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Alhambra - An Overrated Moor Castle and Fortress

Join us for a visit to the best know Moorish fortress in Spain. You might wish to visit should you happen to be in Granada, if not, hmm....

The Alhambra is probably the most famous Moorish palace and fortress in Spain. Located in Granada in the Spanish province of Andalusia, it is probably the best known monument of Islamic architecture and one of the best preserved palaces of the historic Islamic world.

The first Nasrid emir Muhammad I Ibn al-Ahmar started building the fortress on the Sabika hill in 1238. Since then all later rules have added their fingerprint to the fortress. The most significant construction took place in the 14th century during the reigns of Yusuf I and Muhammad V. After the Christians took the fortress in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (who gave Columbus the royal endorsement for his expedition). The current Renaissance palace opposite of the Nasrid palace was commissioned In 1526 but it was left uncompleted in the early 17th century. It fell into disrepair for centuries, with its buildings occupied by squatters.

Eventually, following the defeat of Napoleon, Alhambra was rediscovered and it has since been one of the first Islamic monuments under modern scientific study and the subject of numerous restorations since the 19th century.

We recommend beginning the tour with the gardens of sultans’ summer residence, the Generalife. Then check the Nasrid palaces and end up at the Lions Courtyard and its sonorous fountain, which is truly one of the most famous in the world.

In the summer in particular, there are huge queues everywhere so you might wish to book a ticket on advance which is allowed up to 3 months in advance.

If you are in a wheelchair or come pushing a pram with kids, forget Alhambra. There are heaps of stairs and uneven surfaces that make it difficult to move even for the most apt traveller, let alone those with issues. There is a modified shorter itinerary in the Nordic palaces and Generalife for visitors with disabilities but we are really not sure whether it is worth it. Generally speaking, Alhambra may be one of the main major tourist attractions in Spain and a Unesco World Heritage Site and the views from the hill are fantastic but we would argue that it is not worth travelling there unless you happen to be in Granada already. You'd see more interesting stuff checking the other Moorish treasures in Spain, such as the Moorish Alcazar of Cordoba, Segovia or Seville…

There are vending machines with food and drink around but you might wish to go back to Granada for a proper post-museum drink or meal.

There are three gift and bookshops around, one in the entrance pavilion, another in the Palace of Charles V and the third in the Calle Reyes Católicos, though none is truly worth for anything else but tourists' trivia.

There are loos in four places. The entrance pavillion and the pavilion of services are accessible for the disabled. Those in the Generalife and Sultana’s Court are not.

There is a free parking area with 24/7 surveillance should you come with your car.

C. Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain


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