What to see inside Alhambra

The Alhambra is a masterpiece of Moorish architecture, adorned with intricate stone, plaster, and woodwork. 

As Spain’s premier tourist destination, it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts thousands of visitors daily.

From its elaborate carvings to vibrant tiles and stunning vistas of the Albayzn, the fortress’s exterior and interiors are full of wonders awaiting exploration.

Read along to find what lies within the Alhambra and discover why it’s an unforgettable experience.

Palace Of The Comares

The Palace of Comares, known as the throne room for sultans Yusuf I and Muhammad V, is a must-see inside Alhambra. 

Renovated during Muhammad V’s reign, it reflects Sufism’s influence. 

It is centered around the Court of the Myrtles (‘Patio de los Arrayanes’) with its cooling reflecting pool, connecting the sultan’s chambers.

Highlights include the Hall of the Ambassadors (Salón de los Embajadores) inside the massive Comares Tower, where the sultan received guests amidst stunning tile work and intricate wood ceilings, and the Hall of the Boat, named for its vaulted ceiling. 

The palace’s intricate stucco work, wooden lattices, and ornate decoration represent the height of Nasrid art and architecture.

Generalife

Generalife, the summer palace of Granada’s Nasrid rulers, is a peaceful spot with ancient orchards and the popular Water Stairway. 

Historians suggest its origins date back to the 14th century when it was an orchard. 

Despite a fire in 1958, the rebuilt structure retains its authenticity and is the best place to experience a cool oasis amidst the heat.

Hall of the Abencerrajes

The Hall of the Abencerrajes is possibly a mausoleum or musical venue.

More enclosed than other areas, it’s likely for winter use. The hall’s stunning honeycomb-style ceiling vaults (muqarnas) are truly spectacular.

This breathtaking architecture is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Palace of the Lions

The Palace of the Lions, built by Muhammad V, is one of two original palaces still standing in the Alhambra. 

The Court of the Lions displays Persian and Arabic influences with its iconic fountain. However, French troops’ alterations made the original purpose unclear.

Historians have several theories about its purpose. 

Cynthia Robinson suggests it was a victory palace to showcase the ruler’s power. Ruiz and Irwin believe it was a madrasa, zawiya, and burial site for Muhammad V. Yaqub Zaki thinks it was a leisure venue for the sultan.

Alcazaba

The Alcazaba is the oldest section of the Alhambra, dating back to the early Middle Ages.

It includes the Torre de la Vela, an original defensive structure possibly from the 10th or 11th century. 

References suggest a castle here since the 9th century, but the Zirid dynasty later reconstructed it. 

You can enjoy breathtaking views of Granada and the neighboring Sierra Nevada from its sturdy watchtowers, notably the iconic Torre de la Vela. 

Inside, the remains of the former fortress, including the barracks where soldiers were originally housed, can be seen.

Palace Of Charles V

Amidst the predominantly Moorish art and architecture of the Alhambra, the Palace of Charles V is a Renaissance-style palace. 

It owes its existence to the preservation efforts of the Catholic monarchs, who retained the Alhambra as a royal abode during the Reconquista, a period when many Muslim palaces were lost. 

Although Charles V was the only Christian king who truly wanted to live there, construction halted in 1533 amidst a rebellion, leaving the palace incomplete. 

Today, it offers a serene atmosphere amidst the bustling Alhambra complex, included in standard admission tickets for those seeking a quieter exploration.

El Partal

El Partal underwent heavy reconstruction, but only one side remains. 

It was mistaken for a garden pavilion; it was more like a townhouse. The surrounding gardens were transformed in the 20th century. 

It’s a serene spot for photos, blending architecture and nature beautifully.

Terrace Views

Head to la Torre del Homenaje for panoramic views of Alhambra, Granada, and beyond from various spots within the complex. 

Feel transported to medieval times and gaze upon the ancient fortress and its surroundings.

The Gardens

There are abundant gardens to explore a slice of paradise in the Alhambra Palace. 

These Islamic gardens offer a blend of nature, history, and spirituality with astonishing beauty and design.

There are landscaped courtyards, vivid flowerbeds, and the relaxing sounds of trickling water from several fountains, including the well-known Patio de la Acequia.

 They also provide a much need relief from the heat during the summer months.

Alhambra Museum

Explore Nasrid art spanning centuries in the museum within Charles V Palace. 

Here, you can get insights into life in ancient times from treasures from archaeological digs and restoration efforts. 

Witness the evolution of art and don’t miss the iconic Jarrón de las Gacelas.

Unique Inscriptions

Special Arabic inscriptions decorate the Alhambra, bearing the Nasrid dynasty’s motto: “There is no conqueror but Allah.” 

Over 900 tiles feature this distinctive script, unique to the site. It’s a captivating aspect of the palace’s heritage, not to be overlooked while visiting the Alhambra.

Baths 

You can also explore the baths inside Alhambra near the Alhambra Mosque on the church’s east side, accessible from the main street.

Built under Muhammad III, these baths provided hygiene and facilities for religious ablutions. Contrary to Romantic depictions, they were strictly same-sex and modest.

Partly demolished in 1534, they were later integrated into a house and restored in 1934. The layout included a changing room, cold room, and hot room with a boiler for heating water.

Some original tile, stucco, and marble fragments remain. Unlike Greco-Roman practices, Muslims didn’t favor swimming in baths. Private baths were also part of the Alhambra’s palaces.

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FAQs

  1. Where can I get the finest Alhambra views?

    Head to the Alcazaba watchtower, Nasrid Palace windows, or Generalife Palace for the best Alhambra views. Climb Torre de la Vela for unmatched Granada and the Sierra Nevada vistas. 

    For added historical intrigue, you can explore old Moorish dwellings and a dungeon behind the towers in Plaza de Armas.

Harshita
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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