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Alhambra

Listed under Castles & Palaces in Granada, Spain.

  • Photo of Alhambra
  • Photo of Alhambra
  • Photo of Alhambra
  • Photo of Alhambra
  • Photo of Alhambra
  • Photo of Alhambra
  • Photo of Alhambra
  • Photo of Alhambra
Photo of Alhambra
Photo by flickr user clspeace
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The calm tinkle of water is the overriding first impression of the Alhambra palace. Built in a particularly arid spot, it is none the less a veritable park of water features; fountains run into ponds into little man made streams and channels into larger pools. The second thing you will probably notice about the Alhambra is the way, as the water features are like art, the rest of the details of the palace are as well: think intricate woodwork, careful mosaics and ceramics and complex calligraphy and designs rendered in plaster and tile.

One particularly impressive room has a roof of inlaid cedar wood panelling made up of 8,000 pieces of jigsaw. Further back in the kings private quarters are themed rooms, many with indoor pools and channels.

The Alhambra is the world’s most carefully kept Muslim palace and dates originally from the 13th and 14th centuries. Originally built as a fortress in red stone, only parts of the original Alhambra remain, much was redone in the new ‘pleasure palace’. The surrounding wall looks fairly weak and is more to offer the harem girls nice views than to defend the kings of Granada. The Alhambra is now said to be one of the greatest examples of Islamic architecture.

Written by  Kynan Wieltz.

Other expert and press reviews

“Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín”

'Rising above the modern lower town, the Alhambra and the Albaycín, situated on two adjacent hills, form the medieval part of Granada. To the east of the Alhambra fortress and residence are the magnificent gardens of the Generalife, the former rural res… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Breathe Taking Experience

I was just here at the end of March, 2012 with my 2 friends. Pablo was my guide - i could have listened to him all day talking about this place in history - he was so passionate about its history - he made the whole experience unforgettable.

1 Reply

I'm so jealous of you!

night time alone in the palace

I strongly suggest taking both the day and night tours of the Alhambra. On our visit we spent our first day in Grenada at the Alhambra, and several days later we took the night tour. We were almost the last of the timed groups to be let in. We walked quickly through, but went very slowly coming back. By that time most of the people had left. We were alone in many of the rooms and courtyards. It was a near full moon that night, and a real sense of wonder hung over the entire complex. We could hear only the water running in he fountains and the breeze rustling the trees. As we entered the court with the big reflecting pool, we came upon a Japanese woman, sitting in full lotus position at the head of the pool, meditating. The moonlight reflected off the waters' surface, casting her in a faint blue light. I'm not much to believe in spirits and such, but something was there that night ... that visit had a profound effect on my life, I hope I can enjoy that sense of ... whatever it was ... one day again.

1 Reply

Thanks Tim - that's great advice for other travellers.

Inspiring my art

I visited the Alhambra as teen in 1972. The beautiful deep colors and enticing patterns of the tiles, the unbelievably ornate decorative work in the ceilings, the beauty of the landscaping, all made a lasting impression. Thirty years later, I transformed every wall surface of a coffee house Blaine, Minnesota, with patterns inspired by that visit. It was an opportunity to share the joy and beauty I experienced there.(http://www.glennterryart.com/Arch/CasaBlanca.htm)

The Alhambra is a must visit place if you are in Spain, like the Acropolis in Athens, but fortunately so much better preserved. It is among the best architectural treasures the world has to offer.

I visited the Alhambra in 2008 while cruising in the Mideterranean and it was such a great experience, what a beutiful and historic site! I will never forget it, an experience I am going to cherish all my life, hope to go back again!

A true Oasis in the desert

The Alhambra is truly a place of peace and quiet. No matter how many people are there you can always find a corner or a garden that is surrounded by either gently flowing water or an artistically created fountain along with beautiful flowers. A perfect place to get in touch with yourself and just dream about the past lives that have walked where you are now walking. I found everything to be in harmony and it seemed it was there to created harmony and within myself. A very beautiful place and worth more than a one time visit.

Visita

I was 8 year when we went to the Alambra, it was a great visit.

Perhaps one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. The history of the architecture and weight of its past are clearly near and dear to the culture of Granada. Spectacular to view at night; a friend of mine living in the city told me when she was young she would sneak into the Alhambra with gypsies for a night of stories, drinking, and love.

Tip o' the day: Bring some good wine, drink it slowly in the Generalife and listen to the running water. You'll hear the same thing the Moors heard hundreds of years ago.

What makes the water system work?

What makes the water system work continuesly? How dose the water get to the top of the palace?

I have been in that wonderful place twice , and each of them was just incredible. I was caught by its beauty, the architecture, the gardens, the delicate ornamented walls and ceilings , the water....

The uses of the diferent chambers.... a trip to the past and to an enchanting culture.

