The palatial Alhambra perches on a wooded hill in Granada, Spain, with mountains in the background
Photo by bernjan  –  Link

The Alhambra

Spain > Granada

What's inside the Alhambra?

The Alhambra is a sublime fortress perched atop the Assabica hill overlooking the city of Granada. The complex is fairly large and preservation work is on continuously to restore and conserve this UNESCO World Heritage site. There is a lot to see inside with a few key sights:

  • The Nasrid Palaces - a series of palaces hidden away in the northern part of the complex is undeniably the star attraction of The Alhambra. Your ticket will specify a time at which you may enter and you should join the queue around 25 minutes before this time. Inside you will find some outstanding handcrafted mozaics and intricate carved designs on the walls. Look out for the infamous arched windows and marvel at the domed ceilings with scriptures and geometric shapes delicately covering entire rooms.
  • Alcazaba - the front part of the Fort is the Alcazaba fortification. One of the earlier constructions within the complex, it is noticeably more weathered. Despite this, the Torre de la Vela stands tall at the fore of the Alhambra's walls and offers outstanding views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Note that only one entry per ticket is allowed.
  • Generalife - these are some lush gardens built by the Nasrid family together with a complex irrigation system sustaining a broad range of plants much in contrast with the surrounding landscape. You will have the opportunity to wander through these as you enter through the main entrance on the way to the main part of the Alhambra. Once again, your ticket is marked as you enter and leave, so don't expect to be let in again at the end of the day.
  • Palacio de Carlos V - this large palace was obviously built much later than the majority of the complex and was erected on the spot of the Moorish Winter Palace. Currently a part of it is used to house a small museum of historic artefacts and materials about the Complex which is worth a look as you wait for your turn to walk around the Nasrid Palaces next door.

History of the Alhambra

The Alhambra is one of the best preserved and certainly one of the most outstanding pieces of classical Islamic architecture. Built in the 14th century as the central stronghold of the Nasrid Emirate, it juxtaposed an unassailable fortress with the beauty and intricate detail of the stunning palaces inside.

Early smaller-scale constructions on the present site were present since the late 9th century and it was not until 1238 that a decision was taken to erect a magnificent palace complex by Abdallah ibn al-Ahmar. The original plan was adhered to with very few changes as construction went on for 150 years with the entire palace completed by 1391.

The Alhambra under Spanish rule

Very soon after, Spanish forces attacked the last remaining Arab outpost on Iberian peninsula as King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabel I of Castile used the joint power of their kingdoms. Luckily enough, the invading forces superiority meant that the Nasrid rulers handed over the complex without a fight meaning much of the structure is relatively well preserved to this day.

Spanish rulers changed some of the internal layout with the Winter Palace destroyed to make way for the imposing Palacio de Carlos V early in the 16th century and a number of towers and buildings dismantled by a succession of rulers.

This neglect over the course of a number of centuries led to the Alhambra's gradual deterioration. It was not until the 19th century that the Alhambra regained its popularity and work recommenced to preserve this beautiful monument under Ferdinand VII.

Opening Times

October 15th to December 31st

  • Open Daily: 08:30 AM to 06:00 PM

January 1st to March 31st

  • Open Daily: 08:30 AM to 06:00 PM

April 1st to October 14th

  • Open Daily: 08:30 AM to 08:00 PM
Price Information

Alhambra General

  • General : 14.00 EUR
  • Elders (Ages 65 - 150) : 9.00 EUR
  • Disabled : 8.00 EUR
  • Children Free

Alhambra at Night

  • General : 8.00 EUR

Alhambra Gardens

  • General : 7.00 EUR
Address

The Alhambra

Granada

AndalucĂ­a

Spain 18009