Travel Lessons: The Alhambra - JWT Travel

Travel Lessons: The Alhambra

The Alhambra, an ancient fortress palace of Moorish origins, is located in Granada, Spain. It is also part of our popular Andalucia School Trip itinerary and a must-see if you are a visitor willing to learn some history.

Today, we will share with you a bit of history about the Alhambra:


  • The Alhambra is situated on the top of Sabika Hill, overlooking Granada’s beautiful city in Andalucia, Spain.
  • Alhambra means “red castle” in Arabic, which is believed to be derived from the reddish tones of its towers and walls.
  • It wasn’t until the 11th century, with the arrival of the Zirid Dynasty, that the Alhambra received great interest.
  • Royal residence of the Nasrid Dynasty in the Middle Ages, this amazing fortress was built between 1238 and 1358, mainly during the reigns of Mohammed ben Al-Hamar, founder of the mentioned dynasty, Yūsuf I, and Mohammed V.
  • The palace had originally three main areas, including its military zone, called “The Alcazaba”; the Medina, where the court officials lived, and finally, the palatial area, which included many of the king’s palaces.
  • During the Nasrid Dynasty, the fortress was divided again into three zones: the Mexuar, the Comares Palace, and the Palace of the Lions.
  • ”The Alcazaba” is the oldest part of the Alhambra dating back to the 9th century. Mohammed I established his Royal residence here, ordering the construction of defenses and three towers named: Torre Quebrada, Torre del Homenaje, and Torre de la Vela. The Alcazaba then became a fortress only used for military purposes.
  • Some of its most popular structures are the Court of the Lions, the Court of the Myrtles, and the Hall of the Abencerrajes.
  • In 1492, the Moors were expelled from Spain, with the Alhambra experiencing many changes, including the destruction of some parts of the fortress by Charles V to build his Renaissance-style palace and the damage some of the towers suffered after the Peninsular War in 1812.
  • The complex was rebuilt by the architect José Contreras and following successors during the 19th century.
  • The Alhambra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, with thousands of people visiting each year.

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