It is said in Granada- "There is no greater sorrow than to be blind in Granada!" or so I was told. After visiting the Alhambra I understood. We made no concrete plans. We simply arrived as an afterthought after we were told at Cordoba that no trains would be heading to Madrid for an indefinite amount of time. So we headed south to Granada and I can't believe how close I came to missing out on this. It took a whole day to explore every corner and we did so without rush. The times to get into the Alhambra are strictly enforced so if your ticket says 3pm BE THERE. Otherwise feel free to roam through the Charles V Palace and the remains of the town. Stop just outside the Torre de Vela and buy a sandwich and a beer- sit on the ruins overlooking town and enjoy lunch. I definitely plan to return.

Incredible place

I went twice, is was a magical and very interesting experience.

This is such a wonderful place; a can't miss on the list of places to visit. Magical, peaceful and full of interesting history! Try and read a book about it prior to your visit, this will help you with all of the history and what you will be seeing. There are different facets to the grounds. Make sure that you make reservations in advance (A WHILE) because tickets sell out quickly. They do hold some tickets for day of purchase, but you have to get there early in the morning to aquire them and the queue is quite long. Now the tickets are purcahse on servicaxia, not the easiest way for a foreigner to purchase tickets, but give it a try!

Enjoy your visit, it is one of the most memorable places I have ever visited.

I just love the Alhambra! Quite easily one of my favorite places in Europe. I've even produced the only downloadable audio tour for the fortress online and have several articles on getting tickets and visiting on my website www.noambit.com

La Alhambra - such a magical place! So beautiful, peaceful and other-wordly! The mosaics were gorgeous. Granada was a wonderful place to visit - warm, friendly locals, amazing history, flameco dancing and paella!

Read Washington Irving's 'Tales of the Alhambra' and you will not be able to wait to get there.

One of the most romantic books, and I re-read it again and again.

The Alhambra is one of the most beautiful, mysterious and enchanting places I've ever been to. The only snag are the countless people visiting (like myself ;-)

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If you like "Tales of the Alhambra" by Washington Irving, "romantic traveler" I recommend you watch the exhibitions and events to be organized in the Alhambra. Additionally, you can learn and discover many things about the Alhambra

what a beautiful art!

what a beautiful place

From the moment you walk through the entrance it is like you are transported to another time. The ornate architecture and peaceful gardens. It is a favorite of mine, even on a hot day. When I lived in Granada I visited the Alhambra a few times and every time experienced and saw something new. It is a picturesque place where you can learn so much about the history and culture of Spain. Definitely not a place to skip if you can make it there!

3 Replies

Sounds fantastic. What else should I see in Granada?

There are many things to do in Granada. Make sure to spend some time wandering around in all of the shops. There are quite a few gelaterias (ice cream) which are wonderful. Los Italianos is a popular one although I liked the one around from Correos (the post office). The plazas are wonderful, make sure to wander around and see all the fountains. Also don't miss the cathedral. If you can make it up into the Albycin do so. The Mirador de San Nicolas gives you a great view of the Alhambra and is a pretty hike up. Just beware of the gypsies. Do not let them put anything in your hand or let them read your fortune. Just say NO or they will expect you to pay. I assume you are female from your name so I would recommend not going into the Albycin alone during the dark with any kind of valuables. This is probably one of the biggest pickpocket areas but beyond that the crime is low. Make sure to take in a lunch, dinner, coffee, whatever it is at Plaza Nueva. If you are looking for bars, the two main parts of the city would be Plaza Nueva and Calle Pedro Antonio. If you can take in a Flamenco show where they take you to a cave performance I highly recommend that also. There are many many things, and the thing about Spain is that many things just seem to occur. If you can be spontaneous that is always best! Have fun!

Thanks for all your help. I definitely like the sound of a flamenco show! I'm going with girlfriends so there's an excellent chance we'll be hitting the gelaterias!

I think is a wonderful place: beautiful, peacefull, very delicated, in the middle of an interesting city. Granada is very interesting in general. I'd recommend visit Granada.

3 Replies

When would you say is the best time to visit? Not been yet but I was hoping this year?

Granada is very hot, so is better to go in autumn or maybe in springtime. I think spring is better but.. yes, it passed, so.. autumn is also a good period to go to.

Is a good idea to see the whole city and enjoy the tapa's culture. This is a tradition in the most part of Spain, and means that in a bar with a beer the barman give to you something to eat. So, with a few beers you can have dinner or lunch.Is a great destination for three or four days.

I hope you'll enjoy it, Leia.

Thanks for your help - I'll look into travelling soon then!

Spent 3 months in Granada as Erasmus student, I was at the Alhambra at least once a week! So calm and relaxing and for sure wonderful!

Visited in 1969. It was beautiful and I remember my visit like it was yesterday!

In 1967//68 I went up to the Alhambra with my Granadino boyfriend Santiago every Sunday when it was free entrance. The place was so romantic and so was my boyfriend. After we would walk down the hill and stop off in Antonio Duran's guitar shop and talk hours about fun things with Antonio and his lovely wife Anita. The Alhambra made for a memorable experience during my year as an American English teacher in Granada. I would do it again.

Alhambra

Granada's Alhambra is one of the great icons of European architecture, a sprawling complex of Moorish delights. There's been a castle here in one form or another since the ninth century (built by the Zyridians), but it's the Alcazaba fortress and watchtower that really captures the imagination, though don't forget to pop into the harem.

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