Alhambra, Granada Andalusia, Spain
Lucas Vallecillos/© Lucas Vallecillos
A visit to Granada, Spain isn’t complete without a stop at the Alhambra. The Moorish architecture, robust gardens, and stunning views of Granada combine to make a truly memorable experience. Start your day with a tour of the Generalife Gardens. Take it slow to fully enjoy the blooming flowers and stunning water features at every turn. Make sure to pre-book your tickets to the Alhambra or you may miss out on a visit to the breathtaking Nasrid Palace portion. Tickets are easily purchased through the official Ticketmaster site, where you are able to schedule a morning or afternoon time slot. If you are unable to secure a ticket to The Nasrid Palace you can still purchase a pass to the Generalife Gardens and Alcazaba Fortress, and it’s well worth the time and money.
A Glimpse From An Arched Alhambra Window
In Granada in Andalucia, the south of Spain, the Alhambra was built on a hill overlooking the city about 889. Originally built as a fortress to protect the city below, it was converted to a palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, the sultan of Granada. In 1492, the monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella took Granada back from the Moors and made the Alhambra a palace for Castile and Aragon. The intricate designs and stonework leave you pondering the amazing skill of the Muslim stonemasons. There are many Arabic inscriptions and tiled, panel walls. There are colorful mosaics. Carved fountains bubble and flow into ponds and waterways. The ceilings are decorated in detailed carvings. I wandered around filled with a sense of wonder and amazement. This tour felt like a living history lesson. The photo shows the countryside in Granada looking out one of the intricate, ornate arched windows of the Alhambra. I had to go back after a few days to investigate some more. I was rewarded with more beauty as I spent time in the peaceful and beautiful gardens of the Alhambra. You will be very impressed with the stunning Alhambra. If in Granada, this is definitely on “the list.”
A Fortress and a Palace
While traveling in Spain, we decided to visit Grenada One of our tours was the historic Alhambra,the amazingly beautiful 9th century fortress. The Alhambra is on a hill that overlooks the city of Grenada. It was originally an Islamic fortress and in the 13th century it became the royal residence. The interior and exterior have intricate Arabic designs in geometric patterns, columns, arches, and painted tiles. The colors of red, blue, and yellow were used. My favorite site was the Patio of the Lions which was the area of the private rooms of the royal family.There were awesome designs in the rooms. The fountain was large and had an alabaster bowl surrounded by twelve marble lions that spewed water from their mouths. The off-white columns and arches in the rooms and the courtyard looked like lace and were gorgeous and impressive. The Generalife (14th century) is one of the buildings connected to the Alhambra. Also check out the Baths, and the Justice Gate -the original entrance gate to the Alhambra. We were in the Alhambra for 3 hours. This tour was definitely an historic and important attraction in Spain. The history of the Muslim rule, and then Spanish rule (Ferdinand and Isabella) from 1492 (when they chased out the Muslims), is part of the rich history of Spain and Grenada. Tickets can be bought at the Alhambra or the Caixa Bank. Or ask your Travel Agent to see about it. For info: www.andalucia.com/cities/granada.alhamhistory.htm
At the Alhambra, Always Look Up!
Esthetically speaking, there are not many architectural wonders in the world that could compare to the Alhambra. Every inch of the Nasrid Palace there are examples of intricate, nature-inspired arabesques; painstakingly exact stone, wood and marble craftsmanship; delicate geometric gridding; and beautifully adorned alabaster stalactites. This image is an example of the intricacies that make the Alhambra so remarkable. These arches hover above one of the numerous entryways leading into the famed Patio de los Leones. There is seemingly no end to the details that cover every wall, ceiling, door and window of this celebrated place. The palace is a labyrinth of grand rooms and courtyards, fountains, waterways and pristine, koi-filled reflecting pools. This trip I had more time to let my eyes wander in reverence over the delicate artistry above. What makes this place so impressive is how many people, how many years, and how much dedication it took to complete such a durable masterpiece. Of all the images I have of my time at the Alhambra, this close-up is the only one that comes close to doing these works of art any justice. In truth, you just have to see it for yourself. For inormation on tours, schedules, pricing go to: www.alhambradegranada.org/en/
Alhambra by Mist
Visiting Spain in February, we had less a chance of visiting the Alhambra (or any site for that matter) in post-card-sunny weather. Overcast when we started, the weather had turned to sprinkles and finally a heavy mist by the time we reached the Generalife Gardens, where I took this shot of the Alhambra and the city of Granada in the background. When I think about it, though, I probably prefer pictures I’m less likely to find on a post card...
