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The Alhambra

Spain's stunning Moorish palace is adorned with eye-catching Islamic art.
  Known for its perfectly Instagrammable gardens, intricate geometric archways and I bright blue fountains, the Alhambra in the Andalusian city of Granada is one of Europe's finest examples of Islamic art and architecture. But the Alhambra doesn't just offer one castle it has three.
  What began life as a Roman mountain fortress would be completely transformed by the Moorish Nasrid dynasty, whose roots lay in what is now Saudi Arabia. The 12th-century ruler Muhammad I of Granada saw the old Roman fortification's potential, and rebuilt it to overlook the city.
  His successors continued his work and added a palace fit for a king or a sultan. The complex design also included a marketplace, public baths, offices and workshops, essentially making it a city within a city. Decorated floor to ceiling with delicate patterns, Arabic calligraphy and white marble, the Alhambra's Nasrid Palace and its gardens were also kitted out with the latest technology, including an irrigation system for the Generalife Gardens.
  But after the re-Christianisation of Spain in 1492, the new Catholic kings and queens built their own palace on the site, to overshadow the one built by the nation's former Muslim rulers. The Palace of Carlos V's classic Renaissance styling contrasts starkly with the Nasrid buildings, but somehow it works.
  The old city of Granada and the Alhambra absolutely must be seen by anyone travelling in southern Spain, but to make the most of your trip you'll need to plan carefully. Be sure to buy your tickets well in advance, as they only sell a few hundred tickets on the door each day - and people will queue up overnight to grab them. Your ticket specifies an entry time for the Nasrid palaces, but you are free to wander around the rest of the complex at your leisure.
   Once you've made your way past the entrance gates, you'll find yourself in the Generalife Gardens, inspired by the paradise gardens of Persia. You'll discover a huge variety of colourful flowers, flowing water features and shady spots under fruit trees, and you could spend hours here - but you'll have to tear yourself away from it all to visit the magnificent palaces themselves.
  To see how the Christian kings tried to outshine their Arab predecessors, visit the Palace of Carlos V - though you can only explore the inner courtyard. This is a perfect circle, reminiscent of Spain's famous bullrings.
  When your time comes, cross the threshold into the Nasrid palaces, which include the famous Court of the Lions. Look out for gorgeous Arabesque patterns in the doorways all around the palace - the delight is in the detail. Stained glass windows give the palace a burst of colour when it catches the light, and if you peer out of them, you'll see yet more colourful gardens below.
  For a taste of the Alhambra's original purpose, clamber along the battlements of the Alcazaba. an Arab fort built over Roman ruins. When you reach the top. survey the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Alhambra complex and the city of Granada from your vantage point-you'll soon understand why this place has been prized by generals, kings and sultans for centuries.