Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex built in Islamic architecture, located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. The fortified palace going back to the Moorish rule in Spain is marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moorish poets called Alhambra “a pearl set in Emeralds” and Washington Irving immortalized it in his book, ‘Tales of Alhambra’; noting “How unworthy is my scribbling of the place.”
Alhambra [Arabic, («qa’lat al-Hamra’» Red Castle)] was completed towards the end of the Islamic rule in Spain, in the Emirate of Granada. According to an Arab manuscript, “In 1238 Abdallah ibn al-Ahmar climbed to the place called “the Alhambra” inspected it, laid out the foundations of a castle and left someone in charge of its construction…”.
During the Nasrid Dynasty, Alhambra was built into a palace-city complete, designed to reflect the very beauty of the paradise itself; with magnificent palaces, gardens and an irrigation system which reduced the dependency on rain water. With the Spanish reconquest, Alhambra became the refuge of intellectuals, writers and artists fleeing the war, and became a unique amalgamation of the Moorish culture, and the Islamic, Jewish and Christian art of the era.
Alhambra was surrendered by the last Emir of Granada to the Spanish army in 1492. The Moorish art suffered damage during the alterations in subsequent centuries. By a royal decree in 1872, it was declared a national-artistic monument and restoration work started. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1984.
Like many Medieval complexes, Alhambra has a threefold arrangement, as a Castle, palace and garrison for the staff. The Alcazaba or the Citadal is its oldest part, dating back from 900 AD, of which only the ramparts and towers remain. Visitors can access the Alhambra park from the Puerta de las Granadas (Gate of Pomegranates), a victory arch, and from a steep flight of stairs to the Puerta de la Justicia (Gate of Justice), the main entrance. A passage leads to the Plaza de los Aljibes (Place of the Cisterns), an open space dividing the Alcazaba from the Moorish palace. To the left, lies the Torre del Vino (Wine Tower), built in 1345 and used as a wine cellar. On the right is the palace of Charles V, a small building from the Renaissance era. The buildings and monuments are as follows:
- Royal Complex
- Court of the Myrtles
- Hall of the Ambassadors (Salón de los Embajadores)
- Court of the Lions (Patio de los Leones)
- Hall of the Abencerrajes (Sala de los Abencerrajes)
- Generalife (Palacio de Generalife)
- Hall of Justice (Patio del Mexuar)
- Court of the Vestibule (Patio de Daraxa)
Tickets to the Alhambra are strictly limited, so booking in advance is highly recommended.
|Timing||9:30 AM. to 8:30 PM|
|Night Timing||Nov to Feb||8:00 PM to 9:30 PM|
|Rest of the Year||10:00 PM to 11:30 PM|
|Entrance Fee||Normal (Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife gardens)||12 €|
|Gardens only (excluding Nasrid Palaces or the Patio de la Acequia)||6 €|
Photo Courtesy – wikipedia
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