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  • Writer's pictureGraham Swan

The Alhambra Palace

The Alhambra is not just a Palace; it is a castle and a fortress, a royal palace and a town, amazing gardens and a summer retreat. The Alhambra is all of that and much more.

It was built between the XIII and the XIV centuries and was the crown jewel of the Emirate of Granada, whose territories stretched from part of Córdoba, Sevilla, Jaén, Murcia and Cádiz, to the whole of Almería, Málaga and Granada.

Types of Tickets to the Alhambra

From March 1, 2020, there is a new ticket sales system for the Alhambra. The main difference is the increase in the number of tickets available for open sale.

In addition, Alhambra tickets can now be purchased one year in advance, something very appreciated by tourists who like planning their holidays well in advance.

You can also buy them on the same day of your visit (if any tickets left), up to two hours before the allocated time for the entrance to the Nasrid Palaces.

Alhambra tickets are nominative, so you MUST show your national ID (EU nationals) or passport to be granted access to the monument.

The Alhambra offers 6 types of tickets

General Alhambra Entrance, Generalife and Alacazaba, Nasrid Palaces Night Visit, Generalife Night Visit, Alhambra Experience and Combined Visit.

  1. General Alhambra Entrance: 14 euros. This is the most popular entrance and the most complete, includes everything: the Nasrid Palaces, Generalife and Alcazaba.

  2. Generalife Gardens and Alcazaba: 7 euros. This entry includes access to the gardens and palaces of the Generalife, the Partal and its Palace, and the Alcazaba. Does NOT include the Nasrid Palaces.

  3. Night Visit to the Nasrid Palaces: 8 euros. This visit includes only the Nasrid Palaces, does not include the Generalife or the Alcazaba.

  4. Night Visit to Generalife: 5 euros. Includes only the Gardens and Palaces of the Generalife. Does not include the Alcazaba or the Nasrid Palaces.

  5. Alhambra Experience: 14 euros. This is the day visit to Alcazaba, Gardens and Palaces of the Generalife and the night visit to the Nasrid Palaces in two consecutive days. It does not include daytime entrance to the Nasrid Palaces.

  6. Combined Visit Alhambra and Rodriguez-Acosta Foundation: 17 euros. This visit includes the Nasrid Palaces, Generalife, Alcazaba and the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation. It is a General Alhambra Entrance + Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation.

Click Here for more information on how to purchase tickets and where to pick them up

What is the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba and the Generalife Gardens?

What is the Alcazaba?

The Alcazaba is the oldest part of the Alhambra, a fortified military enclosure with towers and surveillance posts where the soldiers lived: the famous Torre de la Vela with stunning views of Granada, Torre Quebrada, Torre del Homenaje, Torre de la Polvora, Torre del Cubo, etc.

What are the Nasrid Palaces?

The Nasrid Palaces was the residence of Sultans of Granada, a set of palaces and courtyards built at different times: Patio de los Leones, Salón del Trono, Patio y Cuarto Dorado, Palacio de Comares, Patio de los Arrayanes, The Mexuar, Court of the Myrtles, the Ambassadors' Room. etc.

What is the Generalife?

The Generalife is country estate with beautiful gardens used by the Sultans of Granada as a place of rest and summer residence.

It includes the Jardines Bajos, Patio del Cipres de la Sultana, Escalera del Agua, Mirador Romántico, Patio de la Acequia, Viewpoint of Ismail, etc.

Alhambra History - the Origin, Construction, and Transformation

The origin of this fantastic Nasrid Palace, one of the greatest masterpieces of Arab art in the world, dates back to a simple fortress built in the ninth century and called 'Alhambra', meaning 'The Red', the colour of the material used in its construction.

Work to transform the fortress into a Palace was undertaken during the Nazari dynasty. It was specifically Muhammad Ibn al-Ahmar, or Muhammad I, who moved his residence from Albaicinto to the neighbouring hill in 1237.

At a time of relative peace with the Christian kingdoms, his grandson Muhammad III (1302-1308) raised the Grand Mosque of the Alhambra. He was deposed and killed, after which followed a series of internal struggles that weakened his power.

During the reign of Yusuf I (1333-1354), work on the construction of the Palace of Comares was continued. His son, Muhammad V (1354-1359), determined the design of the Patio de los Leones and the adjacent rooms, which is considered to have ended the purely Arab style of the buildings in the Alhambra.

On January 2, 1492, Boabdil, delivered the Alhambra and his kingdom to Ferdinand and Isabella, thus ending eight centuries of Arab rule in the Iberian Peninsula.

From that day forward, the transformation of the Palace for the Christian kings was begun.

How to get there?

It is quite easy to get to and well signposted. From the coast just head North to Granada on the A-44 and take the junction 132 turning signposted for Alhambra, then once on the A-395 head towards Sierra Nevada and keep on the left lane when going through the Serallo tunnel. Then turn left at the roundabout and go uphill along Avda de Santa Maria de la Alhambra and then take the road that leads to the cementery (Camino Viejo del Cementerio).

Cars are not allowed to enter the Alhambra complex, but there is a big parking area next to the monument which can be accessed. The price is approximately 2.80 euros/hour.

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