“There is no greater tragedy than that of a blind man in Granada”
This saying is variously attributed to Anonymous and to Francisco Asís de Icaza, a Mexican poet who lived in Spain in the early 20th century. It is as true today as it was when I first visited 20 years ago. I advise starting your time there with a full day at the Alhambra – the UNESCO World Heritage site that for over 1100 years has reigned over the city.
In 1998, I had no idea that tickets were mandatory for entrance and even then – pre Instagram and social media – people made reservations months in advance. I was able to see El Generalife gardens, which are as magnificent today as they were then.
However, it would be another two decades before I was able to explore the incredible art and architecture of the 35-acre palace and fortress complex, first established in the late 9th century CE on the site of Roman ruins.
For seven centuries, the Masjid ruled over Andalusia, or el Andalus as it was then known. Their influence is felt throughout the region and especially here.
The Alhambra replete with examples of astonishing artisan mastery (and I am not exaggerating). If you have the luxury of visiting on multiple occasions, I highly recommend it. The sheer magnitude and diversity of artistic expression can be overwhelming.
Finally, be sure to visit the Mirador of St. Nicholas in the adjacent Albaycin neighborhood for a spectacular view of the Alhambra – below at sunset.
I could go on, but this post is meant to inspire, not inform – there are plenty of excellent resources online. Learn from my mistake and as soon as you decide to visit Granada, book your tickets for the Alhambra. You’ll be glad you did.