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PHOTO GALLERY OF THE ALHAMBRA - GRANADA, ANDALUCIA, SPAIN TRAVEL GUIDE

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Alhambra from Albaicin, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
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Tours in Granada
Alhambra Palace and Granada Historical Tour  The perfect way to know in deep the city of Granada, combining the Alhambra tour in the morning and the tour to the historic/artistical centre in the afternoon...more...
Coach Excursion to Granada from Costa del SolCoach Excursion to Granada from Costa del Sol   Enjoy a full day excursion from the Costa del Sol to the ancient city of Granada...more...
Excursion to the region of Alpujarra in the Sierra Nevada Mountains from GranadaExcursion to the region of Alpujarra in the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Granada  This excursion not only includes interesting cultural elements, but is also recommended for who are interested in nature and landscape...more...
Granada A Culinary Discovery  This cooking holiday is based on Andalucian Cuisine. Granada, the historical meeting grounds of Arabic and Western cultures and home of the mythical Alhambra palace, our cooking classes focus on…more...
Granada's Alhambra and Generalife ~ Scheduled Excursions ~ Guided Group TourGranada Alhambra and Generalife Scheduled Group Excursion  Enjoy a half day group excursion from your hotel to visit Granada's Alhambra and Generalife... more...
Granada Alhambra and Generalife Walking Tour  Half-day private walking tour of Granada once "Granada of the Jews", site of Samuel La Nagid's Talmudic Academy. Visit the palace of Alhambra and it's Generalife Gardens…more...
Granada Alhambra Generalife and Albaycin Quarter Walking Tour  Half-day private walking tour of Granada once "Granada of the Jews", site of Samuel La Nagid's Talmudic Academy. Visit the palace of Alhambra and it's Generalife Gardens…more...
Granada Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens From Seville  On this full day excursion from Seville you will be taken on a private guided tour of the Alhambra Palace and its Generalife gardens...more...
Live Flamenco Dancing Performance in the Caves of SacromonteLive Flamenco Dancing Performance in the Cave of La Canastera  A unique opportunity to watch a genuine Flamenco show at its best. Any visit to Granada would not be complete without seeing live authentic Gypsy dancing...more...
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GRANADA AND THE ALHAMBRA - PHOTO GALLERY AND TRAVEL INFORMATION
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Granada and Beyond   by Edward Kirwan

La Alhambra, Jewel of the Spanish Past   by Timothy Tye

La Alhambra, whose name means "The Red" in Arabic, is the most beautiful representation of Moorish architecture in the world. It is a palace and fortress complex on the hills of Sabika, overlooking the city of Granada, in southern Spain. The Alhambra, Generalife and the Medieval Moorish enclave of Albayzín are recognised by Unesco since 1994 as World Heritage Sites. At the time it was built, Alhambra was known as Al-Andalus. Alhambra occupies a hilly terrace on the southeastern edge of Granada. Although it used to be the residence of the Muslim rulers of Granada, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V also built a palace in the Renaissance style and placed it within the Alhambra complex.

The history of the Moors in Spain started in 711 AD, when a Muslim army crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and within a short span of time, much of Spain was under Moorish rule. The founding of the Alhambra can be traced to the late 9th century, when a red castle called Qal'at al Hamra was built in Granada by Arabs retreating from a bloody warfare with the Muladies. This castle was located in Elvira, in present-day Granada. It was left in a dilapidated state for nearly four centuries, until around 1238, when Ibn Nasr, the founder of the Nasrid Dynasty, built the Alhambra that we know of today.

Alhambra, Unesco World Heritage Site, Granada, Andalucia (Andalusia), Spain
Alhambra Seen from Mirador San Nicolas in Albaicin District, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Alhambra, Unesco World Heritage Site, Granada, Andalucia (Andalusia), Spain Photographic Print
Alhambra Seen from Mirador San Nicolas in Albaicin District, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Generalife Gardens, the Alhambra, Granada, Andalucia, Spain, Europe
Alhambra, Unesco World Heritage Site, Granada, Andalucia (Andalusia), Spain
Generalife Gardens, the Alhambra, Granada, Andalucia, Spain,
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Alhambra, Unesco World Heritage Site, Granada, 
Andalucia (Andalusia), Spain 
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Ibn Nasr was fleeing religious persecution from King Ferdinand, who was determined to rid Spain of Moorish control. Ibn Nasr retreated to Granada, and there, he planned out his palace complex. It was to have six palaces - five of which grouped together in a royal living area, two circuit towers, numerous bathhouses. Rather than depending on rainwater as the old castle did, the new Alhambra was irrigated by a canal system that totals 8km in length, allowing for a profusion of fountains and cascades within the complex. The entire design transformed the austere fortress into a sumptuous palace.

At the Alhambra we see the last great burst of Andalusian creativity in art and architecture, standing as a small Moorish enclave within Spain. Detached from mainstream Muslim influences, the artists and artisans of Alhambra perfected their style. Creating works of incredible beauty, from graceful calligraphy to elegant arabesque, they adorned the walls, columns and ceilings of Alhambra.

