Like many people, my main reason for coming to Granada was to see the Alhambra, the famous Moorish palace that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally built as a small fortress in the 1st century, it was taken over by the Moors in the 13th century as they fled south. Mohammed ben Alhamar, the first of the Nasrid Dynasty, decided to make Granada the grandest city of Andalusia. The magnificent hilltop palace of Alhambra was built and the Moors ruled until the Catholics overcame them in 1492. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella made the palace their royal court. Christopher Columbus received their endorsement for his expedition here. In time Christian and Renaissance influences were incorporated into the buildings but the Moorish influence remains strong. Laurie Lee in his wonderful book A Rose For Wintersays of Granada that it ‘is probably the most beautiful and haunting of all Spanish cities; an African paradise set under the Sierras like a rose preserved in snow.’
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