Alcazaba Granada

Alcazaba is the third and the oldest part of Alhambra Palace, built by Muhammad I Ibn al-Ahmar.

It lies at the western tip of the Sabika hill, a natural defensive position fortified from the 9th century onward.

Spread across around 26 acres with over a mile of walls, 30 towers, and numerous smaller structures, it plainly served as a military fortification.

In its prime, the Alcazaba comprised three main sections: a military base for guards and their families, palaces for the sultan, and the Medina where court officials lived and worked.

The Alhambra and the Generalife were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984

What’s Inside Alcazaba Alhambra 

When you first get to the entrance of Calle Alcazabilla, you pass through several defensive archways before reaching the fortress’s lower part. 

The ramparts and towers were built by Mohammed I around an already existing castle to establish his Royal residence inside the fortress.

Next in his lineage, his son Mohammed II lived with his family in Malaga’s Alcazaba till the construction of the Palaces.

Here are some things not to miss out on while visiting Alcazaba:

The Puerta de las Armas

The Puerta de las Armas, also known as the Gate of Arms, holds great importance in the Alcazaba of the Alhambra. 

It serves as the city’s residents’ primary access point and connects directly to the Alcazaba via a steep pathway. 

Situated on the north side, with its military design and sloping entrance, it was one of the four major gates connecting the Alhambra to Granada. 

Its wide passageway led to either the Alcazaba or the Nasrid Palaces. 

Beyond its historical significance, the Puerta de las Armas provides a stunning view of Granada from its terrace, making it an exceptional place within the Alcazaba.

Torre del Homenaje

The Tower of Homage, or Torre del Homenaje, is a four-sided structure that existed in Granada even before the construction of Alcazaba. 

Due to its impressive height, the Tower of Homage held immense defensive importance. 

From its towering walls, it not only overlooked but could also see the watchtowers spread across the nearby mountains.

The tower has six floors, including a dungeon silo on the ground floor.

Over the centuries, the tower has served many functions, including as a residence, prison, grain storage, and watchtower.

The Torre de la Vela

The Torre de la Vela, also known as the Watch Tower or the Candle Tower, is a tower in the Alhambra Palace. 

It is famous for its flags and bell tower and is one of the most recognizable features of the Alcazaba.

The tower, 27 meters high with a 16 by 16-meter square base, has been altered since the Moorish era and has four floors held up by arches.

During the time of the Catholic monarchs, the tower functioned as the living quarters of the bell ringers.

The bell tower has undergone multiple replacements and repositions. 

Today, farmers use the bell to signal changes in irrigation cycles. 

It provides excellent views of the city and nearby mountains. You can easily spot it in the Alcazaba because of its flags and bell tower.

Four flags fly over the tower: European, Spanish, Andalusian, and Granada.

Plaza de las Armas

The Arms Square, or Plaza de las Armas, was once the primary entrance and central square of the Alcazaba of Granada. 

Today, the short walls found there are the foundations of the previous buildings in the Barrio Castrense, which was the military quarters of the castle. 

This complex included various establishments such as houses, canteens, shoe stores, armories, and more, all catering to the garrison’s needs.

The Alcazaba’s foundations reveal a large rainwater cistern, a bathroom, Arab houses, a dungeon, and barracks. 

The structures served the dignitaries, military personnel, and civilian population.

The Plaza de Los Aljibes

The Square of the Cisterns, or the Plaza de Los Aljibes, is a public space located within the Alhambra complex in Granada, Spain. 

It got its name from the cisterns called cisterns, which were built there in the late 15th century.

The square is easily accessible and can be recognized by the tall notched towers that rise above the surrounding cypress trees. 

There’s a bustling snack stand at the center of the square, which is perfect for taking a break before or after exploring the charming cobbled paths and towers of Alcazaba.

The square is between the Alhambra’s defenses and towers on one side and the Puerta del Vino, the Palacio Nazaríes, and the Palacio de Carlos V on the other.

History of Alcazaba, Spain

The Alcazaba is an ancient fortress located in the Alhambra complex in Granada, Spain. 

It was built in the 9th century by Sawwar ben Hamdun during the fights between Muslims and Christians. 

Mohammed I later constructed the ramparts, defences and three new towers to turn it into a real fortress. 

The Tower of Homage was one of the things that were added during this time. 

The Alcazaba served as a residence for the king until the palaces were finished, after which it was used for military purposes. 

The Christians repaired and used it as a state prison at different points in history, and it was later restored in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Alcazaba Granada Tickets

There are many ticket options available for visiting Alcazaba Granada, Spain, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. 

A single ticket provides access to several important sites, including the Nasrid Palace, Generalife, and the Palace of Charles V. 

So, which ticket option should you choose? Here are some of our best picks!

Ticket TypeAdult Ticket (18+ Years)  priceUnique offering 
Entry ticket€16Fast track admission
Ticket with Audio Guide€45Audio Guide
Alhambra and Generalife Guided Tour€49Live tour guide in 4 languages, headset, private or small groups available
Alhambra, Nasrid Palace and Generalife Tour€61Iive tour guide in 5 languages, private or small groups available
Private Tour€220Live tour guide, skip-the-line entry

Alcazaba Hours

The Alcazaba of the Alhambra is open day and night throughout the year. 

However, its hours vary seasonally. 

From 1 April to 14 October, it’s open from 8:30 am to 8 pm. 

From 15 October to 31 March, it’s open from 8:30 am to 6 pm. 

For night visits, it operates on different days with seasonal timings.

How to Get to The Alcazaba Alhambra

You have several transportation options available to reach the Alcazaba Alhambra. 

  • If you prefer walking, you can take the Cuesta de Gomerez route from Plaza Nueva, which would take around 15 minutes. 
  • Alternatively, you can board the C3 bus from Isabella and Columbus Statue, which will take you directly to the entrance. 
  • Private vehicles are not allowed inside the complex, but you can park your car in the Alhambra parking lot. 
  • If you choose to hail a taxi, it can be convenient but expensive. You can hail a taxi from anywhere in central Granada or book one through the Pidetaxi Granada app.

How long does it take to visit Alcazaba?

A typical visit to the Alcazaba alone might take around 30 to 60 minutes.

However, visiting the entire Alhambra complex, which includes the Nasrid Palaces, Generalife, and other areas, it’ll take at least three to four hours for a comprehensive tour.

In fact, many visitors choose to spend a whole day exploring the Alhambra, fully appreciating its architecture, history, and gardens.

Keep in mind that entry times to the Nasrid Palaces are strictly regulated, and you’ll need to book your tickets well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Granad Alcazaba

  1. Which Alhambra entrance should I choose for visiting Alcazaba?

    To visit Alcazaba, you should choose the Generalife entrance ( the Puerta de la Justicia).

    It is located on the opposite side of the Alhambra complex from the main entrance, offering easy access to the fortress. 

    You can also book a guided tour with skip-the-line access for a better experience.

  2. Is Alcazaba Granad accessible to visitors with reduced mobility?

    Visitors with reduced mobility can only explore approximately 50% of the Alhambra.

    The Patronato is working to make 70% accessible to those with reduced mobility. 

    However, 10-20% will permanently remain inaccessible due to architectural barriers, including the Alcazaba and Nasrid palaces.

  3. Which is the tallest tower of the Alcazaba Fortress?

    The Torre del Homenaje, or ‘Tower of Homage,’ is the highest tower in the Alcazaba, with the terrace being the highest spot in the fortress.

    It’s in the fortress’s northeastern corner, stands 26 meters (85 feet) tall, and its bottom is about 12 by 10 meters (40 by 34 feet) wide.

  4. When and who built the Alcazaba in Granada?

    Nasrid ruler Muhammad I Ibn al-Ahmar, the founder of the Nasrid Dynasty, built the Alcazaba de Granada in 1238.

    His son Muhammed II lived with his family in Alcazaba till the construction of the Palaces.

    The initial structures of the Alcazaba fortress trace back to the Caliph period.

    The Arabs first constructed it, possibly on Roman remains.

  5. What is the location advantage of Alcazaba Fortress?

    Situated on a La Sabina hilltop, it gives the best defensive position in the city, giving a good view of the surrounding area.

    This made it hard for enemies to attack and easy for defenders to see if there were any threats.

    It was also used to control access to water and was important for keeping the Alhambra complex safe.

  6. Are there night visit tickets for Alcazaba?

    Visiting Alcazaba at night is not allowed after the normal closing time due to the monument’s high towers and open terraces, which make it unsafe to visit in the dark.

  7. What tickets are available for the Alcazaba tickets?

    There are several ticket options available for visiting Alcazaba Alhambra. 

    The most popular among tourists is the standard entry ticket which comes with access to Generalife,
    Palace of Charles V, Partal, and Alhambra Museum.

    However, if you want to explore the place in-depth, you can book a guided tour that offers skip-the-line access. 

    Additionally, if you want a personalized experience, private tours are also available.

About the author

Harshitha’s heart lies where greeny mountains meet stretches of beach. She believes getting lost is the best way to explore

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