Spain's Alhambra Palace reopens for visitors



One of Spain's most visited monuments, the Alhambra Palace in southern Spain, opened its doors on Wednesday after a three-month shut down due to the virus.


Under the ancient blue sky with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background, the historic Moorish Palace - and Europe's Muslim architecture - has once again been opened to visitors, albeit with stringent health and safety regulations.

"I'm very proud to be here and be the first visitor to the Alhambra," said 36-year-old Mexican Marina Castro Mendoza, who lives in Granada.

To mark the occasion, she was allowed to bell at the Torre de la Vella Watchtower, which dominates the site, saying that she had "great pride" with the bell that gave "a sign of hope to all."

With travel rules still in place until June 21st, only the locals were able to visit the site once home to the Moorish kings and now it is one of the largest public museums in the world of Islamic architecture.

Generally filled with visitors to and from Spain, it is possible to see the Alhambra congestion when Spain reopens next week.

Starting July 1, borders will be open to all international visitors, albeit with stringent security arrangements.

At the entrance, the hygiene prison is in hand and both staff and visitors wear masks, signals to warn the crowd by spreading arrows on the floor and respecting the safety distance of two meters.

"It's a happy day because we're seeing visitors again," said Rocio Diaz, who heads the site-run Trust.

At the moment, the Alhambra can only serve 4,250 visitors up to 50 percent of its capacity, Diaz said on Wednesday, selling "about 1,000 tickets."

Mexican visitor Mendoza said, "The Alhambra is always beautiful, but now, with fewer people, I think it's more of a sparkle."

Arabic for "Red One", a World Heritage Site, the Alhambra is a monument incorporating decorated Islamic palaces, a castle, and the Renaissance-style Carlos V Palace.

Last year, about 2.7 million visitors visited the site, which is filled with countless Arabic inscriptions and intricate geometric designs and its beautiful gardens and spectacular views.

The seat of the Nasri dynasty, the last Muslim ruler of the Iberian Peninsula, was ruled by Grenada from 1238 until the Catholic emperors Ferdinand and Isabella conquered the city in 1492.

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