A week in Andalusia: Granada VII—not the Alhambra

Seriously, Granada was temporarily the capitol of united Spain after the final defeat of the moors. It has a grand neoclassical cathedral, lovely medieval cityscapes, a remnant of a moorish caravanserai and bath, and a fun market. And yes, 1492 marked both the conquest of Granada and the deal with Columbus. Plus the expulsion of the Jews, but that’s another story.

A week in Andalusia: Granada VI—Views

There’s a lot more to Granada than the Alhambra—there’s views of and from the Alhambra!

A week in Andalusia: Granada V—Alhambra Ceilings

Did I mention the ceilings?

A weekend in Andalusia: Granada IV—Tiles

Of course the tilework in the Alhambra is wonderful too, especially when combined with intricate plasterwork. Supposedly Escher was inspired by his visit to the Alhambra. Makes sense.

A week in Andalusia: Granada III—Alhambra plaster closeups

A big part of the Alhambra’s charm is the geometric designs in plaster that decorate walls, ceilings, and columns throughout the building. Vestiges of color hint at the magnificence that was.

A week in Andalusia: Granada II: The Court of the Lions

Arguably the most serene space in the Alhambra.

A week in Andalusia: Granada I—Alhambra Spaces

One of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen, the Alhambra defines romantic.

A week in Andalusia: Sevilla VI—Tapas

I’m not sure tapas are the best thing about Spain, but they’re up there. Infinite choices of small plates, at $4-5 each? With a $2 glass of dry sherry? Available almost any time of day or night? Yes please! In Sevilla, even in the more touristed sections of the city, we found delicious and atmospheric tapas at Bar Catalina, Bar Las Teresas, Casa Roman Taberna, and Bodega Morales (photos in order).

A week in Andalusia: Sevilla V—Patios

A central courtyard/atrium/peristyle—an open space, usually surrounded by columns, at the entrance to a building or in its interior—has been an essential feature of domestic and public architecture from ancient Rome and earlier. Andalusia’s exceptionally pleasant and welcoming patios echo the entrance courts of mosques (like that preserved as a cloister in the otherwise thoroughly baroque Church of El Salvador) and the central courts of buildings like the Alcazar.  Peeking into Sevilla’s open wooden doors to look at patios is an essential feature of a stroll through the city.  

A week in Andalusia: Sevilla IV—Street Scenes

Sevilla’s narrow medieval streets are a delight to wander. Picture postcard plazas lurk around every corner. Among the sights are Don Juan (operas set in Sevilla include Don Giovanni, the Marriage of Figaro, the Barber of Seville, and Carmen), the bullring, and the Tower of Gold (one half of a pair of towers anchoring the chain across the Guadalquivir that protected the harbor from invasion). Mixed among the older structures are attractive art deco buildings incorporating the style known appropriately as neo-mudejar.