The Nasrid Sultans chose as the site for their court the Sabika hill, one of the foothills of
Within this gradual change, different stages of development, grandeur and decadence can clearly be seen through the various works of art and buildings erected over the years. The
The highlight of your visit to the
The Royal Palaces were divided into three distinct parts: the Mexuar, the Serallo and the Harem. Each of these palaces contained a number of rooms which were used for different purposes and they were designed around a central courtyard.
Next you pass into the beautiful Mudéjar-style Cuarto Dorado (Golden Room). This is where the where the sultan made his most important decisions as military commander-in-chief. The room was redecorated in its present golden colour during Carlos Vs period on the throne. Opposite the Cuarto Dorado is the entrance to the Serallo.
The Serallo was the official residence of the emir or sultan and its rooms surround the Patio de los Arrayanes (Patio of the Myrtles) with its large central pool. In the Sala de la Barca which lies through the north portico of the Patio the wooden ceiling is an inverted boat shape. This room leads into the impressive Salón de Embajadores where the sultans carried out negotiations with Christian emissaries.
Moving on from here you will arrive at the famous Patio de los
Ibn Zamrak's poem, engraved on the fountain, praises the sultan and this beautiful palace garden, planted with trees and aromatic herbs. It's surrounded by a gallery with 124 marble columns that overlooks three of the most attractive rooms in the complex.
The Patio de los
This room gets its name from the legend that the penultimate Moorish ruler of
On the north side of the patio is the beautiful Sala de
This military fortress was built on the oldest site of the
The Alcazaba was the fortress which acted as military headquarters for the Nasrid dynasty. It was built on the highest point of the hill to defend the royal family and house their army. The original construction had 24 towers but only a few remain.
If you've already collected your ticket the best place to enter the
Once through the gate you reach the Jardín de los Adarves (
Past the central patio (Plaza de las Armas), you'll see an Arab bathhouse, living quarters, stables and dungeons. Climb up the steps to the defensive walls and towers for the fantastic views over the neighbouring Albayzín and Sacromonte districts.
Carlos V's Palace
The massive bulk of the Renaissance-style Carlos V's Palace stands in stark contrast to the delicate Moorish Royal Palaces next door. It has two museums worth visiting either before or after the rest of the
This was once a mosque, then a monastery and is now a wonderful four-star hotel.
The Santa María Church
Santa María Church.
This early 17th-century church was built on top of a mosque in the
The city has a population of 240,000 of which 80,000 are students so there is a vibrant atmosphere about the place.
Apart from the University there is only one other major employer, the
First time visitors to