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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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