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Alhambra and Generalife (Spain)

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Alhambra and Generalife, {CATEGORY}

This masterpiece of Moorish architecture is simply the most wonderful and inspiring set of buildings in Spain. It's consequently the country's most visited historic sight. The complex is made up of three parts: a fortress ( Alcazaba ), royal palaces (Alhambra) and a summer palace with luxuriant gardens ( Generalife ). The buildings date mainly from the 13th and 14th centuries, after the Arabic Nasrid prince, Ibn al-Ahmar, made Granada an independent Moorish state. Each succeeding Nasrid ruler continued to beautify the royal palaces, combining wood, plaster, marble, brick and ceramic tiles with water, light and Arabic calligraphy. You can buy tickets on the day at the entrance or from the main Granada branch of BBVA bank in Plaza Isabel la Católica. Please check for open hours as they are seasonal.

Practical Information

Address: Calle de Real de Alhambra, Granada, AN 18009

City: Granada

Country: Spain

Phone 1: +34 902 44 1221

Official site: www.alhambra-patronato.es

Opening hours: Mar-Oct daily 8:30am-8pm

Entrance fee: Comprehensive ticket, including Alhambra and Generalife, 10€ (US$16), Museo Bellas Artes 1.50€ ($2.40), Museo de la Alhambra 1.50€ ($2.40), garden visits 5€ ($8), illuminated visits 10€ ($16)

Access by bus: Bus 30 or 32

Hotels nearby

257 yd - Hotel America

The Hotel America is located in Granada making it one of the best hotels to stay at while in town.The Hotel America boasts a convenient location with modern amenities in every guestroom and superb serRead morevice.Each guestroom has non smoking rooms, air conditioning, bathtub, shower, separate shower and tub.The basic amenities provided at this Granada accommodation comprise shops, bar/pub, restaurant, safety deposit boxes, disabled facilities.Hotel's guests can experience on-site latest leisure and sports facilities such as garden.These top-class facilities are complemented to excellent services to meet the needs of visitors to Granada. To make a reservation at the Hotel America Granada with our secure online booking form, please choose your preffered period of stay.Hide

259 yd - White Nest Hostel

The White Nest Hostel is located in Granada making it one of the best hotels to stay at while in town.The White Nest Hostel boasts a convenient location with modern amenities in every guestroom and suRead moreperb service.All of the guestrooms are replete with non smoking rooms, hair dryer, ironing board, shower, separate shower and tub, microwave, kitchenette.This Granada accommodation contains all of the facilities and conveniences you would expect from a hotel in its class.These top-class facilities are complemented to excellent services to meet the needs of visitors to Granada. Make your reservation at the White Nest Hostel Granada now by selecting your chosen dates of stay and submitting our secure online booking form.Hide

269 yd - Apartamentos Gomerez 39

Apartamentos Gomerez 39. Apart-hotel "Apartamentos Gomerez 39" has 3 stars. The hotel can be found in Grenade. Warm weather is kept outside the rooms thanks to the air conditioning. Dinner can be servRead moreed in the residence as there is a modern onsite restaurant. Business travelers will appreciate the free of charge Internet access.Hide

271 yd - Apartamentos Turísticos Vista Alhambra

With its central location, Apartamentos Turisticos Vista Alhambra is within easy reach of most tourist attractions and business addresses in Granada.The Apartamentos Turisticos Vista Alhambra boasts aRead more convenient location with modern amenities in every guestroom and superb service.The hotel provides a warm and welcoming service of international standard.Please complete our secure online booking form by entering your period of stay.Hide

283 yd - Paseo de los Tristes

The Paseo De Los Tristes Hotel is perfectly located for both business and leisure guests to Granada.All hotel's guestrooms have all the conveniences expected in a hotel in its class to suit guests' utRead moremost comforts.Each guestroom is tastefully appointed with non smoking rooms, air conditioning, ironing board, bathtub, separate shower and tub.Guests can experience the high standards of comfort while staying at this luxury Granada hotel with everything they need right on the site such as business center, pets allowed. Along with its convenient location in Granada, the hotel also offers a wide range of services and facilities to the guests.Please complete our secure online booking form by entering your period of stay.Hide

