Granada's Alhambra Palace is the oldest, the most impressive and the best preserved Arabic palace in the world. Situated on the top of a steep hill overlooking the city, with the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada in the background, it is a truly magnificent sight, and it is a lasting legacy to the brilliance and spirit of Moorish culture.
The Albaicín, court of the first Nazarene king, Ibn al-Ahamar, is on the facing hillside and it is separated by the river Darro. In 1238 Alhamar decided to move to the Bermejo Castle, or red fort, as the Alhambra was first known. Bermejo, coming from the Arabic word describing the red clay used to build the castle walls. Ibn al-Ahamar/Alhamar added a huge circuit of walls and towers which provide the first view of the castle. Within the walls he built a palace, which was supplied with running water diverted from the nearby Rio/River Darro. Water is an integral part of the Alhambra and this major engineering feat was Alhamar's greatest contribution. The original system is still in use today.
Abu Hachach Yusuf 1 and his son, Mohamed V were the instigators of the main transformation and construction taking place in the X1V century, and it is still in existance today. The complex of towers, walls, palaces and gardens was adapted to the structure of the land and it was inspired by the finest oriental spirit making it the most sensual, exciting and romantic monument in Europe. After the Christian conquest in 1492 Fernando and Isabel lived there for some time and it continued to be the royal palace, undergoing further construction and transformation.
The "Jardines del Generalife" dominate the Alhambra complex. "Generalife" meaning raised, or divine garden, or 'garden of the architect Genna-Alarif'. There are splendid views of the city and La Vega/plains. The Andalusian composer, Falla, describes the peace and sensitivity of the gardens in his work "Nights in the Spanish Gardens". During June and July productions for the International Music and Dance Festival are performed on this natural stage. Other concerts are held throughout the year.
The Festival starts on 24th June and events continue until 14th July. For more information telephone +34 958 221 844 or
Fax: 958 220 691 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To visit the Festival website click here.
The overwhelming number of visitors to the Alhambra has made it necessary to book tickets during the high season to be sure of gaining entrance. To book on line this website is in English:
It appears that they are now offering complete guided tours via this site and also tours of Granada itself. If you prefer to obtain just tickets to visit the monument telephone: +34 958 926 031.
Tickets can be booked up to twelve months in advance.
To obtain further information concerning opening times and admission prices of other public buildings in Granada click here.
For help in finding your way around Granada click here to view an interactive map of the city.
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The Alhambra Palace
Semana Santa (Holy Week)