The Alhambra Was Built to Be A Paradise on Earth for the Nasrid Sultans:
The Alhambra is one of the two highlight attractions of Granada, the other being the nearby Generalife gardens. This Moorish fortress and palace complex is what most visitors come to Granada to see.
A Paradise on Earth
The Alhambra was the last of the great Moorish palaces. Built during the reign of the Nasrid Dynasty, this was their idea of paradise on earth. Work began in the 13th century under Ismail I and then it was carried on by his successors Yusuf I and Muhammad V.
The Alhambra complex can be grouped into four main sections: the Alcazaba which is the 13th century fortress section, the Palacios Nazaries the star attraction of the Alhambra, the Palace of Charles V and the Generalife. Within the fortified walls surrounding the Alhambra there are splendid palace complexes comprising residential quarters, patios, court complexes and halls, all with magnificent features and decorations and the history to go with them.
The Mexuar Palace, the Lion Palace and the Comares Palace make up the Palacios Nazaries, where the rulers of Granada lived and held court. The most impressive section is the Comares Palace which is the residence of the Sultan. In the Palacios Nazaries complex are the beautiful Patio de Arrayanes, the Salón de los Embajadores – the Hall of Ambassadors or throne room which is covered by a magnificent wooden dome and the famous Patio de of Los Leones.
The Alhambra also includes the Palace of Emperor Charles V who decided to build his Renaissance palace here as he appreciated the beauty of the Arab palace complex.
Visiting the Alhambra
The Alhambra is an extremely popular tourist attraction and if you are planning on a visit, it is recommended that you purchase your Alhambra Palace ticket in advance or risk having to stand in line for hours at peak times. Also access to the Alhambra is strictly limited to a certain number of visitors each day. The Alhambra is a huge complex and if you are interested to learn about its rich history and appreciate the finer features of the palaces like the carved wood ceilings and the styles of the ceramic tiles, a guided tour is recommended.
When booking your Alhambra ticket, take note of your booked period of visit, i.e. morning, afternoon or evening. It is important that you also take note of your allocated entry time for the Palacios Nazaries as this section works on time controls. Only a certain number of visitors are allowed to enter this section each half hour. You can book a guided tour of the Alhambra and the Generalife Gardens here. For a few dollars more, you also have a choice of a private tour.
Hotels Near the Alhambra
There is a huge choice of hotels in Granada, but if being close to the Alhambra is a priority, hotels like the Parador de Granada, Alhambra Palace and Casa 1800 Granada are within 100 to 500 metres away. Personally, I would prefer to be in the Old Town or Albayzin districts as it is easier to see other Granada attractions as well as to go out in the evenings.
Map of The Alhambra: