The Alhambra admits 6,000 visitors a day and sometimes they sell out. So we bought our tickets online in March to make sure we get in! Obtaining tickets is a very complex operation but we persevered and thoroughly enjoyed our private tour.
It's a 15 minute walk from the ticket office to the main entrance.
The Gate of Justice is the main entrance to La Alhambra.
The Alcazaba is the oldest structure in the Alhambra. Construction began in the 9th century.
The Alcazaba is the fortress portion of the Alhambra
View from the Alcazaba.
The Moorish domination of Spain ended in 1492 when Isabellla and Ferdinand raised their flag on this tower.
Alhambra comes from an Arabic word meaning "red castle" or "red walled city."
The horseshoe arch was invented by the Visigoths who invaded Spain about 300 years before the Moors. The Moors liked it, used it and it spread throughout Islam.
If the enemy ever got through this arch they would be vulnerable to soldiers on the right who could pelt them with hot lead, oil, rocks or whatever. And they would not have much defense since their shields would be on their left sides.
So here we come -- oh, we're not the enemy!
Looking back at the arch we just went through.
A gully used to separate the Alcazaba from the rest of the Alhambra. Now there's a square between the fortress and the Nasrid palaces.
There were no roses in the Moorish gardens.They came with the Christians.
Detail of Moorish architectural design. The Muslim religion allows only geometric patterns and calligraphy on walls and in buildings. No pictures.
Garden in front of Charles V palace. He was a grandson of Isabella and Ferdinand.
Detail of Charles V palace.
These guns are aimed at the city -- the rulers feared attacks may come from there.
Prominent citizens lived in these quarters.
A detail of the Charles V palace. This palace and the museum inside it are free. You have to buy a ticket to see the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife (pronounced "heneral-leefee") palace and gardens.
The church next door to the Charles V palace was once a mosque.
There are still people living in the Alhambra today.
Napoleon destroyed a big section of the Alhambra in 1812.
Our tour guide explained the reasons for the various Moorish designs.
We only saw a glimpse of the Nasrid Palaces on our tour. The Nasrid Dynasty began in 1238 and ended in 1492. This is when the Moorish civilization flourished.
Almost all of the calligraphy consist of quotes from the Koran.
The most frequent inscription you encounter is "God (Allah) conquers all."
Orange trees outside the wall.
This hotel is across the street near the main entrance.
We walked down the hill to the cathedral near the city center, passing these tiles along the way.
Fray Luis de Granada was a famous Dominican preacher who grew up in The Alhambra. He got in trouble with the Inquisition and spent most of his life in Portugal.
Some Moorish palaces downtown are still in existence.
This banner in Plaza del Carmen honors a local nun who will be canonized next year.
The chapel where the Royal Monarchs are buried
Inside the Corral del Carbon. Our tour ended here -- just a couple of blocks from our hotel. We didn't get to see everything. So I decided to go back tomorrow to visit the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife Gardens.