Guided tour in the Alhambra and surroundings

2 hr

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Itinerary
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Stop At: Puerta de la Justicia, Calle Real de La Alhambra 18 Granada, 18009 Alhambra Spain

Adjacent to the Gate of Justice is a circular artillery bastion from where a cut stone wall descends, in front of which a Grenadian Renaissance sculptural masterpiece of stone stands: Charles V’s Pillar.

In the centre of the Esplanade is another more modest pillar in honour of the writer Washington...
Itinerary
This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Puerta de la Justicia, Calle Real de La Alhambra 18 Granada, 18009 Alhambra Spain

Adjacent to the Gate of Justice is a circular artillery bastion from where a cut stone wall descends, in front of which a Grenadian Renaissance sculptural masterpiece of stone stands: Charles V’s Pillar.

In the centre of the Esplanade is another more modest pillar in honour of the writer Washington Irving, built to commemorate the centenary of his death.

The Gate of Justice (Puerta de la Justicia) is also known as the Gate of the Esplanade (Puerta de la Explanada) because of the large esplanade that extended before it. Its magnificent silhouette stands out, making it one of the symbols of the Alhambra.

In addition to its structural function, the Gate features one of the most significant symbolic icons of the Alhambra: the hand carved in the keystone of the arch and a key in the centre of the inner archway (Islamic symbols). These contrast with the Gothic figure of the Virgin and the Child, by Roberto Alemán, placed over the original Arab inscription of the Gate by order of the Catholic Monarchs.

Four engaged columns with the representation of the Muslim Faith carved on the capitals, frames the door, which has preserved its iron-plated door leaves and other original iron work, recently restored.

The interior of the Gate, with its defensive two turns to climb the steep ascent, contains three kinds of vaults: an elongated cross-vault, a cupola and three traditional cross vaults, all painted with red brick-like decoration, a common feature of the Nasrid architecture.

Outside the gate, and by request of the inhabitants of the Alhambra in 1588, an altarpiece painted by Diego de Navas el Joven, was hung in the place where the first Mass was celebrated after the Christian conquest. The inner side of the Gate preserves part of the rich original decoration of rhombus tile patterns in the spandrels of the horseshoe arch.

Opposite the gate is a wide outer-road at the wall foot, reinforced after the Christian conquest with sepulchre marble slabs. Further up the road we reach the starting point of the official guided tour, the Façade of the Gate of Wine, in front of the the Cisterns Square.

Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: Puerta del Vino, Plaza Algibes Alhambra 2T, 18009 Granada Spain

To some extent the function of this Gate today is similar to what it had been during the Nasrid period. It is the main entrance gate to the Medina of the Alhambra and serves to enclose the residential and artisan district within the walled fortress.

Because it was an inner gate, it provided direct access to the fortress, as opposed to the outer gates, which required more protection and were built as L-shaped passageways. Inside, however, there was room enough for benches for the guards that controlled all access to the fortress.

Architecturally one of the oldest structures in the Nasrid Alhambra , it was built during the time of the Sultan Muhammad III (1302-1309), although the decoration of both façades pertains to different periods

The door on the east side, carved in sand stone, probably belongs to the 13th century or the beginning of the 14th century, although the tombstone over the door lintel refers to Sultan Muhammad V, who ruled the fortress in the second half of the 14th century. This east façade was the outer side of the gate and, therefore, the traditional Islamic symbol of the key was engraved above the arch key.

The inner side, i.e. the west façade, even when it follows a similar structural pattern, was decorated during the second mandate of Sultan Muhammad V, more specifically after 1367, the date of the military campaigns of Jaen, Baeza and Ubeda. Remarkable are the beautifully decorated spandrels hanging from the arch, made up of dry-rope manufactured tiles, and the composition of the stucco walls that frame the upper floor’s window, and the rest of well-preserved polychromatic painting on the right side of the arch.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Palace of Carlos V, Alhambra, Granada Spain

Charles V, King and elected Emperor, was a monarch that was travelling throughout Europe when he decided to build his Palace in the Alhambra. His aim was not to establish his capital in Granada but to build another royal residence, significant for its symbolic value and location: a Muslim citadel conquered by his grandparents, the Catholic Monarchs.

