The Alhambra was first mentioned during the reign of Abdullah ibn Muhammad (888-912) when it was referred to as a primitive small red castle where the Arabs sought refuge after being defeated in one of their battles with the Muladies. It was then largely abandoned until the 11th century when it was rebuilt in order to protect a Jewish settlement on the Sabika hill. Major reconstruction, however, was undertaken during the Nasrid dynasty (1212-1492) and it is this that we can see today.
Serious work on the Alhambra began in 1238 under the command of Sultan Muhammad I Ibn Nasr and in only one year, the ramparts had been completed, water had been brought from the river and a water channel built.
Alhambra Queue - For people who have not bought a ticket in advance.
It is a good idea to buy your tickets in advance online or by phone. For more information about how to buy tickets, see this page. The general day ticket is valid for the morning or afternoon and includes entrance to the Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife. This way you have more choice and you will be able to indicate the time you want to enter the Nasrid palaces.
Waiting in the que for the Nasrid Palaces
Make sure you get into the queue for the Nasrid Palaces on time. If you are late they probably won’t let you in !!!!!!!!!
The Alhambra sits on the Sabika hill, 100 metres above Granada. There are four main ways to get to the Alhambra ticket office:
- Walk up the Cuesta Gomerez (pedestrian only – 1,100m from Plaza Nueva)
- Walk up the Cuesta de los Chinos or Cuesta del Rey Chico (pedestrian only – 720m from Paseo de los Tristes)
- Catch the 30, 31 or 34 minibus from anywhere along their routes.
- Drive along the Ronda Sur – the Granada ring road and park in the Alhambra carpark (map).
The best page with information on this subject is granadainfo.com
Click here for
Information on getting to the Alhambra
Useful buses for getting to the Alhambra.
During the reign of the Catholic Monarchs Isabel and Fernando (1492-1516), a lot of the original decorative work was filled in and whitewashed, and paintings and decorations were destroyed. Emperor Carlos V (1516–1556) then totally rebuilt some parts of the palace in the Renaissance style and added the unfinished Carlos V Palace when he decided to take up residence there. Philip V (1700–1746) then decorated the building in a more Italian style for his palace. During the centuries that followed, the Alhambra fell into a state of disrepair, was inhabited by thieves and beggars and then used as a barracks by Napoleon’s troops. Further damage was caused by the retreating French troops to some of the towers and two of the gates (Puerta de los Siete Suelos and Puerta del Agua) in 1812 and an earthquake in 1821. After centuries of neglect and abandonment, the Alhambra was rediscovered in the 19th century by European scholars and travelers and restoration then began in an attempt to restore it to its former glory. Generally speaking, the square towers were built during the Nasrid dynasty and the round ones during the Christian era.
The Alhambra was built for defense purposes and as a city in its own right comprising three parts: the alcazaba (military residential citadel), the alcázar (the palace) and the medina (the city).
boabdil.jpg">The War of Granada (1482-1492) was a series of military campaigns between the Catholic monarchs and the Nasrid dynasty with each side fighting to take control of the Emirate of Granada. These campaigns were not continual and would generally begin in the spring and die out with the arrival of the cold winter weather. The war began when Sultan Muley Hacén refused to pay the annual tax to the Catholic Monarchs in 1481 and seized the fortified town of Zahara, sparking hostilities and a civil war. Boabdil rebelled against his father and took control of Granada with the support of the Abencerrajes, a powerful Granada family. Muley Hacén then recaptured Granada but was successfully deposed by his brother, El Zagal. At this time, Muley Hacén still controlled the Alhambra.
On one of his military expeditions, Boabdil was captured by Christian troops. He was released in 1483 in exchange for the liberation of 400 Christian prisoners, the handing over of 12 thousand pieces of gold and the recognition of Fernando’s authority over Granada. Muley Hacén allied himself with his brother against Boabdil, who was forced to seek asylum with the Catholic Monarchs. Following his father’s death in 1485, Boabdil gained control of the Alhambra with the help of those living in the Albaicín. He was, however, unable to maintain control of the dynasty and Alhama, Ronda, Loja, Malaga, Baza and Almeria were taken by the Catholic monarchs. With the capture of al-Zagal in 1490, it looked like the war would soon be over but Boabdil was unhappy with the terms of his alliance with the Catholic monarchs: while he controlled Granada and the Alpujarras, he felt that the lands he had been promised were effectively being controlled by Castile. Boabdil desperately appealed for foreign aid but none came and the eight-month siege of Granada – the last stronghold of the Nasrid dynasty – began in April 1491. On 25th November 1491 Boabdil surrendered and signed the Treaty of Granada.
The Nasrid dynasty (1232-1492) was established by Muhammad I Ibn Nasr who belonged to the the Arab family ruling Jaen. Extending its borders southwards, the dynasty stretched from Tarifa on the west coast to beyond Almeria on the east. However, it was sandwiched between Christian kingdoms in the north and African sultanates in the south and so its history was marked by alternate agreements with one side over the other in exchange for territorial concessions or heavy taxes. In 1236, Muhammad I joined forces with the Catholic monarch Fernando III to conquer Cordoba in exchange for the city of Granada, which was to rule over Almeria and Malaga. The marriage of the Catholic Monarchs Isabel and Fernando heralded the end of the Nasrid dynasty. The reign of the penultimate king Muley Hacén was marked by constant uprisings and major civil discontent. To complicate matters still further, there was infighting between his wife (Aixa) and his Christian favourite (Zoraya) as to which of their respective sons should be the future heir.
The Alhambra extends over 100,000m2. With its 2000m long wall, 29 towers and 7 gates, it was a city in its own right and entirely independent of the adjacent City of Granada.
The Alhambra is a fortress palace-city that was built and developed over the centuries.
To see some photos of the Alhambra click here
For information about getting tickets for the Alhambra click here
The word Alhambra comes from the Arabic Al-Ḥamra meaning the red one.
Patio de los Arrayanes