Albayzín and Alhambra

Marta Armour Arcadia in Granada, Spain


October 5, 2017

This week was orientation. Classes haven’t start so there’s still the “wow” factor going on. We had hours and hours of lectures about safety and travel. Thanks to our wonderful program managers Marta and Eugenia we all feel fully prepared to take on Granada.

But besides the lectures that sometimes seemed to last forever we also walked… a lot. We probably averaged 5.5 miles per day during orientation. Why? Well, Granada is a city that walks everywhere. Public transportation does exist. In fact the metro JUST opened this month, it’s still not on par to SEPTA but from what I’ve heard, it’s easily accessible. But walking a lot is definitely something you should be prepared for. I recommend bringing sneakers.

This orientation week we went to two very famous places in Granada. We first went to the town of Albayzín. It was VERY close to Granada not even 15 minutes from the City Center BUT it was all up hill. We walked probably 20 minutes uphill with multiple breaks in between. It was beautiful. The higher you went up you could see more and more of Granada coming into view. It was breathtaking (along with the uphill climb). It is worth the hike up hill. Albayzín was a famous town because of its Islamic history and very strategic architecture. The town was strategically built because 1. It was on a hill, making it harder for an army of horses to climb and men clad in heavy army. 2. The twists and turns made it easy for the town to plan surprise attacks due to the sharp corners. 3. The buildings were built in a way to block the sun at all times making it cooler and were also made with white stones to reflect light.  

The Alhambra is one of the most historic places in Granada and possibly in Spain, maybe the world. In Arabic Alhambra means red building, was a fortress and palace up until the Reconquista in 1492 by King Ferdinand and Isabella. It has obvious Moorish architecture with the horseshoe arches and symbols of the 5 pillar of Islam. It’s a VERY large property and takes some time to walk around and see everything but it was absolutely stunning and fit for royalty. Being 1 of the 7,000 daily visitors was amazing. A must see! I suggest a tour guide or audio tour because you will miss out key facts that make the Alhambra even more amazing. Also if possible, walk to the very top of the watchtower, AMAZING VIEW (picture included if you can’t make it!). Can’t wait to go back again in February with my mom!