Alhambra is Spain’s most visited monument, with approx. 2 million people visiting per year, and that breaks down to around 8500 people per day. The palace and fortress are situated in the city of Granada in southern Spain’s Andalusia region.
The Al-Hamra` palace was built in the mid-13th century by the Arab Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.
The Fountain of the Lions alabaster fountain and basin with 12 marble lions to symbolize strength, power and sovereignty. At the edge of the fountain there is a poem written by Ibn Zamrak. This praises the beauty of the fountain and the power of the lions, but it also describes their ingenious hydraulic systems and how they actually worked, which baffled all those who saw them.
After the Christian Reqonquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and it was in this palace that Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition to sail the “wrong way” to India, and thus discovering the Americas.
This is the Puerta de la Justicia (Gate of Justice), a massive horseshoe archway surmounted by a square tower and used by the Moors as an informal court of justice.
Access from the city to the Alhambra Park is afforded by the Puerta de las Granadas (Gate of Pomegranates), a triumphal arch dating from the 15th century. A steep ascent leads past the Pillar of Charles V, a fountain erected in 1554, to the main entrance of the Alhambra.