Customer reviews

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Alhambra and Generalife, {CATEGORY}

One of Europe's greatest attractions, the stunningly beautiful and celebrated Calat Alhambra (Red Castle) is perhaps the most remarkable fortress ever constructed. Muslim architecture in Spain reached its apogee at this pleasure palace once occupied by Nasrid princes and their harems. Although later Moorish occupants turned the Alhambra into a lavish palace, it was originally constructed for defensive purposes on a rocky hilltop outcropping above the Darro River. The modern city of Granada was built across the river from the Alhambra, about .8km (1/2 mile) from its western foundations. When you first see the Alhambra, its somewhat somber exterior may surprise you. The true delights of this Moorish palace are within. Tickets are sold in the office at the Entrada del Generalife y de la Alhambra. Enter through the incongruous 14th-century Puerta de la Justicia (Gateway of Justice). Most visitors don't need an expensive guide but will be content to stroll through the richly ornamented open-air rooms, with their lacelike walls and courtyards with fountains. Many of the Arabic inscriptions translate to "Only Allah is conquero". The tour begins in the Mexuar, also known as Palacio Nazaríes (Palace of the Nasrids), which is the first of the trio of palaces that compose the Alhambra. This was the main council chamber where the sultan's chief ministers met. The largest of these chambers was the Hall of the Mexuar, which Spanish rulers converted to a Catholic chapel in the 1600s. From this chapel a panoramic view spreads over the rooftops of the Albaicín. Pass through another chamber of the sultan's ministers, the Cuarto Dorado (Golden Room), and you'll find yourself in the small but beautiful Patio del Mexuar. Constructed in 1365, this is where the sultan sat on giant cushions and listened to the petitions of his subjects or met privately with his chief ministers. The windows here are surrounded by panels and richly decorated with tiles and stucco. The Palace of the Nasrids, Mexuar, was constructed around two courtyards, the Patio de los Arrayanes (Court of the Myrtles) and the Patio de los Leonares (Court of the Lions). The latter was the royal residence. The Court of the Myrtles contains a narrow reflecting pool banked by myrtle trees. Note the decorative and rather rare tiles, which are arguably the finest in the Alhambra. Behind it is the Salón de Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors), with an elaborately carved throne room that was built between 1334 and 1354. The crowning cedar wood dome of this salon evokes the seven heavens of the Muslim cosmos. Here bay windows open onto panoramic vistas of the enveloping countryside. An opening off the Court of the Myrtles leads to the greatest architectural achievement of the Alhambra, the Patio de los Leonares (Court of Lions), constructed by Muhammad V. At its center is Andalusia's finest fountain, which rests on 12 marble lions. These marble lions represent the hours of the day, the months of the year, and the signs of the zodiac. Legend claims that water flowed from the mouth of a different lion each hour of the day. This courtyard is lined with arcades supported by 124 (count them) slender marble columns. This was the heart of the palace, the most private section where the sultan enjoyed his harem, which included both male and female beauties. At the back of the Leones courtyard is the Sala de los Abencerrajes, named for a noble family who were rivals of the last emir, Boabdil. This hall has a richly adorned honeycombed ceiling. To get rid of his rivals, Boabdil invited them to a banquet. In the middle of the banquet, his guards entered and massacred his guests. Opening onto the Court of Lions are other salons of intrigue, notably the Hall of the Two Sisters (Sala de las Dos Hermanas), where the sultan kept his "favorite" of the moment. The Hall of the Two Sisters takes its name from the two large identical white marble slabs in the pavement. Boabdil's stern, unforgiving mother, Ayesha, once inhabited the Hall of the Two Sisters. This salon has a honeycomb dome and is celebrated as the finest example of Spanish Islamic architecture in the world. The nearby Sala de los Reyes (Hall of Kings) was the great banqueting hall of the Alhambra, site of parties, orgies, and feasts. Its ceiling paintings are on leather and date from the 1300s. Eunuchs guarded the harem but not always well. According to legend, one sultan beheaded 36 Moorish princes here because one of them was suspected of being intimate with his favorite. A gallery leads to the Patio de la Reja (Court of the Window Grille). This is where Washington Irving lived in furnished rooms and where he began to write his famous book Tales of the Alhambra. The best-known tale is the legend of Zayda, Zorayda, and Zorahayda, the three beautiful princesses who fell in love with three captured Spanish soldiers outside the Torre de las Infantas. Irving credits the French with saving the Alhambra for posterity, but in fact they were responsible for blowing up seven of the towers in 1812, and it was a Spanish soldier who cut the fuse before more damage