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Review: Alhambra

Attraction - Historic house or stately home

Granada, Spain

The Alhambra - The Alcazaba

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2247 reviews

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  • November 2016
  • Solo

51 people found this review helpful

The Alhambra is one of the ‘must See’ sites of Spain. There is so much to see and take in, so to make my review manageable, I’ve broken it down into four parts. Other reviews cover visiting and some history, the Nasrid Palaces and the Palace of Charles V.

The Alcazaba was the first part of the Alhambra to be built on a long projecting spur. At the highest point it commands impressive views of the surrounding area. One of the best view points is from Torre del Cubo, the defensive bastion in front of the homage tower, which was added by the Christian Monarchs as an artillery platform. This looks down on the Nasrid Palaces and the Palace of Charles V.

It served as the royal residence before the palaces were built. It is a stark and plain defensive structure with sturdy towers, facing the the Palaces and Medina. The homage tower (Torre del Homenjae) was the last defensible part of the fortification and where the ruers lived.

The Alcazaba is reached through the Puerto del Vino (Wine Gate) which separates it from the rest of the site. It is surrounded by a two walls, with a cobbled passageway between them.

Inside the Alacazaba is the Barrio Castrese, with the foundations of the barracks used by the Royal Guard, set on either side of a central road, these would also have included workshops, storehouses, granaries and ovens.

At the far end is the watch tower, Torre de la Vela, which was the first part of the Alcazaba to be built. It has four floors with an underground dungeon. It would originally have been battlemented. It was linked to a series of other towers and fortresses allowing control of the area.

The standards of the Catholic Monarchs were raised from this tower when they triumphantly entered the Alhambra. The actual bell tower dates from the conquest. Not only did it ring in times of danger, it also acted as a daily time keeper for the town. A complex series of rings regulated the opening and closing of the acequias, or irrigation canals bringing melt water from the Sierra Nevada to the plain below.

There are excellent views down onto the Alcazaba and across the city.

Reached through a gateway in the wall are the Jardin de los Adarves or rampart gardens. The passageway between the walls was filled with soil, with the intention of building an artillery platform. In the C17th a garden was planted.

I visited here as part of a ‘Flavours of Spain’ holiday arranged with Solos Holidays.

My detailed trip report with all my pictures is
here.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    over 3 years ago
    This place repays some initial research to try and understand its history and why it is like it is. I could do with making a repeat visit to take in all the things I missed first time!
  • Difne
    over 3 years ago
    If I ever manage to get there I will reread this beforehand.