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8 Curiosities of the Alhambra in Granada

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The Alhambra in Granada is one of the most visited monuments in the world, which hides a multitude of legends and secrets that have not yet been fully deciphered. In this post we will tell you 8 curiosities of the Alhambra that will surely not leave you indifferent.

1. The secrets hidden in poems on walls

Curiosities of the Alhambra of Granada
Inscriptions on the walls of the Alhambra of Granada

Have you ever noticed that the walls of the Alhambra have inscriptions in Arabic? It's not just a simple decoration, but the Alhambra tells its own story with poems and fragments of the Koran, which you can find in the different rooms of the palaces.

2. Museum of the Alhambra and the Museum of Fine Arts

Inside the Alhambra complex is the Museum of the Alhambra, did you know it? Palace of Charles V and is completely free of charge. Its seven chronologically arranged rooms contain entire vases of Arab ceramics and are dedicated to Hispano-Muslim art and culture.

There is also the Museum of Fine Arts, which is the most important art gallery in the city.

3. The legend of the Sundial

The sundial is one of the legends and curiosities of the Alhambra in Granada.
The Alhambra in Granada

Another curiosity of the Alhambra in Granada is that some consider it to be the largest sundial on the planet. They claim that it is built in such a way that you can tell what time it is depending on the shadow in its rooms. At 12 o'clock in the morning the Alhambra is divided into two parts, one lit by the sun and the other in the shade.

4. ¿The Palace of Charles V is unfinished?

The unfinished Palace of Charles V
The Palace of Charles V

The Emperor Charles V He wanted to provide the Alhambra with an enclosure with all the comforts of the time, and so he ordered the construction of the well-known New Palace, but he did not manage to see it come to fruition.

The construction of this building began in 1533, but it was not until 1958 that it was covered and almost completely finished. It is a square palace, with a main façade measuring 63 metres wide by 17 metres high, with a circular courtyard in the centre, unique in its style and the most outstanding work of the Renaissance in Spain. However, only the south and west façades are fully decorated. To date, many questions remain to be answered before its construction is completed, such as the sculptural programme for the interior.

This is undoubtedly one of the most curious and surprising facts about the Alhambra.

5. The Alhambra, known as the Red City

"Alhambra" in Arabic is "al-Hamrā", which translates as "the Red", from the full name "al-Qal'a al-hamra" meaning "red castle". Hence the Alhambra is known as the red city. However, it is also claimed that in the Andalusian period the Alhambra was white in colour and that the name 'red' comes from when it was built and worked on at night, because from afar, by torchlight, it looked red. 

On the other hand, there are others who claim that "Alhambra" comes from the feminine name of Abu al-Ahmar (Muhammad I) who was its founder and that in Arabic it means "The Red One". What is the true story?

6. The different social classes did not intersect

curiosities of the alhambra granada 3
Inside the Alhambra

Each social class had its own way of approaching the sultanate. On the one hand, there was the corridor of the cleaners; on the other, that of the scribes and administrators; and, of course, that of the sultan and his family, called the classroom tour. They shared the same space, but without mixing!

7. The Tower of the Infantas

There is a legend that says that the three Arab princesses were imprisoned in this tower, Zaida, Zoraida or Zorahaida, daughters of King Muhammad VII. Hence the name The Tower of the Infantas.

It was a tower away from the main palace, where the king decided to lock up his daughters, when he discovered that they escaped one night through the sale with some Christian soldiers. You can find out more about this legend in the Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving.

8. Find the differences between the lions

curiosities alhambra granada 5
The Fountain of the Patio de los Leones

The courtyard of the lionsThese 12 similar lions are different from each other. The features of their fur, their jaws and their expressiveness are marked by their alert posture, raised ears and clenched teeth. Two of the lions have a small triangle on their foreheads indicating that they belong to the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Levi. Each lion represents a symbol of the zodiac.

Did you like these curiosities of the Alhambra of Granada? These are just some of the secrets hidden in the Alhambra. From now on when you visit the Alhambra you will be able to enjoy every corner of this marvel of Andalusia much more.

We invite you to take part in our day trip with entrance tickets to the Alhambra and bus transfers included from Malaga and the Costa del Sol and we leave you more information about this monument.

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