La Alhambra, meaning Red Castle from the Arabic "qa'lat al-hamra" is located, luckily for me, right near the Albaicin. The fortress was built in 9th Century as a military fortress, it's location views right across the city of Granada. It wasn't until the start of the Nasrid Dynasty that the fortress was used as a palace.
The Nasrid Dynasty started to reinforce the fortress including the Alcazaba. A watch tower was built and water was brought up from the River Darro via canals. The Nasrid Palaces were built along with a bath house and a Mosque, though today la Iglesia de Santa Maria now stands in it's place (pictured above).
Yusuf I and Mohammed V did most of the work that we see at La Alhambra today including finishing the Nasrid Palace, and the Lion's Patio. It was absolutely essential to the architects that the palace be covered in beautiful decoration, though it's said the architects were not influenced by La Mesquita, in Cordoba, but includes some traditional Andalusian architecture.
Partly due to the Catholic rule over Spain, anything other Nasrid rulers did no longer remains. Charles V ordered demolition of parts of the Palace to make way for the palace which bears his name, and during French domination part of the complex was blown up. The complex had been completely abandoned during the 18th century and work to restore it didn't start until 19th century.
I bought a ticket for Alhambra and Generalife, and arrived at the complex at 8,30 in the morning. It was the best time of day to go, though perhaps not for photo's! It took me little over 4hrs to view the entire complex, it is massive. You can get an audio guide as well for a few €'s. I loved viewing the incredible complex, and definitely would recommend anyone else go.
- More than likely you'll need to book tickets at least 6 weeks in advance.
- The doors open at 8,30am if you get there early enough you'll miss the crowds, trust me (I left at 1pm, and by then it was busy and I was tired).
- Absolutely go in the Nasrid Palaces & do it as early as possible, because it really is as exhausting as the website tells you.
- Google maps won't give you the right directions out of the Albaicin, you need to head to the road named Cuesto del Rey Chico and follow it all the way down, you'll come to the entrance at the bottom of the street.
PS- Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!