The construction of the Palace in the Alhambra, despite its careful design, changed the aspect of the complex, altering its internal structure and its connection to the city. The original project included a large colonnaded square to the west and a smaller square to the south, thus significantly modifying the accesses to the citadel.

The Emperor decided to build the Palace in 1526 following the “Roman” style, probably influenced by the Governor of the Alhambra and Captain General Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, whose family played an important role in the introduction of the Italian culture in Castile, although the model of the palace could also have been suggested by Baldasare Castiglione, a friend of Rafael and Giulio Romano.

The original project was designed by Pedro Machuca, trained in the artistic circle of the Rome of Lion X, who supervised the works of the palace between 1533 and 1550, the date of his death, completing the palace’s façades except for the west and east façades. Pedro was succeeded by his son Luis who developed the circular courtyard; the works were abandoned for 15 years owing to the rebellion of the Moors in Granada in 1568.

In 1619 the construction of the high colonnade of the courtyard was completed and the works continued until they were definitively abandoned in 1637, leaving the roof unfinished.

When Philip IV visited Granada in 1628 he could not stay at the Palace, as it was not inhabitable after 90 years of works. The Palace remained unfinished until Leopoldo Torres Balbas devised a plan to recover the building in 1923.

In the formal design of the Palace there was a strong intention of expressing a “Roman-like” architecture through the originality of the ground plant design, a circle enclosed in a square, and the use of the Renaissance architectural language.

Noteworthy in the general design is the use of the octagonally shaped chapel, a geometrical shape that can be considered the second core structure of the Palace, and which was very popular in the Renaissance.

The selection of the Alhambra as the site to erect the Palace manifests the triumph of Christianity over Islam. That is why it was necessary to maintain the old Islamic constructions as a counterbalance to the weight and power of the classic Roman concept of the new palace. Charles V, as the Emperor of the Sacred Roman Empire, stood in the succession line of the Roman emperors of Antiquity.

Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: Church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra, Calle Real de la Alhambra, Granada Spain

Along the Royal Road were public buildings, houses and small industries, some of which experienced alterations in their use with the passage of time.

Outstanding along this segment of the road is St Mary Church of the Alhambra, the building of which was completed in the 17th century on the site of the Alhambra’s Great Mosque; and the baths partially preserved in the house where composer Angel Barrios was born and lived, today a Museum in honour of the composer that evokes the intellectual ambience of the first third of the 20th century.

The building of the Temple, which took place between 1581 and 1618, was finished by the architect Ambrosio de Vico, who followed Herrera’s and Juan de Orea’s style, although with a much simpler and plainer building style than the original design had been.

With it its Latin-cross floor design and side chapels, it is noted for its outstanding Baroque altarpiece framed by large Solomon-style columns from 1671, and the Crucified Christ and the large images of St. Ursula and St. Susan, by Alonso de Mena.

Most important, however, is the Virgin of Anguish, a work of art done by Torcuato Ruiz del Peral between 1750 and 1760; at Easter, the Virgin is taken out of the Temple for the procession and borne on a beautiful Grenadian throne depicting the arches of the Court of the Lions embossed silver. Federico Garcia Lorca was a member of this Confraternity.

The Church is consecrated to the Catholic cult and is under the authority of the Archbishop of Granada.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Important Details

Not Included
  • Tickers for Nasrid palace, Generalife and Alcazaba
  • Entry/Admission - Puerta de la Justicia
  • Entry/Admission - Puerta del Vino
Departure Point
Puerta de la Justicia, 18009 Granada, Spain
Return Details
Returns to original departure point
Additional Info
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 2 travelers
Voucher Requirements

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

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Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.