6.06.2014

Do Nada in Granada

Weather: hotter than Eastern Europe.
Granada is one of my favorite cities in Europe. It's located in the south of Spain, in the region called Andalusia. In its past life, the region was an Islamic state. Today it is firmly a part of Spain, but there is a huge amount of Moorish architecture and influences. As a place visit, it feels different from the rest of Europe. In a good way.

Lamps, no genies.

After the Reconquista, the Christian-Spanish peeps put down roots into the city also. There's a big stone church with an intriguing gothic style:

Suspiciously Assassin's Creed
After being a religious battleground for so long, Granada has gained a relatively large hippie culture. It's relaxing and warm and wonderful, and pretty cheap.

Street. 

And don't let me forget the tapas! Oh the tapas! Unlike the extremely overpriced tapas bars we all know and love, the bars in Granada follow the traditional tapas practice. You buy a drink and it comes with food. And it's cheap. It's kind of amazing. Sangria, tinto de verano, beer, whatever you want! Plus food! Two euros or less! Establishments vary: sometimes you get to pick the food, sometimes not. And a lot of it is significantly tasty.

Pro tip: tapas are great, but they are not for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your liver will not thank you.


Land of the tapas eaters.

And the core of the backpacking culture is Oasis Hostel, which had a remarkably high number of people staying there for months and months. Very land of the lotus eaters. Very pleasant. 

Oasis rooftop view.

But the reason most people swing by Granada is not to wallow in tapas and sangria, but to see the Alhambra. It was a small fortress in 889. But in 1333, it became a palace for the Sultan of Granada, during the Nasrid Dynasty. 

Palatial palace. 

It's got everything! Arabesques, honeycomb ceilings, fountains, arches, gardens, etc. etc. 

Pooled resources

In the past everything was whitewashed, but the name Alhambra, which means "the red" in honor of the surrounding dirt, is more fitting with the currently vaguely orange color.

Alhambra not named after ham.

Repeating patterns and making art out of writing are the primary forms of decoration. The details are pretty darn intricate.

Bonus cool: The doors/windows almost make a Vader-face.

Plus there is a beautiful lush garden area that served as a retreat for somebody's wife.

Fountains of Win
AND there's the Court of the Lions, featuring a fountain on the backs of lions. They are especially interesting due to the general proscription against human/animal representations in Islamic art.

Sultans of Leon.
Destination: highly recommended. 
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