Calat Alhambra or the “Red Fortress” in Granada, Spain, is a complex of royal palaces, mosques, baths, shops and other buildings surrounded by an imposing two kilometer fortified wall.
Originally established in 1238 by the founder of the Nasrid Dynasty, Muhammad Ibn al Ahmar, it was expanded in the 13th century by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada of the Nasrid Dynasty, who passed the project onto his son and heir, Mohammad V. Mohammed completed the Alhambra in the 14th century, including the Palacio Nazaríes. Thus the Alhambra became the royal residence of the Nasrid ‘emirs’ or princes until 1492, when it was conquered by the Christians.
In fact, Arabic texts show that there was a fortress at the Alhambra from the 9th century and evidence even points to it being inhabited during Roman times, but the work of the Nasrid Dynasty was the first incarnation of the Alhambra fortified palace complex as it is known today.
The Alhambra area, known as Albayzin, was also an important stronghold for the eleventh century Zirid Dinasty and for the Andalusians in the twelfth century.
Today, the Alhambra is open to the public. Visitors can tour its palaces, including the Palacio Nazaríes and the 16th century Palace of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. The Alcazaba or “citadel” is another highlight of the Alhambra, this being the main element of the complex’s fortifications.
The Alhambra is centred on two main courtyards, the Court of the Lions and the Court of Myrtles, the former with a fountain and the latter with a long pool. Its beautiful Generalife gardens and buildings are also worth visiting, while the Alhambra Museum offers everything from Nasrid art to archaeological finds.
The Alhambra contains a wealth of building and monuments and a visit usually lasts around 3 hours. The Alhambra’s website is very useful for downloading tours onto mobile devices as well as maps and itineraries. Audio guides are available on site.
The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Spain.
Located in the city of Granada, Spain along Route E-902/A-44 (Ctra de Granada), around 126 km northwest of Malaga. Buses 30 and 32 travel to the site and the Alhambra is located around 3 km southeast of Carretera de Jaén bus terminal on Ctra de Jaén road. Buses travel from the station to Cordoba (3 hrs), to Malaga (1.5 hrs) and Madrid (6 hrs). Trains run from Granada’s Avenida de Andaluces, around 2km west of the site to Madrid (6 hours), Cordoba (4 hours) and Malaga (2.5 hours).
Vending machines, car park, shop and checkrooms are available. There is also a planned cafe and restaurant in future.
Open daily except on 25 December and 1 January. November-February, open 8:30am-6pm (evening visits Fridays & Saturday, 8pm-9:30pm). March-October, open from 8:30am-8pm (evening visits Fridays and Saturday 10pm-11:30pm). Ticket offices close 1 hr before closing. Certain areas free to enter, but most require a ticket. General entry costs 12 Euros, admission to the Alcazaba, Partal and the Generalife costs 6 Euros. Concessions are available and there are also certain passes available (see the official website). Note that there are fewer than 7000 tickets available daily - best to book in advance.
Alhambra, Calle, Real, 18009 Granada, Spain
902 441 221
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