HISTORY OF THE ALHAMBRA AND GENERALIFE GARDENS

An Islamic monumental complex built from the XIIIth to the XVth century. Classified as a World Heritage Site by the Unesco, it has two main parts:

  • Alhambra: a walled area that includes the Alcazaba or military enclosure, the Nasrid Palaces and the Medina or city.
  • Generalife: an extramural zone that is divided into terraces, having in the lower area the orchards, in the central part the modern wonderful Generalife gardens and, in the background, the Generalife Palace.

Alhambra history

This medieval Islamic citadel of the Alhambra was built from 1238 till the conquest of the Catholic Kings, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille, in 1492.

For two and a half centuries, the same Berber family, 23 sultans of the Nasrid dynasty lived and embellished it in a sublime way.

The original city had four main entrances of which the only accessible one is the Gate of Justice.

Sultan Muhammad I al-Ahmar moved his court to this hill, took the water from the Darro River, and lived in the fortress. Al-Ahmar was red-haired and also the city wall has the red colored clay of the hill, two reasons for its name: Alcalá al-Hamra, The Red Citadel.

Other sultans added more buildings, palaces, houses, industries, and workshops, taking it to its zenith. Sultans such us Yusuf I and his son Muhammad V are the well-known builders of the two still existing palaces: The courtyard of Comares and the courtyard of the Lions.

Nowadays, the Royal Street joins the defensive zone with the palatial area and the artesian zone.

At the end of this street, passing through the Gate of the Wine we find the Fortress and at the other far end, we enter in the Medina, where we have the archeological remains of the Abencerrajes Palace, noble mansions, workshops, industries, houses and the ruins of the market.

In the Royal Street, that is free access to all of the visitors, we will admire the three Christian buildings added in the XVI century: the Christian Palace of Charles V, the Church Saint Mary of the Alhambra, and the old Franciscan Convent, today the Hotel Parador of San Francisco.

NOTE: For conservation reasons, the number of visitors has been limited, with just under 8000 visitors per day. Today, it is one of the most visited places in Europe.

TIP: We do recommend our private tour to the Alhambra, it will be the best form to discover the historical city and learn about the secrets and hidden cornes of the monument.

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