The Alhambra Palace and Fortress Complex, Granada

The Alhambra Palace and Fortress Complex, Granada (must see)

Alhambra in Arabic is "The Red One." It is a palace and fortress complex. It was originally built on the ruins of a Roman fortress in 889. It was rebuilt in the 13th century by the Muhammad I of Granada, the first ruler of the Emirate of Granada. It was converted to a palace by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. In 1492 it became the royal court of Ferdinand and Isabella.

The Alhambra was the place where Christopher Columbus received his commission to find the Indies which he never found. In 1526 Charles I of Spain ordered a Renaissance palace in the Mannerist style with its humanism contrasting with Nasrid architecture. After the decline of Nasrid influence, the Alhambra complex fell into neglect and disrepair.

Centuries later after Napoleon I had destroyed the site, the Alhambra was rediscovered. It is today one of the greatest tourist attractions in Spain. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been described by poets as a pearl in emeralds. This was a literal description of the colors of the stones imbedded in the surrounding woods.

The Alhambra park is stocked with nightingales. Running water from the fountains and cascades can be heard at all times. The idea was to create a kind of "paradise on earth." The exterior was made to be plain and austere.

The Alcazaba, also known as the old citidel, is the oldest part. All that is left are the great outer walls, towers and ramparts. Beyond the Alcazaba is the palace of the Arab rulers. There are the Nasrid Palaces of Alhambra and then the Alhambra Alta. originally meant for court officials.

The royal palace is of three parts. The Mexuar is plain and simple. It was for functions of business and government. Sersllo contains the Court of the Myrtles. The Harem is richly decorated. It was the living quarters for the wives and mistresses of the Sultan. It provided hot and cold running water, including showers.

Poets of the Nasrid period made poems for the Palace. Lines are inscribed in arches and columns in arabesque, cursive script. "There is no victor but God." appears often.

Why you should visit
One should visit often in order to focus on the different places of interest. There are so many, all of them captivating. Don't travel thousands of miles to see a Spanish McDonald's. Visit to see what you can see nowhere else.

Be prudent about crowds. There were cutpurses in Nasrid times, there are pickpockets now.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Granada. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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The Alhambra Palace and Fortress Complex on Map

Sight Name: The Alhambra Palace and Fortress Complex
Sight Location: Granada, Spain (See walking tours in Granada)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Granada, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Granada

Create Your Own Walk in Granada

Creating your own self-guided walk in Granada is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Granada's Architectural Jewels

Granada's Architectural Jewels

Over the course of centuries, Granada's architecture has been influenced by four major styles – Moorish, Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque. The city’s most impressive buildings date from the period of Arabic rule and the subsequent Catholic epoch which started after the Moors were displaced in 1492.

From the dazzling majesty of the Alhambra to the awe-inspiring churches and the subtly...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Albayzín Walking Tour

Albayzín Walking Tour

The Moorish quarter of Albaycín is a world of its own inside Granada. Mainly, this is due to a strong Islamic vibe still present in the area. The city's oldest district was established by Arabs in the 11th century and to date has retained much of its original charm, manifested in the neat maze of narrow Medieval lanes, shady, intimate courtyards and squares, plus a multitude of well-kept,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Alhambra Walking Tour

Alhambra Walking Tour

One of the first places a tourist wants to visit in Granada is Alhambra, the region’s most iconic sight. By far not a typically Spanish attraction, this enormous fortress encompasses palaces, gardens, courtyards, and is the greatest surviving relic of Andalusia’s 800 years of Moorish rule. The sprawling complex sits forbiddingly atop the Darro valley, against a dramatic backdrop of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Granada Introduction Walking Tour

Granada Introduction Walking Tour

The story of the city of Granada does not properly begin until the Umayyad conquest of 711 AD. The Iberian peninsula fell under Moorish rule that would last 700 years and the Jewish settlement of Garnata al-Jahud grew to become Granada of Al-Andalus.

The long Reconquest of Spain finally ended when the Emirate of Granada was ceded by Mohammad XII to the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles