A Visit to the Alhambra

Posted on November 7, 2010 by


We took a day trip with a tour group to the city of Granada a few Sundays ago.  It’s a long way to go for a day trip – 3 hours up and back – but it was definitely worth it.  The Alhambra and Generalife gardens are by far the most remarkable place we’ve visited so far. 

The Alhambra castle (fortress really) sits high atop the hill al-Sabika, to the west of the city of Granada. The Alhambra is located on a strategic point, with a view over the whole city and the meadow (la Vega).  The first historical documents date from the 9th century.  It’s named Alhambra because of its reddish walls (in Arabic, qa’lat al-Hamra’ means Red Castle).

We boarded our bus at 6:30am and had a relatively quiet ride (I say relatively because there is always one person talking non-stop) to the city with one stop for coffee.  The day was really lovely – bright blue skies and in the high 60’s – low 70’s.   Entrance into the Alhambra is by a set time – you buy your tickets for a certain hour and you must enter 10 or 15 minutes prior to that time.  After that, you are out of luck. In our case, 3 of our fellow travelers decided to go visit a part of the grounds around the castle and we thought they were going to miss the castle visit.  Fortunately for them, they returned less than 5 minutes before our determined entrance time!

 The interior of the castle is amazing.  Here are a few pictures.

Interior ceiling (wood) and wall cap (plaster + other material)

At the Alhambra overlooking the city of Granada

Wall decoration

Reflecting Pool

Interior Ceilng

One interesting thing I learned on this trip is that whereas Christian kings wanted the exteriors of their palaces to be beautiful, Muslim rulers prefered their audiences to be awestruck once they entered the palace.  So, inside this palace is wonderful wall and ceiling decoration as well as beautiful gardens including reflecting pools and fountains.  The sound of the water as well as the beautiful reflections are something to enjoy while walking through the palace. As you leave this palace, there is another wonderful walk through gardens and across a bridge to the summer palace or Generalife.  Here are some pictures of the gardens we walked through to the summer palace.Gardens leading to the Generalife Palace 

Bill in one of the gardens of the Generalife or Summer Palace


Gate into the old city


Departing the castle, we then walked downhill to the old part of Granada.    From there we walked a bit looking for a place to eat when we came upon el Deseo  where we had THE BEST paella and clams ever!!!

Posted in: Granada