Patio de la Acequia, Generalife, Alhambra, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Detail of Mosaic in La Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Patio de la Acequia, Generalife, Alhambra, Granada,
Andalucia, Spain
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Detail of Mosaic in La Alhambra, Granada, Spain Photographic Print
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Alhambra from Albaicin, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Alhambra from Albaicin, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Alhambra from Albaicin, Granada, Andalucia - Spain Photographic Print - Elk III, John
Alhambra from Albaicin, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
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The Christian conquest of Granade by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1492 brought an end to Moorish diminion of Alhabra. From then onwards, subsequent wave of non-Muslim rulers injected his own style in altering the palace complex. Charles V (1516-1556) rebuilt portions of it in the Renaissance style. Philip V (1700-1746) italianised some rooms, and put up his palace in the middle of the comples, blocking up sections in the process. In 1812 Count Sebastiani blew up some of the towers. The entire complex barely escaped being totally demolished by Napoleon - a soldier who wanted to save the palace defused the explosives. Neglect, defacement and vandalism added to the sorrows of Alhambra.

The earliest recorded restoration of Alhambra began in 1828, by architect José Contreras, and after his death, continued by his son Rafael.

The Alhambra consists of three different sections which you would explore separately: - Nasrid Palaces - Alcazaba Fortress - Generalife

The Nasrid Palaces

The Nasrid Palaces are the palaces of the Moorish rulers of Alhambra. It is located in the middle portion of the complex. Overwhelming this whole section and rather out-of-place with the surrounding architecture, is the Palace of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, which is of Renaissance style. It's in the Nasrid Palaces section that you find the famous Court of Lions and the Court of Lions Fountain, perhaps the most recognised icon of the Alhambra. It was commissioned by Muhammed V and constructed between 1362 - 1391 AD. The Fountain of the Lions is a most unusual theme for a Muslim palace, as Islamic architecture would forbid representing lifeforms. By the time the lions were built, the Moors in Granada have been cut off from the rest of the Muslim world, and the use of the lions as figurative motifs reflects Castilan influence to Nasrid art. Incidentally, the lions of the fountains were believed to have been carved not by Muslim but rather by Jewish artisans.

Mosaic in La Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Alhambra Palace, Granada, Granada Province, Andalucia, Spain
Mosaic in La Alhambra, Granada, Spain
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Alhambra Palace, Granada, Granada Province, Andalucia, Spain - Buy at AllPosters.com
Alcazaba

The Alcazaba, or citadel, is the original Moorish fortification of Alhambra. It is the oldest section of the fortress and is located on the western end of the complex.

Generalife 

Officially Palacio de Generalife, this summer palace derived its name from Arabic, Jannat al-Arif, meaning Garden of Arif, or Garden of the Architect. It is the country estate of the Nasrid sultans of Granada, whose palaces are at the Alhambra a short distance below. The palaces and gardens of Generalife were begun during the rule of Muhammad III (1302-1309), and continued by his brother Abu I-Walid Ismail (1313-1324AD).

Patio de Los Arrayanes in Palacio Nazaries in Alhambra, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
How to get to the Alhambra

The Alhambra is located on the hills of Sabika, in the city of Granada, in the Granada Province, Andalucia, Spain. Granada Airport is located half an hour from the city. There are daily flights connecting Granada with Madrid and Barcelona by Iberia. From London, budget carrier Ryan Air connects Granada with Stanstead International Airport, London, and with Liverpool. Monarch connects it with Garwick International Airport, London. 

From the bus terminal in Granada are bus services connecting it with Seville, Cordoba, Algeciras and Malaga. Train services are also available connecting Granada with Cordoba, Malaga, Almeria and Seville. For details, visit the website of Renfe, the National Railway.

Patio de Los Arrayanes in Palacio Nazaries in Alhambra, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
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Visiting the Alhambra

The Alhambra is open from 8:30am - 8:00pm on Sundays-Thursdays with extended hours till 10:00pm on Fridays and 11:30pm on Saturdays, between March to October. From November to February the opening hours are shorter, from 8:30am - 6:00pm Sundays - Thursdays, with extended hours till 8:00pm on Fridays and 9:30pm on Saturdays. Admission fee is €10, and ticket office closes an hour before the gates. Evening visits is limited to the Nasrid Palaces only.

Guided tours are available every day for €44.50 that includes entrance fee, transport and tour guide.

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About the Author :  Timothy Tye documents major destinations of the world. To view photos of the Alhambra, go to http://www.worldgreatestsites.com/alhambra_spain.htm To read more about the Alhambra, visit http://www.earthdocumentary.com/alhambra_spain.htm. For other tourist attractions, visit http://www.worldgreatestsites.com. You may use this article on your website as long as you provide links to the aforementioned sites.

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