This massive castle/palace complex claims to be the most visited site in Spain. Though Sagrada Familia in Barcelona also makes the same claim, the Alhambra is undoubtedly the best camera candy in the country. There has been some sort of palace/fortification on the site since at least the 11th century, with major construction taking place in the 14th and 15th centuries. It was the last hold out of the Islamic empire in Iberia, eventually captured by the Christians in 1492. In the 16th century Carlos V built a whole new palace on the grounds. But after that attention shifted away and the whole complex started a slow slide into disrepair until it started to attract tourists in the 19th century.
We spent a solid day wandering around the grounds, starting before sunrise as we had to queue up early in the morning to get some of the limited number of tickets to the Palacios Nazaries – the old Islamic palace. You can see one of the stunning ceilings from Nazaries above and a view out some of the windows looking over the city of Grenada below.
Next to the Palacios Nzaries is the Palacio de Carlos V, the most recent addition to the complex of palaces, which Carlos V meant to be the seat of his empire. Below is a picture looking out from the courtyard.
Above the Alhambra is the Generalife, a palace built in the 14th century overlooking the main palace and fortress complex. Cuz, you know, sometimes you just have to get away from your palace, and the best way to do that is another palace with a view of your main palace. The picture below is the view through an open terrace looking out over Grenada.
The picture on the left is one of the last of the day as we left the Generalife and had a view over looking the Alhambra. The church spire is the Iglesia Santa Maria, also built by Carlos V. The queue on the right is for the Palacios Nazaries around noon. So as you might imagine, I highly recommend going early in the morning when you don’t have to wait in such a massive queue and can actually wander around without the throngs of people getting in your way.
You can see a few more pictures from the Alhambra in my previous encounter with Islamic water features.