could be done. When the duke of Wellington arrived a few years later, he chased out the chickens, the Gypsies, and the transient beggars who were using the Alhambra as a tenement and set up housekeeping here himself. Before going on to the Emperor Charles V's palace, there are some other gems around the Court of Lions, including the Baños Reales (Royal Baths), with their lavish decorations in many colors. Light enters through star-shaped apertures. To the immediate east of the baths is the Daraxa Garden, and to its immediate south the lovely and resplendent Mirador de Daraxa, the sultana's private balcony onto Granada. To the immediate southeast of these attractions are the Jardines del Partal and their perimeter towers. The beautiful gardens occupy a space that once was the kitchen garden, filled with milling servants preparing the sultan's banquets. These gardens are dominated by the Torre de Las Damas (Ladies' Tower). This tower and its pavilion, with its five-arched portico, are all that is left of the once-famous Palacio del Partal, the oldest palace at the Alhambra. Of less interest are the perimeter towers, including the Mihrab Tower, a former Nasrid oratory, the Torre de las Infantas (Tower of the Princesses) and Torre de la Cautiva (Tower of the Captive). Like the Damas tower, these towers were also once sumptuously decorated inside, today only some decoration remains. Finally you can move to the immediate southwest to visit Emperor Charles V's Palace (Palacio de Carlos V), where the Holy Roman emperor lived. Charles may have been horrified when he saw a cathedral placed in the middle of the great mosque at Córdoba, but he's also responsible for some architectural confusion in Granada. He literally built a Renaissance palace in the middle of this Moorish stronghold. It's quite beautiful, but terribly out of place in such a setting - Charles V did not consider the Nasrid palaces grand enough. In 1526 he ordered Pedro Machuca, a student of Michelangelo, to design him a fitting royal residence. He financed the palace by levying a tax on the Muslims. In spite of its incongruous location, the final result is one of the purest examples of classical Renaissance in Spain. The square exterior opens to reveal a magnificent circular two-story courtyard that is open to the sky. Inside the palace are two museums. The first, Museo de la Alhambra (tel. 85-822-62-70), is a museum of Hispano-Muslim Art, its salons opening onto the Myrtle and Mexuar Courts. They display artifacts retrieved from the Alcázar, including fragments of sculpture, but also unusual braziers and even perfume burners used in the harems. The most outstanding exhibit is a blue amphora that is 132 centimeters (52 in). high. This precious object stood for years in the Hall of the Two Sisters. Also look for an ablutions basin dating from the 10th century and adorned with lions chasing stags and an ibex. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 7:15pm and Sunday from 9am to 5:45pm. The palace also houses the Museo Bellas Artes en la Alhambra (tel. 95-822-48-43), open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 8pm, Sunday from 9am to noon. Of minor interest, it displays mostly religious paintings and sculpture from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Before leaving the Alhambra precincts, try to see the Alcazaba, which dates from the 9th century and is the oldest part of the complex. This rugged Middle Ages fortress was built for defensive purposes. For a spectacular view, climb the Torre de la Vela (Watchtower). You look into the lower town onto Plaza Nueva, and you can also see the snowcapped Sierra Nevada in the distance. From the tower you can also view the Generalife, the "Gypsy hill" of Sacromonte. Exit from the Alhambra via the Puerta de la Justicia and then circumnavigate the Alhambra's southern foundations until you reach the gardens of the summer palace, where Paseo de los Cipreses quickly leads you to the main building of the Generalife, built in the 13th century to overlook the Alhambra and set on 30 lush hectares (75 acres). The sultans used to spend their summers in this palace (pronounced "heh-neh-rah-lee-feh"), safely locked away with their harems. Don't expect an Alhambra in miniature: The Generalife was always meant to be a retreat, even from the splendors of the Alhambra. North of the Alhambra, this country estate of the Nasrid emirs was begun in the 13th century, but the palace and gardens have been much altered over the years. The palace is mainly noted for its beautiful courtyards, including Patio de Polo, where the visitors of yore would arrive on horseback. The highlight of the Generalife is its gardens, begun in the 13th century but much modified over the years. Originally, they contained orchards and pastures for domestic animals. Highlights include Escalera del Agua (the Water Staircase) with water flowing gently down. An enclosed Oriental garden, Patio de la Acequía, was constructed around a long pool, with rows of water jets making graceful arches above it. The Patio de la Sultana (also called the Patio de los Cipreses) was the secret rendezvous point for Zoraxda, wife of Sultan Abu Hasan, and her lover, the chief of the Abencerrajes.

