A UNESCO world heritage site, the Alhambra (meaning the red fortress), has been the subject of poems, songs, operas, books, films and reveries and continues to draw people from around the globe.
The Alhambra is a glorious example of Moorish architecture and a monument to how a structure as magnificent as this has evolved, adapted, and maintained its allure and magic through the ages. The Alhambra invites visitors time and time again to explore its many facets and periods of development - from the North African Moors in the early 14th century to Catholic Conquistadors in the late 16th. Many artists, poets and dignitaries have lived and visited its grounds and palaces over the centuries.
The Alhambra stands as a lasting testament to Islamic art and architecture and the palace's beauty. Its reverence and impact on those who visit is everlasting and is simply one of the most magical places we can think of.
The Alhambra is one of the finest architectural sights in Europe, and is the top tourist attraction in Granada.
Described by Moorish poets as “a pearl set in emeralds”, the Alhambra is a gorgeous palace situated in the densely-wooded hills of Granada. It dates back to the 9th century when it was a fort, then was rebuilt in the 11th and became a royal palace in 1333. The Palace of St Charles V was added in 1527 but the Alhambra subsequently fell into disrepair until it was rediscovered and renovated in the 19th century.
Today, the Alhambra is an enduring testament to the beauty of Islamic art and architecture. Each room of the palace is decorated in its own style and is palpably different from the last. Light, pattern and color combine to create a dazzling effect. The decorations are typical of Andalusian art and feature many geometric and tessellating shapes all over the walls, ceilings and floors. Typically, Islamic art doesn’t contain images of nature. As such, these pieces transcend a single subject category. They are an embodiment of mathematics, religion and aesthetic design. The Alhambra has striking artistic and architectural features such as horseshoe arches, arabesques and calligraphy. The Hall of Abencerrajes has a domed ceiling with 5000 cells of “honeycomb” vaulting. This magnificent golden ceiling is lit by sixteen skyward windows and the name of the hall is derived from a legend according to which the father of Boabdil, the last sultan of Granada, invited his chiefs to a banquet then massacred them here. However, if the serenity of the palace is anything to go by, it’s probably just a legend! The exterior reflecting pools are used to mirror the palace and effectively double its grandeur.
A photographer’s favorite, the Court of Lions, sits to the East and features 124 irregularly-placed white marble columns and an alabaster fountain supported by twelve lions. The Alhambra is a uniquely spiritual place and is as beautiful as it is culturally significant.
For equally unique accommodation on the doorstep of the magnificent palace, look no further than El Ladron de Agua – our award-winning Arts Hotel.
How To Buy Your Alhambra Tickets
If you want to visit the Alhambra and you are planing to stay with us for two or more days, we recommend you to purchase the GRANADA - CARD. This ticket gives you the option to visit the Alhambra as well as the Monastery of the Cartuja, the Monastery of San Jerónimo, la Casa de Zafra and the Parque de las Ciencias. If it is high season (months of April, May, September and October) tickets for the Alhambra will be very requested and if you do not make reservations in advance you may have difficulty to visit it. In case tickets are complete to visit the Nasrid Palaces, you can purchase other modalities of the GRANADA - CARD:
- Night Alhambra ticket: Night visit just to the Nasrid Palaces. Monastery of San Jerónimo, the Sacromonte Abbey, the Zafra House and the Science Park are also included in this ticket.
- Generalife ticket: Includes the visit to the Alhambra gardens, the Cathedral & Royal Chapel, the Sacromonte Abbey, the Zafra House and the Parque de las Ciencias.
- Alhambra experiences ticket: Night visit to the Nasrid Palaces and the day after you will visit Generalife gardens and the Alcazaba. You can also visit the Monastery of La Cartuja, the Abadía del Sacromonte, the Casa de Zafra and the Parque de las Ciencias.