Quick Guide to the Alhambra Palace, Granada
For a memorable day out make the trip to Alhambra Palace. Located just outside of Granada, it's roughly two hours away from Alfaix, but certainly worth the drive.
What is the Alhambra Palace?
This magnificent Moorish palace is part of Granada's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest Moorish palace in Spain and an incredible sight to behold, perched high atop a hill. It was built as a fortress and includes many buildings and gardens. It's surrounded by ramparts which, along with the strategic positioning, suggest a military history. Though it is evident there were buildings and residents on site from the 9th century, the oldest remaining areas of the current structure date from the 13th century when Mohammed I began restorations. Throughout the following century the complex was re-established as a royal residence and much of the building work and renovations that took place during Yusuf I and Mohammed V's reign in the 14th century make up a large proportion of what you can still see here today.
History and influences
The Alhambra was the residence of Moorish royalty from the arrival of Mohammed I in the 13th century to the Christian conquest in the 1490s when it became Court to the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella.
Throughout the buildings a clear Moorish style is apparent in the architecture, for example, in the horseshoe arches, and the Almohad sebka details (a style of brick pattern). But with the Catholic rule came certain changes and by the 16th century Charles V had commissioned a new Renaissance palace. It is a large, square building that contains an inner circular patio, and has an exterior that is typically Renaissance in appearance. Quite different from the earlier buildings. As you wander the rooms and buildings of this large complex you'll see a great range of stylistic details that illustrate the palace's interesting history, and tell the story of its many different inhabitants.
What to see and do
There's lots to see: the Generalife is one of the outlying buildings and was once the summer palace; The Royal complex consists of three main areas which were all used for different purposes; the beautiful Court of the Lions is the large, main courtyard, surrounded by a low gallery and with the stunning lion fountain at its centre. These are just three of the many areas to discover, and entrance to the palace works on a time system, so you will probably be moving from section to section with other guests.
Due to the popularity of the Alhambra, it is best to buy your tickets in advance. There are a number of options: you can get garden-only tickets if you'd prefer to stay outside. You can visit the entire complex or, if you fancy a visit with a difference, you can get evening tickets for either the palace or gardens.
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