I could see the Alhambra looming over the city of Granada when I first arrived. It looked like any other fortress from the bottom of the hill -- not giving any indication of what I was about find once inside. The beautiful lush gardens filled with cypress trees and roses, dancing fountains and reflecting pools, detailed carvings and wall-to-wall tile work kept me in a flux of juggling between camera and audioguide. It was truly one of the most amazing places I've seen.
The Alhambra (meaning 'red castle' in Arabic) was the last of all the Arabian palaces to be built in Spain. Built in 1238, it served as a fortress and palace for the sultans until it was conquered by the Christians (King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella) in 1492. The greatest concern of the architects of the Alhambra was to cover every space with decoration. Ceilings, walls and floors are covered with beautiful carvings, rich plasterwork, wooden frames and exquisite tiles.
The Generalife palace (more like a charming villa) served as a retreat for the sultans when they tired of their official duties. To escape the heat of Andalucian summers, the sultans and their wives would flock to the shady patios and lush gardens surrounding the villa.
The Alhambra is one of Spain's most visited monuments. It is best to purchase your ticket and reserve your visiting time well in advance. You can do so by visiting Alhambradegranada.org.
Below are a few photos I managed to get (while juggling the audioguide!) on my visit: