One of the many wonderful cities in Andalusia is Granada. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains and withholds the famous fortress Alhambra, of Arabic origin. It is the most renowned building of the Andalusian Islamic historical legacy.
The Alhambra is a palace and monumental complex designed in mind with the mountainous area. Designed in the Mudéjar style, with some Western elements, it is represented in Islamic forms. The Alhambra consists of Islamic palaces built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain and its court of the Nasrid dynasty.
The first historical documents known about the Alhambra date from the 9th century and they refer to Sawwar ben Hamdun who, in the year 889, had to seek refuge in the Alcazaba, a fortress, and had to repair it due to the civil fights that were destroying the Caliphate of Cordoba, to which Granada then belonged.
The Alhambra is a World Heritage Site entitled by UNESCO and in the past has been named as “a pearl set in emeralds” by Moorish poets. It is considered as piece of Muslim art.
Dimensions and symmetry are what influenced the buildings of Alhambra, a true technique of the time by the Arabs. Stunningly carved and detailed column arcades, fountains, pools (not necessarily for swimming!), all with aesthetic and functionally complexity.
Although one may describe as the exteriors of the buildings rather plain, it is true that colors such as blue, red and golden yellow were abundantly used, but have faded through lapse of time.
Within the Alhambra, you fill find the Alcazaba, a fortress, the oldest part of the Alhambra. It is thought that before it was built and before the Muslims arrived to Granada and plainly served a military function, one of the many entrances to the Alhambra.
There were already several constructions in the same area, where they later developed more buildings and monuments that construct the large Alhambra fortress of today.
You will also find palaces of the Nasrid Dynasty Kings.
There are three independent areas in the Nasrid Palaces (Palacios Nazaríes): the Mexuar, which corresponds to the semipublic part of the palace for justice administration and State affairs; the Comares Palace (Palacio de Comares, also known as Palacio de Carlos V), which was the official residence of the king; and the Palace of the Lions (Palacio de los Leones), which was the private area of the palace, where the Harem (the king’s home) was located.
The Palacio de Generalife was the summer palace and country estate of the Nasrid Emirs (Kings), built close to the Alhambra. It is located on the slopes of the Hill of the Sun (Cerro del Sol), with spectacular views over the city of Granada and the valleys of the rivers Genil and Darro.
The Alhambra is surrounded by beautiful parks with overgrown wildflowers, spring grass, beautiful roses (of all colours), orange and myrtle trees, nightingales and the soothing sound of running water from the picturesque fountains and cascades. Around the Generalife you will find some of the most beautiful gardens.
For a normal daytime visit, it is 13.00 € for adults, free entry for youngsters under 12 years of age and between 8.00 € or 9.00 € for senior citizens, EU pensioners, children between 12 and 15 and people with disabilities.
Daytime tickets include: the Alcazaba, Carlos V Palace, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife, the Mosque baths and Gardens. It is also possible to visit those places that have been designated as “area of the month”, as long as these areas are included within the itineraries allowed by this ticket.
- The daytime ticket, in March 15th to October 14th, is divided into Morning ticket (8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and afternoon ticket (2 p.m. to 8 p.m.).
- From October 15th to March 14th, the ticket is divided into Morning ticket (8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and afternoon ticket (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.).
The Alhambra is open Monday to Sunday.
There are special prices if you only wish to visit the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife or the Gardens, and if you want to do so during daytime or evening-time.
We are not responsible for any date, time, price or detail change of any event mentioned in this article.
Other sites worth seeing
Catedral de Granada (Granada’s cathedral)
Arquitecture to admire. One of the oldest occidental Christian cathedrals, one of the first founded in the Peninsular territory. Situated right in the center of Granada having its entrance at Gran Vía de Colón, this temple is considered to be the first Renaissance church in Spain. The building was built by the Main Mosque and was begun in 1505.
Mezquita Mayor de Granada (Granada’s main mosque)
The Mezquita Mayor de Granada represents the restoration of a lost heritage, after a hiatus of 500 years, of a fruitful and enriching tradition in all areas of human endeavor. The opening of the Great Mosque of Granada in the summer of 2003 marked a historic milestone.
The Great Mosque of Granada is composed of three distinct elements: the Garden, the prayer hall is the Mosque itself, and the Islámic study spaces. The Mosque is decorated with elements from the traditions of the Islamic world.
Guadix, Granada province’s cave homes
Considered one of the oldest human settlements in whole of Spain. Guadix’s most interesting feature is how almost half of the inhabitants live underground, in caves. These cave houses have become an interesting tourist attraction. If go for a drive or stroll through Guadix and you show an interest in citizens homes, you might be invited to have a look. Some of the most friendly people will welcome you to their town that holds important heritage monuments such as Medieval Arab Citadel, Cathedral and Mudéjar style arquitecture.
Sierra Nevada, Granada’s Ski escape
Sierra Nevada is the most popular skiing destination in southern Spain. Located at the foothills of the beautiful city of Granada. One can enjoy skiing and sun with culture and history combined.
Sierra Nevada has the highest point of continental Spain, Mulhacén at 3,478 metres (11,411 ft) above sea level. Only 1 and half hours drive from Málaga and close to Almería, Granada is a destination accessible by all means of transport and has its own airport.
Below is a map that has marked (with golden stars) all places that have been mentioned in this article, in Granada. Click it and it will take you to the live Google Map where you can enter your exact location and plan your trip accordingly.