Published: April 19th 2012April 9th 2012 Natasha Esdwards, The Telegraph, 15 March 2012
Part fortress, part palace, part water garden, the Alhambra is a pinnacle of Moorish art that encapsulates Andalusian history and is one of the great architectural sights of Europe. The peach-coloured brick walls snake round al-Sabika hill above the city of Granada, an irresistible lure that has fascinated architects, writers, mathematicians and artists for centuries.
The Alhambra is the last of the great Moorish palaces and the main reason for most visitors to come to Granada. Work on the Alhmabra began in the 13th century and it was the seat of government for the ruling Moors until they were exiled in 1492. Later, the Alhambra was home to the Spanish Kings. As a result, European Christian features mingle with some of the finest examples of Moorish Islamic architecture.
The Alhambra can be grouped into four main sections: the Alcazaba which is the 13th century fortress section, the Nasrid Palace, the Palace of Charles V and the Generalife. Alcazaba
The Alcazaba (fortress) is the oldest part of the Alhambra. It was first mentioned in the 9th century however it is thought that the original fortress dates back a lot longer. The Moorish rulers constructed the ramparts around the previous castle and turned it into a real fortress, where king Mohammed I. established his royal residence. The Nasrid Palace (Palacios Nazaries)
The Nasrid Palace is where subsequent rulers of Granada lived and held court. It consists of several different palaces that are connected together, each with
The Alcazaba, or fortress, is the oldest part of the Alhambra
their own unique architectural sights - the Mexuar Palace, the Lion Palace and the Comares Palace.
The Nasrid Palace is the highlight of the Alhambra and must not be missed, however the number of entrance tickets is very limited (see below for online tickets). Palace of Charles V
Charles V decided to build his Renaissance palace next to the Nasrid Palace as he appreciated the beauty of the older Moorish palace complex. The Palace of Charles V is the only part that is accessible without a ticket. The Palace houses an exhibition on the Alhambra (free). Generalife
Situated on a hill on the northern end of the Alhambra the Generalife was a tranquil summer residence for the Moorish rulers. It comprises a lower garden section, the palace residence and upper gardens.
As I found out for myself, the Alhambra is an extremely popular visitor attraction. If you don't want to risk having to queue for hours only to find out that the ticket you wanted has sold out, book ahead. Visit the official Alhambra
website where you can book your ticket up to three months prior to your visit.
There are more photos below