Alhambra

With the Sierra Nevada Mountains as a breathtaking back drop, the Alhambra in Spain dominates the Granada skyline with its grand red towers and fortress walls. The Alhambra in Spain is the best conserved Arabian palace of its epoch. The name Alhambra means "the red one" and refers to the color of the fortress walls. And from within the red walls of the Alhambra Spain becomes a fairytale land of powerful emirs, helpless maidens and gallant knights.

History

The first palace of the Alhambra in Spain was built in the eleventh century by one of Granada's Zirid Sultans. It wasn't until the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that the Nasrid emirs transformed the Alhambra into a fortress-palace, and built the palace's crowning glory, the Palacio Nazaries. After reclaiming Andalucia, the conquering Catholic Monarchs restored the Palacio Nazaries, and, eventually, the Alhambra's mosque was replaced by a church.

Sadly, the Alhambra Palace Spain entered a dark age of sorts when it was abandoned to thieves and vagrants during the eighteenth century. During the time Napoleon controlled Spain, the Alhambra was used as a barracks for French soldiers, and, at one point, was almost blown up. After it was declared a national monument in 1870, Romantic writers like Washington Irving, author of Tales of the Alhambra, brought the fortress to the world's attention, and prompted the restoration of the palace and the Alhambra gardens Spain.

Divine Architecture

The Alhambra in Spain is an example of landscape architecture as an art form. The Alhambra gardens Spain merge nature with architecture through the use of running water, pools, windows framing vistas, ever-present gardens, and carefully placed lookout points. This meeting of nature and sublime architecture was suggestive of the paradise described in the Quran.

The highlights of any tour of the Alhambra palace Spain, include the fabulously decorated emirs' palace, the Generalife (the Alhambra's meticulous gardens) and the Palacio Nazaries.

With 2 million visitors a year, the Alhambra is Spain's most popular tourist attraction. And while many of the open areas surrounding the Alhambra can be viewed without a ticket, the highlights of the complex: the Palacio Nazaries, the Jardine del Partal, and the Generalife, can only be entered during visiting hours and with a ticket.

Because only a limited number of tickets are sold each day (from 5,600 to 6,000 according to the season) you should queue around 7 am to be sure of getting one. Alternatively, you can book your tickets to visit the Alhambra in Spain up to a year in advance by going to www.alhambratickets.com.

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