If you go to Granada you will undoubtedly go there to visit the Alhambra. The complex is famous and the most see of all of Andalusia so it attracts thousands of visitors even outside the high season. You can get different admission tickets some which only includes the main complex and others giving you access to the Nasrid Palace as well. The palace is amazing so it really is a must to get the ticket with assess to this palace. The number of tickets is limited and you can only get in at a specific timeslot. During the high season the tickets might sell out but the early morning is the one most likely to be available.
We visited in late January and most of the tickets for visits at 10 to 12 were sold out – but the early morning tickets were readily available for purchase on the day so we got tickets for 9 in the morning. When we walked in this early in the morning it was still semi dark when we started walking inside the complex making our way to the entrance to the Nasrid palace. We line up in front of the entrance a little before 9 so we won’t miss our entrance slot and this highlight of the visit of the Alhambra – I am not sure what would happen if we got late for the entrance – maybe we would forfeited the ticket or maybe they would be flexible and let you in later if you missed your entrance.
The palace was the seat of the emir of Granada who ruled over the southern part of Spain as the last of the Muslim kingdoms which at one stage ruled almost the entire Iberian Peninsula. The Muslim rulers had their capital here in Granada and the city was one of the biggest and richest in all of Europe at in the 15th century. So the emirs had plenty of resources to make the most amazing palace they could get and there were plenty of artists in and around Granada so they could make an amazing castle for the emir. So the emir managed to build what might be the prettiest Moorish castle in the world.
When we get into the palace we reach some big rooms – but we quickly notice the layout is different from a European castle. From the entrance you can’t really look inside the other rooms of the castle you have to turn around corners to get inside the next room – I guess this is part of the way to ensure the privacy of the women in the castle.
The rooms are not as big as you will find in some European style castle and they are more centered on different internal courtyard instead of having windows looking out to a garden outside the palace. The rooms are all decorated with a lot of intricate carvings and they are so plentiful and detailed. I can hardly imagine how many hours of work it has taken to do all these countless carving in the palace.
Many of the courtyards have many small columns around them – which looks very different from the normal big columns you find in western style building.
After zigzagging through a lot of rooms we finally make it to the end of the palace. I thought we would get out at the same place we entered – but instead we are led out into a big garden behind the palace which is also part of your access ticket to the ticket and not the general admission ticket to Alhambra. The garden is very nice – but I guess this garden is not as different from a European style garden as the castle is different compared to a European castle.