The impressive fortress of the Alhambra

posted in: Spain | 14

When exploring the city of Granada in the south of Spain, the highlight has to be exploring the Alhambra which is a huge palace perched on a hill. Here’s the history to give some background on this amazing fortress. Built way back in AD 889 on a site where Roman fortifications once stood, the fortress fell into ruins until it was rebuilt in the middle of the 13th century under the command of the Moorish chief Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar to which the current palace and walls still stand to this very day. Since then it has been converted into a royal palace, then overran by Christians who kicked out the Moorish people and had a bit of a refurbishment where some of the palace feature to Renaissance style.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Just chilling out on a hot day at the Alhambra

After a while the fortress and palace fell into disrepair again for a few centuries, some squatters lived in them but after the French leader Napoleon came along, had a battle and lost, the locals and the British (who were just passing through) rediscovered the palace and rebuilt it to its former glory. Now it’s one of Spain’s top attractions to see which shows off the a lot of Islamic architecture and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Can’t beat the views looking out towards the Alhambra

Checking out the grounds of the fortress consists of buildings like the Royal Complex, the Courtyard of the Palace of Charles V, Court of Myrtles, Hall of the Ambassadors, the Court of the Lions (with its beautiful fountains), Hall of the Abencerrajes and the Generalife. The following are some of the photos taken whilst walking around the complex.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Generalife

The Generalife – this was the summer palace for the Nasrid rulers around the 14th century. The highlight has to be the courtyard with the water channel in the middle with flowerbeds surrounding it.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Generalife
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Views of the Alhambra from the Generalife
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Generalife

Nasrid Palace – the main part of the fortress which was built for the rulers during their dynasty in the 14th century. Walking around here reminded me that I was flung into the middle east and I was engaged with the Arabesque design.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Nasrid Palace
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Nasrid Palace
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Nasrid Palace
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Looking up to the ceiling and caught this Muqarnas ceiling decoration inside the Nasrid Palace

The courtyard of Palace of Charles V – this is located on the outside of the palace building and was pretty impressed with the layout and design.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
The courtyard of the Palace of Charles V
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
The courtyard of the Palace of Charles V
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Beautiful carvings on the wall inside the courtyard

The Partal Palace – this is in another part of the Generalife area of the Alhambra and has many small pools in the garden. This is the perfect place in the summer months to chill out and take in the sun rays or to take a stroll to get away from the urban sprawl of the city of Granada down below.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
The Partal Palace which is inside the Generalife
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
The Partal Palace

Other parts of the Alhambra I kept coming pass other parts of the palaces and beautiful pools to take a wander around. The only downfall I found coming here was that I couldn’t go into all the rooms to check out the palace and to see if, for example, the bedrooms were more grandeur than other rooms I saw. However, this palace is to be explored for its outdoor parts.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Patio de los Arrayanes
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Patio de los Arrayanes
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Plaza de los Aljibes

Walking around this stunning fortress on the hilltop in the summer months is purely breathtaking. Sitting on the outside wall of the Generalife, looking out towards the rooftops of Granada down below is one of the top places I have come across in Spain. There is also the nearby mountains which makes the surroundings even more spectacular. If in this region I would totally advise visitors to make a day trip here and explore this beautiful location.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Fantastic views from the Alhambra

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Tips to making a visit to the Alhambra a smooth one

Book tickets online as queues can be long during the months of June to September.

Coming by car, come early as the official parking near the fortress can fill up quite quickly. It’s a bit of walk up the hill if parking at the bottom.

Allow plenty of time to explore the complex. Make sure you book tickets to see everything then you won’t come away disappointed. I would recommend getting here a few minutes before opening times to have the complex mostly to yourself and get those perfect pictures.

Have good walking shoes as there is plenty of walking to be done. Also have a bottle of water (or two) as Granada is located in one of the hottest parts of Spain during the summer months.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain
There are many beautiful small gardens also dotted around the complex like this one.

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The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

14 Responses

  1. I’m absolutely in love with all of the detailing on the walls inside the Nasrid Palace! I wonder how long it took to carve each little design. So glad you got the upclose shots of them!
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  2. This is such a beautiful palace! The details on all the walls, the fountains in the garden area, the views! All are just spectacular!

  3. Hearing about Alhambra for the first time. Definitely a great place, a must visit in Spain. The architecture is magnificent. Thanks for sharing those tips.

  4. Gorgeous and super inspiring. I must admit I have not been to Spain a whole lot for exploring, but Alhambra definitely goes on my list!

  5. I love the Moorish architecture and the point of view “overrun with Christians”. Alhambra sounds like it is straight out of North Africa and reminds you that there are many dimensions to European history.

  6. Stunning piece of history. Glad the refurbished it, i’ll have to put it on my list for whenever I get to Spain 🙂

  7. Imagine if todays architecture included beautiful designs like that in the Nasrid Palace. I seriously think I could hang out here for days, so much detail. Doesnt look like it is overrun with tourists either, so you could take your time and really take it all in.

  8. This place looks absolutely stunning! I love all the intricate Arabesque architecture, especially your pics inside the Nasrid Palace, although the gardens also look beautiful and tranquil. Seeing places like this can really remind that all of our history is so heavily intertwined. Great photos and thanks for sharing!

  9. Alhambra seems magnificent! Today I watched a video about a Syrian man singing inside and it was amazing! There is so much history behind this structure and it definitely deserves to be explored!

  10. I’m not sure that there’s another destination that has all of this in one place. Your garden photos are enticing alongside the beautiful architecture. Can you imagine the patience one would have to have in the design of those buildings? Great tip on booking tickets online, as that is often a time saver.
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  11. Megan Jerrard

    Wow what an incredible history the fortress has – having changed ownership so many times and been remodeled through many different ages. Funny how squatters used to live there and now it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site haha! I’m so glad they have preserved it for tourism today, the Generalife is particularilt stunning with its water channel in the middle with flowerbeds surrounding it. And the view over the rooftops – wow!

    Love the intricate design throughout Nasrid Palace – I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken to carve all of that by hand! Alhambra looks beautiful through and through. Thankyou for the photo tour 🙂

  12. Spain has so many of these types of historic sites. Alhambra looks so grand and well preserved, being a UNESCO site helps in that regard, I guess. The whole Moors history in Spain is one I find fascinating.

  13. I loved visiting the Alhambra when I was in Spain. I only did a day trip there from Malaga and wish I’d spent longer there. So much history there. I had no idea squatters had taken it over at one point, though! Talk about privileged squatters! There is so much wonderful detail like the pools and the outdoor flooring at the Partal Palace. Wow.
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  14. Alhambra looks really exotic and the palaces sheer poetry in architecture. I was really intrigued looking at the pictures of the Nasrid Palace. The architectural style is so similar to the Mughal architecture in India. Many of the old monuments, especially Agra fort and other structures are built in similar style.

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