Explore What's Inside Alhambra Granada

Granada's history differs from that of most of Spain in some ways. This region of Spain, which is only a few hundred kilometers from Morocco, has seen the height of the Moorish era. In Granada, Andalusia there is a complex of palaces and fortifications known as the Alhambra. Alhambra is one of the greatest architectural exponents of the time. In addition to having remarkable instances of Spanish Renaissance architecture, it is one of the most well-known Islamic architectural monuments and one of the Islamic world's best-preserved palaces. 

Muhammad I Ibn al-Ahmar, the first Nasrid emir and creator of the Emirate of Granada, the final Muslim kingdom of Al-Andalus, started construction on the complex in 1238. It was constructed on the Sierra Nevada protrusion known as Sabika Hill, where Samuel ibn Naghrillah's palace from the eleventh century and earlier fortifications once stood. 

Here is everything one can expect to find inside Alhambra.

About Alhambra

The Alhambra's ruby walls gave it its name in Arabic. It is situated on top of the al-Sabika hill, on the Darro River's left bank, west of Granada, and in front of the Albaicin and Alcazaba neighborhoods. Given its strategic location and commanding vantage position over the entire city and meadow, the Alhambra raises the possibility that there were already other structures there when the Muslims first came.

In the ninth century, the Alhambra castle was erected on the city's perimeter within the ramparts, indicating that the palace evolved into a fortified military structure with a panoramic view of the entire city.

Top Things To See Inside Alhambra

Inside Alhambra - Puerta de la Justicia

Puerta de la Justicia

The Puerta de la Justicia (Gate of Justice), a sizable gate that functioned as the primary entry on the south side of the walled complex and was constructed in 1348 during the rule of Yusuf I, is the main gate of the Alhambra. The gate is made of a big horseshoe-shaped archway that leads to a steep ramp that curves into a narrow corridor. On the exterior of this gate, a carving of a hand with five fingers represents the Five Pillars of Islam, while on the interior, a carving of a key represents another symbol of faith in the same location. Later, a sculpture of the Virgin and the Christ Child from the Christian era was placed in another niche right within the gate.

Inside Alhambra - Alcazaba
Inside Alhambra - Mexuar


The westernmost area of the royal complex is called the Mexuar. It was comparable to the Mashwars (or Mechouars) of North African royal palaces. It was first constructed as a part of the bigger complex that Isma'il I started, which also included the Comares Palace. Many of the palace's administrative and more visible operations, including the chancery and treasury, were situated there. Its design had two parallel courtyards followed by a great hall, all of which were arranged along a central axis that ran from west to east. The foundations of the Mexuar's two western courtyards, a portico, and a fountain's water basin are all that is left today.

Inside Alhambra - The Comares Palace

The Comares Palace

The Comares Palace served as the focal point of a sizable palace complex that was started by Isma'il I in the early 13th century and expanded upon and renovated by Yusuf I and Muhammad V later that same century. The Qar al-Sultan or Dr al-Mulk, also known as the new palace complex, served as the formal residence of the sultan and the state. The Mexuar provided access to the Comares Palace from the west. At the eastern end of the Mexuar, on the south side of the Patio de Cuarto Dorado, is an interior façade known as the Comares Façade. The entry to the palace was this elaborately decorated symmetrical façade with two doors, which almost certainly performed certain ceremonial duties.

Inside Alhambra - Palace of the Lions

Palace of the Lions

One of the most well-known palaces in Islamic architecture, the Palace of the Lions represents the pinnacle of Nasrid design during the rule of Muhammad V. The courtyard's long axis is roughly aligned east to west, measuring around 28.7 meters long and 15.6 meters broad. The surrounding portico's arches and columns are placed in a sophisticated arrangement that alternates groups of two or three columns with single columns, a feature that was exclusive to Islamic architecture. The famous Fountain of the Lions is located in the middle of the courtyard, which also has two elaborate pavilions on its east and west sides. The fountain is made up of a sizable basin that is surrounded by twelve marble statues of stylized lions.

Inside Alhambra - Palace of Charles V

Palace of Charles V

Pedro Machuca, an architect who studied under Michelangelo in Rome and was well-versed in the traditions of the Italian High Renaissance and the artistic communities of Raphael and Giulio Romano, created the palace that Charles V had commissioned in the center of the Alhambra. It was created with an original design that reflected the architectural ideals of the time in a modern Renaissance or "Roman" style. It comprises a huge stone building that is square in shape and completely encloses a courtyard. Rustication and pilasters alternate with other decorations above to create two horizontal zones of decoration on the outside façade.

