The origins for Alhambra started in 889 when the Arabs controlling southern Spain built a small fort on top of a Roman ruins. This fort fell into disrepair because the Arabs owned so much of Spain, Granada was in the middle of the territory and was not terribly strategic. This all started changing in the mid-1200s as the northern Spanish kingdoms started eroding the Arab’s hold and the current walls and palace were built. In 1333, it became a royal palace and the last strong hold of the Arab empire in Spain.
In 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella finished the reconquest of Spain and made Alhambra their royal palace. This of course is also a significant year for the Americas and Christopher Columbus received support from
the king and queen in this palace. The last addition was made by Charles I in 1526. This addition was new palace that is round as a donut on the inside. It had more of an ancient Roman feel to it. After this the whole complex started to fall into disrepair. It was “rediscovered” in the mid-1800s and has become Spain’s most popular attraction.
Alhambra is broken up into four parts and surprisingly has serval places you can get into for free. The first area your ticket gets you into is the Gardens and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with the colors and beauty. I loved the row of pine trees that they shaped into a fortress wall complete with windowed towers. From the Gardens you exit the paid portion and will find the very expensive Parador de Grenada hotel (this was what was in Melek’s dream from years ago, read the last blog for more on this), Charles V’s palace, Turkish baths ruins, and an old church.
The Palace is the second part and you must pass all of the above to get to it. Once there you have to wait in line for your turn inside as Melek mentioned in the last blog.
The third part is the Alcazaba, which is the fortress part of the site. I recommend visiting this before your time slot at the Palace, because it is past the Palace and you end up at the line to get into the Palace. I liked this part of Alhambra, because it was fairly well intact, you can tell it was strictly military, and it offers amazing views of the city below.
By this time, you may be worn out and tempted to call it a day, but I want to urge you to visit the last section called General Life. This is a smaller garden and palace, but in my opinion, it is even better than the Gardens you first passed through. I loved the fountains and flowers and am so glad we saw this section last. It will leave a lasting impression on me for a long time.