Our next stop on the Spanish excursion took us to Granada and an iconic spot for Islamic Architecture in the Land of Al-Andalus. Al-Andalus was the name of the Muslim territory conquered by the Moors around the time of 1000 AD. The kingdom or Caliphate of Cordoba extended across the Iberian Peninsula from Portugal in the East to Catalonia in the West. Today the most iconic cultural remnants of this foregone area of economic prosperity, science, architecture and culture can be found in the province of Andalusia.
The most impressive architectural marvel of the Al-Andalus region is the Alhambra in the enchanting city of Granada. Originally built as a fortress in the place of old roman ruins, the Alhambra then developed into a royal palace completed in 1333 AD. The beautiful palace housed the Nasrid Dynasty until 1492 AD when the last Sultan Muhammad XII of Granada, surrendered to King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabel as part of the Spanish reconquest.
Today, the Alhambra acts as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stunning gardens, courtyards and royal halls. The Alhambra is Spain’s most visited tourist site. The palace and fortress offer stunning views over most of the timeless Albaicin neighborhood. My wife and I strolled towards Albaicin and made our way up to the hillside with gypsy caves known as Sacramonte. The views of both the city, Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains were awe inspiring. The viewpoint provided a great place to rest our legs along with students and tourists while the hot summer sun faded off into the distance.
Arab Baths and Teahouses
On day 2 in Granada we decided to try an Arab bath. We woke up early to walk from our hostel in Realejo to the Hammam Al Ándalus Granada. The bath experience was calming and spiritual. It helped to soothe our sore feet from the previous day. After the spa we walked around the city center. We bought Doner Kebab and headed to a Moorish teahouse or teteria to escape the creeping afternoon heat. The decorative teahouse atmosphere provided a time travelling experience. Our stay in Granada proved to be the hottest of all of our Spanish destinations. We gathered our luggage, found the rental car and returned the car before heading off by bus to Sevilla.