Monasterio de la Cartuja
Spanish Baroque architecture can hardly be imagined without the Monastery of Cartuja as one of its finest examples. Also known as the Monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, it was built in 1515. The monastery is lavishly decorated with carved wood, marble, and different elements of interior design. On top of everything else, Monasterio Cartuja is also home to a rich collection of paintings by Spanish artists.
The whole complex was built on site of a Roman cemetery after the Spanish military captain donated the land to the monks. The monastery remained inhabited by Cartusian monks for centuries and underwent massive renovation. As a result of this renovation, the monastery adjoined the church, the side chapel and the sacristy.
It admits visitors through a simple patio with arches and is divided into three parts: for the monks, the laity, and the people. Its incomparable appearance, the richness of colors, and a collection of sculptures by the Granada School masters must be seen!
Historically, Granada developed and experienced many epochal changes. During the Muslim rule, it acquired an emblematic historical monument, Puerta Elvira. The military and economic role of this gate to the city proved to be exceptional – it became the main access point to Granada.
This fortress gate connected the main street of Granada with an ancient road and was protected like the royal treasury! Initially, there was a fortress with a huge barbican, built until the heyday of the Nasrid era in the 13th century. It is then that the great horseshoe-shaped arch appeared, decorated with mural paintings and carved stone elements.
Puerta Elvira was even beautified by the church and decorated even more lavishly to commemorate the visit of Don Carlos I to Granada in the early 16th century. The Puerta Elvira gate has undergone consolidation and renovation works in the 20th century and was granted with the status of a national artistic historical monument.
Located along the river Darro on a rocky forested hill that is difficult to access, the Alhambra citadel offered perfect protection and reconciliation. It is one of the oldest districts of Granada, which served as the royal residence. Alhambra is the legendary symbol of Granada, strongly associated with the Nasrid Kingdom.
Its defensive towers and high walls granted safety to king Mohammed ibn Yusuf Ben Nasr and became his first residence, one of the famous Nasrid Palaces. Alhambra was surrounded by the medina and the barracks of the royal military. The royal palace would be incomplete without the gardens and orchards where tourists can now stroll freely.
In the 15th century, Alhambra became a Christian court, after the conquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs. A church and a Franciscan monastery were added to the Arabic fortress. Today, it is a symbol of Granada and a living reminder of the glorious and controversial past.
Patio Interior del Palacio de Carlos V
The Palace of Carlos V originated as a place that would bring comfort to the emperor and his family and was designed as another summer residence. Palacio de Carlos V is located near the Alhambra palace, which only contributes to its charm and grandeur. Its construction was long and eventful.
Shaped by the Renaissance-style architect, Pedro Machuca, it was intended to become outstanding and richly decorated. The courtyard, the marble doors, the facades, the columns and balconies are all magnificent and worthy of a close look.
Exquisite and sumptuous, Patio Interior is the highlight of the whole Palace of Carlos V. It is an open-air ring-shaped patio surrounded by a wide portico with 32 supporting Doric columns.
The upper part of the palace mirrors the lower tier and contains 32 Ionic columns. The inner courtyard is decorated with many arches and niches. Communicating with various chambers and corridors, it is easily accessible from any part of the palace.
Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana
Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana is a perfect example of Mudejar architecture and a must-see on the list of Granada’s attractions. It neighbors Alhambra and the Royal Chancery.
Like in many other cases, the church was built on the site of an Islamic religious edifice, Aljazo Almanzora mosque, and presents a perfect mix of styles with clearly discernible Renaissance features. The church is admired for its pointed arches, Corinthian columns, elaborate side chapels and doorways. Yet, the Christian architects decided to keep the minaret, which contributes to the general outlook of the landmark.
The interior of Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana is equally impressive and features wall paintings, an artistic crucifix, an ancient chalice, as well as numerous sculptures. The church is recognized as the site of cultural interest and classifies as one of the symbols of Granada.
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