan’s summer palace inside the gardens.






DSC_0823Here’s another photo of the gardens in the palace from a different view. Notice the beautiful plant life and the detailed walls of the palace.








Here’s a view of the palace from above. There are so many little gardens in and around the small palace. Here’s one of them.






DSC_0839Later that afternoon, we grabbed a quick tapas lunch in town and took a siesta break to get out of the heat. Once we woke up, we  stopped at a Moorish tea room (a teteria). You can see C. relaxing on the plush cushions as he sips his tea in the photo to the left.





DSC_0854Then we hiked to the Albayzin (Granada’s old Moorish quarter) on mountain that is across from the Alhambra in order to get a view of the grounds at sunset.






DSC_0874The Alhambra seemed to glow red as the sun went down. We sat for over an hour watching the sun redden the building, as we listened to locals playing guitars and chatting at the viewpoint. 






DSC_0879Then, we headed over to a Carmen for dinner (a typical Albayzin house with a garden where you have to knock to get in). We ate at Carmen Mirador de Morayma and sat in a lovely garden with incredible views of the Alhambra at night. 

You can see me sitting at our table in the photo to the right, with the Alhambra in the background.

And below, you can see a photo of the Alhambra later in the evening from where we sat.





To us, visiting the Alhambra was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary…and to begin our fourth year of marriage together.



  1. Loved the pictures of the ALhambra. Maybe someday……..What a great Anniversary.

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