Alhambra's Court of the Myrtles
It’s kind of a procedure to get to the Alhambra what with the advance tickets and the steep hill to climb, but the views make it all worthwhile. The Alhambra palace complex features a mind boggling array of artistic techniques in plaster, stone and wood reflected in pools of still water and overlooking vast gardens of frothy greenery. Arab rulers in the 14th century had it going on.
For over forty years I have wanted to see the Alhambra in Granada. Finally, arriving in Granada late in the afternoon.....there it was, perched on its strategic hillside glowing in the setting sun. The next day I would see the wonders inside, but to walk the streets of the Albaycin and catch glimpses of it fading in the light was marvelous.
Incredible Moorish Architechture
No visit to Andalusia is complete without a trip to the Alhambra and Generalife. This stunning palace complex and gardens could take a lifetime to explore fully. Every room is dripping with decoration and covered with meticulous carvings. This particular corridor opens onto the Patio de los Leones (Court of the Lions). The Alhambra can be packed with visitors during peak times, so it’s best to visit during the off-season and early in the morning to avoid the worst of the crowds. Whenever you visit, remember to take time to look up, as many of the most impressive decorations are on the ceilings above you.
Sunset View for the Ages in Granada
The view from the Alcazabra fortress of the architectural masterpiece of the Alhambra in Granada, is one to behold. Construction on this gem began in the 11th century on the hill known as the Assabika, that overlooks the town below. I highly recommend the night visit to the palace and be sure to secure your tickets online in advance.
Night Tour Magic at the Alhambra
The night tour of the palace is phenomenal. Less people, no flash photography and all the sounds (of the footsteps and the fountains) are heightened. When I went back to see the rest of the grounds the next day, during sunlight hours, I was somehow less impressed. It’s just that the night visit was so special and such an intimate connection to one of the world’s wonders, it made it hard to beat. There are two kinds of night visits, the night visit around the palaces and the night visit around the gardens. Since each visit happens at the same time, you’ll have to choose which one interests you the most (both are beautiful when illuminated at night, but there is just something special about the Palacios Nazaries at night. I bought my tickets several weeks in advance, since I’d read in many a guide book that same day tickets are usually never available. The average daily visitor count here is between 6,000 and 7,000 people. Since this is Spain, you can start your visit as late as 11:30 PM and have time to slowly walk through, enjoying every second.
UNESCO: Al Hambra at day time
The UNESCO buildings in Andalusia are filled with a magic of time for some of them and a high mathematical expression for the others. The walls are filled with calligraphy, which reads, there is no one victorious other than God.! For online tickets and tours follow the link http://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/
Stand in Awe of La Alhambra
Here is the palace and fortress complex that is Alhambra, one of Spain’s great national treasures and an homage to what the hands of man can do. From the moment you ascend the steep hill leading to the entrance, you are already enchanted with the view, the grandeur, and the enormity. You can choose several types of tours: daytime, gardens, nighttime, and even the private option. Tickets are sold (mostly) only in advance, and the number is limited, so make sure you buy them online or at a La Caixa ATM before trying to visit. Heads up: There are people at the entrance who will attempt to sell you tickets they can’t use because they have a “family emergency.” These are almost always scam artists! Photo by Julian Rejas de Castro/Flickr.