Additional Information About What's Inside Alhambra

Three further significant palaces from the Nasrid era previously stood but were mainly destroyed over time. Known also as the Palacio del Conde del Tendilla, the unearthed remains of the Palacio del Partal Alto are now a part of the Partal Gardens. The palace is the earliest palace in Alhambra whose remains have been discovered, and it dates to the reign of Muhammad II. Later restorations and alterations have been made to the palace.

The Catholic Church of Santa Mara de la Alhambra, also known as "Saint Mary of the Alhambra", which is situated directly east of the Palace of Charles V, was built on the site of the Alhambra Mosque, the complex's congregational mosque. The church was constructed from 1581 to 1618.

The Nasrids' royal mausoleum, the Rauda, was in the area between the former mosque and the Palace of the Lions. Although the building is no longer standing, archaeologists have investigated it and can still make out its foundations.

Can I go Inside Alhambra?

Yes, you can go inside Alhambra. You will need to purchase Alhambra tickets to access Alhambra. Since the Alhambra complex is quite large, you can access multiple types of tickets, each offering entry to different parts of Alhambra.

If you are short on time, you will be able to choose skip-the-line tickets that will enable you to access the attraction without waiting in queues. Inside Alhambra, you can see Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces, Generalife Gardens, Alcazaba, the Palace of Charles V, the unique Patio of the Lions, and the Bath of the Mosque.

Book Your Alhambra Tickets & Tours

Alhambra Premium Skip-the-Line Guided Tour with Nasrid Palaces
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Mobile Ticket
3 hr.
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Alhambra Surroundings Tour
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1 hr. 45 min.
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Alhambra Skip-the-Line Small-Group Tour with Nasrid Palaces
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3 hr.
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Alhambra Skip-the-Line Tickets
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Granada Card with Priority Access to Alhambra
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Visitor Tips

  • Read up about Alhambra before you visit so you would understand the antiquity and heritage of the grounds you would walk through later.
  • Wear comfortable footwear because the Alhambra complex is huge and will require a lot of walking.
  • Purchase Alhambra tickets in advance as it is one of the most popular and unique destinations in Spain, making it busy all year round.
  • Visit early on in the day so that you get the maximum time and the least amount of crowd for your visit
  • Carry your identification proofs as you will be asked to show them especially if you are an international tourist.
  • Plan your path before you arrive and use the most suitable gate to enter the Alhambra complex on the basis of your plan.
  • Have at least 4 hours to explore Alhambra as it is full of unique attractions and rushing through it would not be ideal.
  • Take a heavy breakfast or meal before entering Alhambra as there are limited dining options available at the complex.

Frequently Asked Questions About Inside Alhambra

Q. What's inside Alhambra?

A. Inside Alhambra, you will be able to see Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces, Generalife Gardens, Alcazaba, the Palace of Charles V, the unique Patio of the Lions, and the Bath of the Mosque among many other attractions.

Q. Can you tour inside Alhambra?

A. Yes, you can go inside Alhambra. You will need to purchase Alhambra tickets to access Alhambra.

Q. How many Alhambra entrances are there?

A. There are two entrances to the Alhambra - the Pavilion Main Entrance and the Justice Gate.

Q. How big is Alhambra?

A. Alhambra is spread over a land area of 35 acres. The Alhambra site is about 700–740 m (2,300–2,430 ft) in length and about 200–205 m (660–670 ft) at its greatest width. It extends from west-northwest to east-southeast and covers an area of about 142,000 m2 or 1,530,000 sq ft.

Q. Can you take pictures inside Alhambra?

A. Yes, you can take pictures for personal use inside Alhambra. However, flash photography is not allowed within the Alhambra complex. Tripods and other professional photography equipment are also not allowed.

Q. Is it free to view inside Alhambra?

A. No, Alhambra entry requires tickets that you can purchase online. Different types of tickets can be used to cover various parts of the huge Alhambra complex.

Q. Is Alhambra worth it?

A. Yes, visiting Alhambra is worth it. It has beautiful palaces, grand archways, and serene gardens, and beyond everything else, it has an indelible historical connection with Spain. Alhambra is one of the top attractions for discovering Andalusian history.

Q. Who designed Alhambra?

A. It is most likely that the emirs who began the design and construction of the Alhambra in 1238 were the Ziries monarchs. Muhammed Al-Ahmar, the dynasty's founder, started with the old fort's renovation. His son Muhammad II finished the repairs after starting them, and their immediate heirs did the same.

Q. Where is Alhambra located?

A. Alhambra is located in Granada, Spain, at the heart of the historic Andalusian region.

Q. When was Alhambra built?

A. Alhambra was built around 1238 CE by the Ziries monarchs. Muhammed Al-Ahmar started with the old fort's renovation. His son Muhammad II finished the repairs after starting them, and their immediate heirs did the same.