Alhambra Palace - Legendary Romantic Spanish Attraction

by : Daniel Johansson

Perched high above the historic city of Granada in southern Spain the stunning Alhambra Palace dominates the skyline leaving a lasting memory to all who witness the vista. Originally the residence of the Muslim Kings of Granada it is now a museum dedicated to Islamic culture and architecture. This striking example of 14th Century Moorish and Renaissance architecture covers a staggering 13 hectares and incorporates a multitude of arabesque features. It exudes a distinctly tranquil and romantic aura, making it a great place to take a loved one on a romantic break.

Alhambra is Arabic for 'Red Castle' and the name relates to the colours of the fortified Palace's walls. Once whitewashed, that has long faded exposing the red brick construction of the Palace, derived from the region's clay giving it a reddish hue. When the Palace is lit at night it is an awe-inspiring site and easy to see why it has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Historians estimate that the first buildings on the site emerged around the end of the ninth century but, the Alhambra Palace as it appears now owes much of its appearance to two ruling Moor Kings; Yusuf I and Mohammed V. Both monarchs ruled during the early part of the 14th Century and were responsible for adding the following features: the Patio of the Lions, the Justice Gate, the Hall of the Boat, the Baths and the Comares Room. All of these impressive features still exist today, some after being comprehensively renovated following extensive damage caused during occupation by the French in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. A significant addition to the original buildings was the Renaissance Palace inserted into the existing buildings by catholic monarch Charles V. Part of the original structure was demolished to incorporate his palace that includes the Emperor's Chambers and the Queen's Dressing Room, both visitor attractions today.

When it came to the building of the Palace the architects wanted to ensure that every part of the walls and ceilings were elaborately decorated, even to the extent where false arches were inserted merely to create visual impact! The plasterwork is exquisite and richly decorated ceramics have also been pasted to the walls. A visitor could literally take days to view all the decoration, and if they did they would be sure to see that the columns used in the construction of the Alhambra Palace are unique; nowhere else in the world will you find these highly-stylised features.

If you are planning a visit to the Alhambra Palace ensure you get to grips with the types of tickets available. It's not as simple as buying just one ticket. Due to the sheer number of visitors, tickets are divided into daytime and evening slots, with the daytime tickets split further into morning and afternoon sessions. A walk around the extensive gardens requires an additional ticket.

The Palace is undeniably the biggest draw for Granada, but it is by no means the only attraction in this beautiful part of Spain. The area has a long history and many natural features that make Granada one of the most visited parts of Spain.