Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We Visited Alhambra Palace and Costa Del Sol – 24 Apr 2013


The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada. It was originally constructed as a fortress in 889 and later converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, sultan of Granada. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World  Heritage Site, and the inspiration for many songs and stories.Moorish poets described it as "a pearl set in emeralds," in allusion to the colour of its buildings and the woods around them. The decorations within the palaces typified the remains of Moorish dominion within Spain.

Alhambra means “The Red” in Arabic , and its complete name was "al Qal'at al-hamra" (Red fort). The origins of its name are unknown. Some Historians say it was named that because of the colour of the stones, others say the name is due to the fact that it was built at night, and the red colour gave it the appearance of fire emanating from torches. It could also be due to the person who ordered its construction, the founder of the Nasrid dynasty, Mohammed ben Nasar, named Al-Hamar el rojo - because he had a red beard.
Nasar built a super exclusive complex to contain a palace inside a fortress with walls to resemble paradise .The palace has a number of gardens, trees and fountains – a right place for kings and queens.

The palace has fascinating carvings, beautiful tile work, and plaster in lays etc. The stucco is made up of marble powder and plaster of Paris and white of eggs. The ceiling is either stucco or wood. Blue is used to represent the sky, green for trees, yellow the sun and red for the king. The only place where white is used is in the center of the dome to signify Allah as the white light. It represents the peak of Islamic art in Spain and one of the most symbolic monuments of this type of art in the whole world
It is reported that, once the king saw the queen speaking to a male member of the royal household. Out of jealousy and unable to recognize who it was, he ordered the beheading of 12 males of the family. Story goes to say that the blood stains are still visible in the king’s chambers.
The gardens have been maintained for 600 years. The fountains are very pretty and the water comes from the nearby mountains through an aqua duct.The entire place is cool. The entire area is known as ‘Generlife’.

Figure 1 – The entrance to the palace

Figure 2 – A lovely avenue

Figure 3 – Planning the next move

Figure 4 – All ears and enjoying the light banter by the guide

Figure 5 – Photo op

Figure 6 – A lovely gravity fed fountain

Figure 7 – Walk way

Figure 8 – Oranges all through

Figure 9 – Lovely flowers

Figure 10 – Garden being looked after

Figure 11 – Old Roman period foundation

Figure 12 – The palace wall

Figure 13 – On of the buildings

Figure 14 – One view of the palace

Figure 15 – Inside view

Figure 16 – Inside of the palace living quarters – high ceiling and lo9ts of light. The intricate designs, arches and windows

Figure 17 – A very intricate dome

Figure 18 – Tile work

Figure 19 – A beautiful pond overlooking the palace

Figure 20 – The minars – built to withstand d earthquake

Figure 21 – Jai is engrossed

Figure 22 – A rare photo op

Figure 23 – Once again intricate art work

Figure 24 – A garden inside the courtyard

Figure 25 – A lovely painting on glass

Figure 26 – New addition of a church

Costa Del Sol - Malaga

After a pleasant drive we reached Costa Del Sol. We checked into a very nice hotel overlooking a Mediterranean beach ‘Tryp Guadalmar’. The Costa del Sol "Sunny Coast" or more literally, "Coast of the Sun" is a region in the south of Spain, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, comprising the coastal towns and communities along the coastline of the Province of malaga. The most important business sector in Málaga is tourism – exceptionally beautiful town.

Figure 27 – View from the hotel room

Figure 28 – Road opposite the hotel

Figure 29 – View of the sea

Figure 30 – One of the roads in the town

Figure 31 – A hilly town with winding roads


Later on in the evening we drove down to Mijas. Nestled in the luscious Costa del Sol, Mijas Pueblo is one of the most famous traditional white-washed villages in Spain. Sometimes called ‘The White City’, Mijas is one of the jewels of the south coast, renowned for its boisterous festivals, Easter processions and donkey taxis. The ‘Jet Set’ of Spain have exclusive villas in this place – ‘Marabella’. They are rumored to take flights from here to attend parties in Monaco, Tangiers etc. Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Sophia Loren, Alphonso Maximillian are some of the stars who visit this place often. It was once a very quiet fishing village.Ricardo Soliano bought lot of real estate and built houses in Marbella for the super rich.

It is compulsory to whitewash the hoses and have red tiled roofs. The total picture is very captivating. Normally the houses have black metallic fences.
It is common to rent villas to spend your vacation instead of staying in hotels.David told us that one can rent a two bed room villa for 3000 Euros for a month. Very attractive indeed.

Figure 32 – A village from a fairy tale

Figure 33 – A shopper’s paradise

Figure 34 - Beautifully laid out roads

Figure 35 - The gang

Figure 36 – The sky line

Figure 37 – Satisfied tourists

Figure 38 – The village is lined with eateries

Figure 39 – A wonderful sight

Figure 40 – Entrance into a house

Figure 41 – Jai wondering – which one is the donkey?

Figure 42 – It cannot get any better

Figure 43 – White and brown all around

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