The Alhambra is a beautiful collection of buildings and gardens. Its location is one of rare natural beauty that commands a view of the city and plains of Granada. It remains the most perfect example of Moorish art.
The Palace is made up of numerous beautiful courtyards, fountains and buildings that served as living quarters for monarchs. The shady tree-lined walks, abundant streams and fountains are blended with extraordinary architecture and embellishments.
Broadly speaking, the Alhambra is composed of three parts: The Royal Palace, The Gardens of Generalife and the fortress of Alcazaba.
The Royal Palace, the most famous building of the complex, consists of the Mexuar – enclosing the striking Golden Room – where the sultans conducted every day business. The Serallo, which served as a reception area and its very attractive Patio of Myrtles and its view of the Comares Tower, and the intriguing Lions' Court. The Hall of the Ambassadors is the largest and finest room in the palace, where King Fernando discussed Columbus’ attempt to find the sea route to India. The Palacios Nazaries is the high point of the palace. It has ensured that the entire edifice is one of the finest Islamic architectural compositions in Europe.
The inspiration for The Gardens of Generalife is supposed to be the Koranic description of Paradise. Running water and plenty of shaded areas together with all sorts of plants reminded the rulers of Granada of their past in the hot deserts of Africa. A 700 year old cypress tree shades The Patio of the Cypresses. The Walk of the Cascades consists of a superb piece of hydraulic engineering that has water flowing along a shaded staircase. The ticketed areas are basically the 'garden palace', but huge sections of the garden are free and don't require tickets. The gardens are absolutely gorgeous with all kind of herbs, roses and myriad scented plants and flowers growing. Water is a key theme.
The fortress of Alcazaba (the Citadel) is the oldest part of the Alhambra and consists of the impressive Torre de la Vela (watchtower).
The massive, if out of harmony, Carlos V Palace (Palacio de Carlos V) was built by destroying an original wing of the Alhambra. The building is of the Renaissance style and was built after the Reconquista (reconquest) by the Christians.
Overall this tour is a treat for gardeners: the designs are fantastic; the symmetrical Arab features have been copied around the world.
Tickets: Are strictly limited, so booking in advance is highly recommended.
Night Visits: Entry from 20:00 to 21:30 from November to February, 22:00 to 23:30 at all other times. Price: 12€