Alhambra and Generalife, {CATEGORY}

One of Europe's greatest attractions, the stunningly beautiful and celebrated Calat Alhambra (Red Castle) is perhaps the most remarkable fortress ever constructed. Muslim architecture in Spain reached its apogee at this pleasure palace once occupied by Nasrid princes and their harems. Although later Moorish occupants turned the Alhambra into a lavish palace, it was originally constructed for defensive purposes on a rocky hilltop outcropping above the Darro River. The modern city of Granada was built across the river from the Alhambra, about .8km (1/2 mile) from its western foundations. When you first see the Alhambra, its somewhat somber exterior may surprise you. The true delights of this Moorish palace are within. Tickets are sold in the office at the Entrada del Generalife y de la Alhambra. Enter through the incongruous 14th-century Puerta de la Justicia (Gateway of Justice). Most visitors don't need an expensive guide but will be content to stroll through the richly ornamented open-air rooms, with their lacelike walls and courtyards with fountains. Many of the Arabic inscriptions translate to "Only Allah is conquero". The tour begins in the Mexuar, also known as Palacio Nazaríes (Palace of the Nasrids), which is the first of the trio of palaces that compose the Alhambra. This was the main council chamber where the sultan's chief ministers met. The largest of these chambers was the Hall of the Mexuar, which Spanish rulers converted to a Catholic chapel in the 1600s. From this chapel a panoramic view spreads over the rooftops of the Albaicín. Pass through another chamber of the sultan's ministers, the Cuarto Dorado (Golden Room), and you'll find yourself in the small but beautiful Patio del Mexuar. Constructed in 1365, this is where the sultan sat on giant cushions and listened to the petitions of his subjects or met privately with his chief ministers. The windows here are surrounded by panels and richly decorated with tiles and stucco. The Palace of the Nasrids, Mexuar, was constructed around two courtyards, the Patio de los Arrayanes (Court of the Myrtles) and the Patio de los Leonares (Court of the Lions). The latter was the royal residence. The Court of the Myrtles contains a narrow reflecting pool banked by myrtle trees. Note the decorative and rather rare tiles, which are arguably the finest in the Alhambra. Behind it is the Salón de Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors), with an elaborately carved throne room that was built between 1334 and 1354. The crowning cedar wood dome of this salon evokes the seven heavens of the Muslim cosmos. Here bay windows open onto panoramic vistas of the enveloping countryside. An opening off the Court of the Myrtles leads to the greatest architectural achievement of the Alhambra, the Patio de los Leonares (Court of Lions), constructed by Muhammad V. At its center is Andalusia's finest fountain, which rests on 12 marble lions. These marble lions represent the hours of the day, the months of the year, and the signs of the zodiac. Legend claims that water flowed from the mouth of a different lion each hour of the day. This courtyard is lined with arcades supported by 124 (count them) slender marble columns. This was the heart of the palace, the most private section where the sultan enjoyed his harem, which included both male and female beauties. At the back of the Leones courtyard is the Sala de los Abencerrajes, named for a noble family who were rivals of the last emir, Boabdil. This hall has a richly adorned honeycombed ceiling. To get rid of his rivals, Boabdil invited them to a banquet. In the middle of the banquet, his guards entered and massacred his guests. Opening onto the Court of Lions are other salons of intrigue, notably the Hall of the Two Sisters (Sala de las Dos Hermanas), where the sultan kept his "favorite" of the moment. The Hall of the Two Sisters takes its name from the two large identical white marble slabs in the pavement. Boabdil's stern, unforgiving mother, Ayesha, once inhabited the Hall of the Two Sisters. This salon has a honeycomb dome and is celebrated as the finest example of Spanish Islamic architecture in the world. The nearby Sala de los Reyes (Hall of Kings) was the great banqueting hall of the Alhambra, site of parties, orgies, and feasts. Its ceiling paintings are on leather and date from the 1300s. Eunuchs guarded the harem but not always well. According to legend, one sultan beheaded 36 Moorish princes here because one of them was suspected of being intimate with his favorite. A gallery leads to the Patio de la Reja (Court of the Window Grille). This is where Washington Irving lived in furnished rooms and where he began to write his famous book Tales of the Alhambra. The best-known tale is the legend of Zayda, Zorayda, and Zorahayda, the three beautiful princesses who fell in love with three captured Spanish soldiers outside the Torre de las Infantas. Irving credits the French with saving the Alhambra for posterity, but in fact they were responsible for blowing up seven of the towers in 1812, and it was a Spanish soldier who cut the fuse before more damage could be done. When the duke of