The Alhambra in Spain is a magnificent palace complex, the best example of Moorish architecture. It includes several palaces, magnificent gardens and fountains. From the Alhambra you can see Granada, the mountains and the distant Albaran Sea.
“Alhambra” translates from Spanish as “Red Castle”. It is located in Spanish Granada, stands on a hill and is built of red stone. All this magnificent architectural masterpiece can be seen from a few kilometers away.
Maps of the Alhambra Castle
The red castle is surrounded by powerful stone walls. Its main entrance is called the Gates of Justice and was built in the middle of the 14th century. Next is the Wine Gate, and only after that is the entrance directly to the palace.
A diagram of the palace in Russian
The Alhambra Castle on a map of Granada
History of the Alhambra
The city of Granada emerged during the Roman Empire, and after the fall of Rome, the territory changed hands several times, until in the 13th century it was conquered by Mahammad ibn Nasr I and formed the Emirate of Granada.
Mahammad made Granada the capital of the emirate and ordered the future residence of the Alhambra to be built there. The great construction began in the 1930s of the 13th century. Thus came the golden age of Granada, which lasted almost 250 years.
In building the Alhambra, the architects adhered to the principles of Moorish, Muslim architecture. Even then, this palace complex was called by contemporaries an earthly paradise, one of the wonders of the world.
The erection of this unique, one-of-a-kind palace complex, surrounded by fortress walls, was carried out on a complex project, the flow of rivers from the mountain was changed, and they began to feed the palace gardens and fountains.
In the center of the Alhambra Palace the Lion and Myrtle Palaces were built, gardens were planted around them, artificial ponds were dug and decorated, several open halls were built, inner patios were organized, etc.
Myrtle’s courtyard still has an extremely luxurious appearance today. It is a true example of the architecture and landscape art of the medieval Arabs. In its center is a large pond surrounded by myrtle trees.
To the north of Myrtle Court is the Comares Palace, where the throne room is located. It has a second name, the House of Ambassadors. The walls of the palace inside are covered with the finest Oriental carvings, and the dome, thanks to the lighting, shimmers with patterns of stars.
Masterful wood carving is one of the well-known signs of Eastern cultures. Particularly beautiful in the palace is the carved cedar ceiling, from which the stalactites descend. The stalactites in the Alhambra are often used as decoration.
The Méchoir is one of the oldest palaces in the Court of Myrtle. After the fall of the Emirate of Granada it was partially destroyed and then converted into a Catholic temple. The original Moorish beauty of the Meshuar has not fully come down to this day.
In Meshuar, the emir held courts, and in the palace of Comares the emir held solemn receptions. In Christian times, some parts of the palaces were rebuilt, but the main hall, the walls of which are decorated with Sunnahs from the Koran, has been preserved.
The Lion’s Court
In the times of emirs, this was the residence of the emir himself, his harem, his children and servants. In the middle of the Lion’s Court there is a most beautiful fountain, an obligatory attribute of all Eastern palaces.
The water of the fountain pours into a large marble bowl, which stands on the backs of 12 stone lions. In creating this masterpiece, the Moorish sculptors compared the fountain to the throne of the Biblical King Solomon.
On the sides of the Lion’s Court are three beautiful palace halls. Their walls are covered with unique majolica, decorated with oriental mosaics, colorful marble, plaster, ceramics and other decorations.
As is customary in Islam, it is dominated by floral and geometric designs, elegantly interwoven with Arabic ligature, subtle multicolored patterns, always a particular delight to the public. Muslims are not allowed to portray people.
Late buildings in the Alhambra
The Emirate of Granada up to the end of the 15th century was considered one of the richest states in modern Spain, but it was the end of Moorish rule on the Iberian Peninsula, and the Alhambra was the last Moorish citadel.
At the end of the 15th century Granada was conquered by Catholic Spain, and the Alhambra Palace became the royal residence. The first Spanish buildings were erected here: the Palace of Charles V and the Church of St. Peter. Mary.
The golden age of the Alhambra is over. The new owners had little interest in Moorish architecture, part of this complex was even blown up during the Bourbon period, and in the 19th century there was a devastating earthquake.
In the early 19th century, a colony of romantics settled in the palace, and Byron, Goethe, Chateaubriand, Irving and others lived and worked here. Thanks to them, the restoration of the palace complex began, and the Alhambra Palace has become a historical and architectural monument.
The architectural features of the Alhambra
The creators of this masterpiece used all the means of fine art to emphasize the maximum luxury and grandeur of the Alhambra. They applied every possible and most expensive decoration of their time.
To the European view, the Alhambra is too pompous a palace, overstuffed with precious decorations. The courtyards, graceful columns, and lancet windows seem to be extremely numerous here.
But the Asian view sees that this exaggerated luxury only demonstrates the greatness and divine origins of the residing emir and his family in the Alhambra. Other eastern architectural masterpieces were built in the same way.
In terms of Islam, stone, vegetation and water are organically intertwined here. Water flows down the marble slabs and accumulates in the artificial reservoirs, nourishing the plants, giving them life.
Everything is arranged correctly and naturally, calculated by Arab scientists, has a geometric shape: ponds, vegetation, perfectly trimmed trees, vertically falling water jets, etc.
Nature in the Alhambra
If you compare the park near the palace, it looks more like a regular French park than a natural English landscape park. It is as if it were artificially made, measured to the line, so it seems from the outside.
And against the backdrop of the Alhambra Park, the palace complex itself, built in Moorish style, looks surprisingly natural. It is like an expensive flower, it delights tourists with its exquisite beauty.
Gardens in Oriental palaces are a must. The emirs of Granada sought to create gardens of paradise, where one could feel harmony and true peace under the floral scents, the murmuring of streams and fountains.
The Alhambra has exterior and carefully planned interior gardens, with many flowerbeds and vases everywhere. Only those closest to the emir had the right to enter the inner gardens.
Alhambra Museum opening hours
During the Low Season from mid-October to mid-March, the museum is open:
- on weekdays from 08:30 to 18:00;
- on weekends from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.
During high season from mid-March to mid-October the museum is open:
- on weekdays from 08:30 to 20:00;
- on weekends from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
How to get to the Alhambra?
Remember that you have to go to the Gate of Justice and from there walk up to the Alhambra palace complex. You can do it by bus, cab or rented car. Just say to the chauffeur: “Puerta de la Justica”.
How much is a ticket to the Alhambra Palace?
There are several ways to buy a ticket for a tour of the Alhambra:
1. Online at the following address:
This is the best way, because, thanks to the Internet, you will save time and be able to buy 10 tickets at once. Remember that tourist access to the palace is limited.
2. Offline at the box office near the palace-museum or by phone +34-934-923-750.
Ticket prices are as follows:
- for adults – €14;
- For children under 12 years old – free of charge;
- For children up to 15 years old – €8;
- for pensioners – €9;
- for the disabled – €8;
- tours of the Alhambra Gardens – €7;
- audio guide in Russian – €6.
All tickets are valid only on the day of purchase, try not to overstay them so as not to lose money. Millions of tourists come to the Alhambra Palace every year, it’s important not to mix things up.