Granada and Alhamra Part One

Granada is known as “Gırnata” in Turkish. It is located on a valley on the skirts of Sierra Nevada with its 300,000 people population. Sierra Nevada is mentioned as one of the largest mountain in Europe. The highest hill of  Sierra Nevada is the Mulhacen hill with its 3,481 meter height. Its elevation from the sea level is 650 meters. River Darro passes through the city and its color is very bad. It, then, merges with River Genil. The city is located between Al Baicin and Al Hambra hills around River Darro.

Because Granada is located in between two mountains and on a properous valley across the river, it had done the honors for many communities in time. But it had lived its prime between 13th and 15th centuries when Muslıms were on command.

The first settlement area of Granada were set by ramparts back in the days of Muslims. After Nasiries decleared their independence in the 13th century, the city center had been moved from that hill to Al Hambra. But they had repaired and supported the ramparts with a second line of them in Al Baicin region. The security has been increased by moving the entrance of Al Hambra through the inside of Al Baicin.

After Granada had been occupied by Christians, they had preferred to settle in the valley in the middle of the city and made Muslıms move to live in Al Baicin and Al Hambra hills. Therefore, there happened any serious battle, the old buildings on the hills had successfully been preserved.

The word “Al Baicin” hails from Arabic and means “Al Baizin, the place of hawk hunters”. But the settlement has moved to Al Hambra, local people has started to call this place “Al Kasaba al Kadim” which means “ the old town”.

These three colors runs the whole city in Al Baicin: white, green and tile red. The back yards of dublex or triplex houses are worth-seeing. There are backyards full of flowers. It’s fun to lost in these streets while strolling around. You should see especially the cannals in the middle of the stone paths in Callejon del Agua. All of the paths are hilly, I mean sloping. Arabic houses with backyards in Calle de Pardo, Calle de Fatima and Calle de La Mina are worth-seeing.  It is possible to come across  with souvenir shops and markets ocaasionally.

There held a bazaar at the Puerta de La Pesas square on every Saturday. There are 2 or 3 shops like coffeeshop at this square. Because cheating and deceiving are indicated as a sin, the seller’s name who cheated in scaling was being held on the door of La Pesas.

We getting through the door and first leading forward to the Monastery of Santa Isabel Real and then to the Palace of Woman. It is now being used as a fine arts museum.

When we get to the city, we stop at two points called Mirador de San Nicolas and Mirador San Cristobal in Al Baicin to take photos of Granada and Al Hamra Palace. Sierra Nevada Mountains looks fantastic top from Mirador San Cristobal. Don’t forget to take photos from up here. In the north of Mirador de San Nicolas, there is a mosque called La Mezquita de Granada which was built and opened by Granada Muslims in July 2003.

This mosque was built belatedly because Christians either had burnt the mosques or the prayer rooms down when they occupied the region. That’s why there are almost 20 churches in that region.

After visiting this region, we go straightly to Al Hamra Palace. For getting into the Al Hamra Palaca, you should either make an early reservation and get the tickets or wait in line in front of the booth in the wee small hours of the morning. If you don’t have a ticket, it is possible not getting into the line even if you had been waiting for hours. That’s why you should need a reservation.

No matter how attractive the place seems from outside, inside part is far more attractive. The renovation has been still going on when we were there. The Al Hamra Palace was built when Nasiries were on command in Granada. Different stuffs such as stucco, timber and ceramic were applied in a brilliant harmony in the palace. The engravings are fantastic, as well. On many walls, There is a saying “La galibe illallah” which means “ there is no other victor than the God”. Something remains in minds is the big country gardens decorated with flowers, plants and fountains called Generallife. These gardens were the relieving place for the Sultans, their families and high state official. These gardens are too close to the Al Hamra Palace, but not in it. Also these gardens are being the host of music and dance festivals. Niches on the balusters attracts my attention. The waters flowing down through these niches go to the lower gardens and had been using for irrigation. 

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