Wellington arrived a few years later, he chased out the chickens, the Gypsies, and the transient beggars who were using the Alhambra as a tenement and set up housekeeping here himself. Before going on to the Emperor Charles V's palace, there are some other gems around the Court of Lions, including the Baños Reales (Royal Baths), with their lavish decorations in many colors. Light enters through star-shaped apertures. To the immediate east of the baths is the Daraxa Garden, and to its immediate south the lovely and resplendent Mirador de Daraxa, the sultana's private balcony onto Granada. To the immediate southeast of these attractions are the Jardines del Partal and their perimeter towers. The beautiful gardens occupy a space that once was the kitchen garden, filled with milling servants preparing the sultan's banquets. These gardens are dominated by the Torre de Las Damas (Ladies' Tower). This tower and its pavilion, with its five-arched portico, are all that is left of the once-famous Palacio del Partal, the oldest palace at the Alhambra. Of less interest are the perimeter towers, including the Mihrab Tower, a former Nasrid oratory, the Torre de las Infantas (Tower of the Princesses) and Torre de la Cautiva (Tower of the Captive). Like the Damas tower, these towers were also once sumptuously decorated inside, today only some decoration remains. Finally you can move to the immediate southwest to visit Emperor Charles V's Palace (Palacio de Carlos V), where the Holy Roman emperor lived. Charles may have been horrified when he saw a cathedral placed in the middle of the great mosque at Córdoba, but he's also responsible for some architectural confusion in Granada. He literally built a Renaissance palace in the middle of this Moorish stronghold. It's quite beautiful, but terribly out of place in such a setting - Charles V did not consider the Nasrid palaces grand enough. In 1526 he ordered Pedro Machuca, a student of Michelangelo, to design him a fitting royal residence. He financed the palace by levying a tax on the Muslims. In spite of its incongruous location, the final result is one of the purest examples of classical Renaissance in Spain. The square exterior opens to reveal a magnificent circular two-story courtyard that is open to the sky. Inside the palace are two museums. The first, Museo de la Alhambra (tel. 85-822-62-70), is a museum of Hispano-Muslim Art, its salons opening onto the Myrtle and Mexuar Courts. They display artifacts retrieved from the Alcázar, including fragments of sculpture, but also unusual braziers and even perfume burners used in the harems. The most outstanding exhibit is a blue amphora that is 132 centimeters (52 in). high. This precious object stood for years in the Hall of the Two Sisters. Also look for an ablutions basin dating from the 10th century and adorned with lions chasing stags and an ibex. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 7:15pm and Sunday from 9am to 5:45pm. The palace also houses the Museo Bellas Artes en la Alhambra (tel. 95-822-48-43), open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 8pm, Sunday from 9am to noon. Of minor interest, it displays mostly religious paintings and sculpture from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Before leaving the Alhambra precincts, try to see the Alcazaba, which dates from the 9th century and is the oldest part of the complex. This rugged Middle Ages fortress was built for defensive purposes. For a spectacular view, climb the Torre de la Vela (Watchtower). You look into the lower town onto Plaza Nueva, and you can also see the snowcapped Sierra Nevada in the distance. From the tower you can also view the Generalife, the "Gypsy hill" of Sacromonte. Exit from the Alhambra via the Puerta de la Justicia and then circumnavigate the Alhambra's southern foundations until you reach the gardens of the summer palace, where Paseo de los Cipreses quickly leads you to the main building of the Generalife, built in the 13th century to overlook the Alhambra and set on 30 lush hectares (75 acres). The sultans used to spend their summers in this palace (pronounced "heh-neh-rah-lee-feh"), safely locked away with their harems. Don't expect an Alhambra in miniature: The Generalife was always meant to be a retreat, even from the splendors of the Alhambra. North of the Alhambra, this country estate of the Nasrid emirs was begun in the 13th century, but the palace and gardens have been much altered over the years. The palace is mainly noted for its beautiful courtyards, including Patio de Polo, where the visitors of yore would arrive on horseback. The highlight of the Generalife is its gardens, begun in the 13th century but much modified over the years. Originally, they contained orchards and pastures for domestic animals. Highlights include Escalera del Agua (the Water Staircase) with water flowing gently down. An enclosed Oriental garden, Patio de la Acequía, was constructed around a long pool, with rows of water jets making graceful arches above it. The Patio de la Sultana (also called the Patio de los Cipreses) was the secret rendezvous point for Zoraxda, wife of Sultan Abu Hasan, and her lover, the chief of the Abencerrajes.

Alhambra and Generalife, {CATEGORY}

This masterpiece of Moorish architecture is simply the most wonderful and inspiring set of buildings in Spain. It's consequently the country's most visited historic sight. The complex is made up of three parts: a fortress ( Alcazaba ), royal palaces (Alhambra) and a summer palace with luxuriant gardens ( Generalife ). The buildings date mainly from the 13th and 14th centuries, after the Arabic Nasrid prince, Ibn al-Ahmar, made Granada an independent Moorish state. Each succeeding Nasrid ruler continued to beautify the royal palaces, combining wood, plaster, marble, brick and ceramic tiles with water, light and Arabic calligraphy. You can buy tickets on the day at the entrance or from the main Granada branch of BBVA bank in Plaza Isabel la Católica. Please check for open hours as they are seasonal.

Alhambra and Generalife, {CATEGORY}

This masterpiece of Moorish architecture is simply the most wonderful and inspiring set of buildings in Spain. It's consequently the country's most visited historic sight. The complex is made up of three parts: a fortress ( Alcazaba ), royal palaces (Alhambra) and a summer palace with luxuriant gardens ( Generalife ). The buildings date mainly from the 13th and 14th centuries, after the Arabic Nasrid prince, Ibn al-Ahmar, made Granada an independent Moorish state. Each succeeding Nasrid ruler continued to beautify the royal palaces, combining wood, plaster, marble, brick and ceramic tiles with water, light and Arabic calligraphy. You can buy tickets on the day at the entrance or from the main Granada branch of BBVA bank in Plaza Isabel la Católica. Please check for open hours as they are seasonal.

Activities nearby

Spa and swimming pools
Golf and other sports
UNESCO World Heritage site
Landmark
Museum

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