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The Nasrid and Charles V Palaces: An Alhambra Audio Guide

Decode the symbols and blend of architectural styles in the ancient city
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1 at US$20
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Audio Guide Details
1 hour 30 minutes
Product Type
Audio Guide
Photos & Highlights
Audio Guide Description
  • Dodge the crowds and explore the Alhambra at your own pace
  • Hit play together and stroll the city or wander solo, but always with an expert in your ear as your personal guide

Andalusia’s enchanting palace complex and citadel is Granada's most popular attraction, drawing around three million visitors a year. But the Alhambra was once an ancient city in its own right, completely independent from Granada, with its own laws, royal guard, and government. On this walking tour with Blanca Espigares Rooney, a Context Travel expert and architecture scholar whose family is from Alhambra, you'll see part of the former city and its famous Nasrid palaces, and trace their evolution through time. With Blanca's help, you'll learn to decode Arabic symbols and spot the Nasrid legacy left behind in these astonishing palaces. You'll also find out how Queen Isabella's decree in 1492 ended up preserving these ancient structures by allowing buildings to be adapted, but not destroyed.

Starting in front of the Puerta de la Justicia (Gate of Justice), you'll delve into some of the differences between Eastern and Western medieval architecture, including hidden entrances and multifunctional rooms. As you make your way to the Palace of Charles V, now the Museum of the Alhambra, you‘ll hear how the city went from being a defensive bastion in the 11th century to an embodiment of Renaissance opulence but through the splendor of the Nasrid dynasty. You'll be guided through the museum before entering the Nasrid Palaces, where the story of this architectural wonder unfolds. You'll see how the palaces were adapted through the centuries and where Washington Irving penned his famous Tales of the Alhambra. Along the way, Blanca will show you breathtaking views from Albaicin, this ancient hilltop district. She'll shed light on the symbols in every palace nook, from the regal lion statues in the Patio de los Leones to the celestial Arab stars depicted on the palaces' vaults and ceilings. You'll gain an understanding of the Alhambra‘s evolution across four distinctive periods, each of which made architectural contributions that echoed the spirit of the era.

On this Alhambra self-paced audio tour, you'll:

• Learn to identify and read one of the most repeated Arabic texts, mottos and phrases throughout the palaces
• Delve into the nuances between Eastern and Western medieval architecture, which include unique entrances and multifunctional rooms
• Observe and learn about taracea, a beautiful woodwork technique that involves inlaying small pieces of different wood
• Learn to distinguish four different periods in the Alhambra's history
• Understand how bright colors, large quantities of water, and hydraulic control were signs of wealth and power
• Hear about the legacy of Charles V, who orchestrated the construction of the largest palace while safeguarding ancient Nasrid marvels 
• Stand in awe before the grandeur of the world‘s largest muqarnas, a vaulted or stucco dome, in the Palace of the Lions

By the end of this 90-minute tour, you'll feel as if you've peered into the heart of the Alhambra to gain a sense of the intricate stories and architectural splendor that have shaped this enigmatic monument through the ages.

The Alhambra is open daily from 8:30 AM till 8 PM. While there are many different entrances to the Alhambra, the tour begins at the Gate of Justice, or la Puerta de la Justicia in Spanish. 

Please note: An admission ticket is required to access La Alhambra, which you can purchase here. If you buy tickets with access at a certain time, please start this tour at least 45 minutes before your official visit begins.  

This tour is wheelchair accessible and can be experienced by travelers of all capabilities. Travelers will be required to climb a set of stairs to access the inside the Puerta de la Justicia, the inside the Palace of Charles the 5th, and the downstairs balcony with the view of the Albacin. The total length of the tour is one mile.
Meet Your Expert

Blanca Espigares Rooney, an architect from the University of Seville (2003), specialising in heritage and urban studies, as well as Andalusi architecture. She has a Master’s degree in Architecture and historic heritage (2006-2007) and a PhD from the University of Granada (2015). She has worked on restoration and value enhancement projects in the Alhambra and in historic cities, which have enabled her to acquire a deep knowledge regarding their structures and main elements. Besides this, she worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Granada and actively participates in the city with conferences and activities about architecture, urbanism and heritage. Acuriosity about her is that she belongs to one of the families that are still living inside the Alhambra. Her father, her grandmother and her great-grandmother were all born and grew up inside the walls of the Alhambra.

How do I access the audio guide and download it for offline use?
Once you complete your purchase, you will receive a voucher code for your Audio Guide. You must download the Voicemap app and enter the code. 
  1. Install VoiceMap from the Apple App Store or Google Play
  2. Create an account
  3. Select Tour Codes from the menu, then select Enter Codes
  4. Enter your Voucher Code
  5. Select Download Now
Is closed captioning (i.e. subtitles) available?
Yes! All of our audio guides have the option to turn on closed captioning should you have difficulty hearing the expert.

How long does each event last?
Our recorded audio guides typically run for 75 minutes.

How can I share this audio guide with friends or family?
You are welcome to listen together with friends or family, but each person listening to the guide on their own device will need to purchase the audio guide individually.

How long does my access to the audio guide last?
Once you purchase an audio guide, you are welcome to listen to it as many times as you would like. Your access to a purchased audio guide does not expire.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Sales for recorded audio guides are final upon purchase. Please contact us at digital@contexttravel.com if you have any questions or concerns about your purchase.

Can I purchase a gift card for a friend who is traveling?
Absolutely! Gift cards can be purchased here. Gift cards are good for 365 days from the date of purchase.

1 Review (5.0)

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This was an excellent audio tour worth every penny and more! We couldn’t schedule an in person tour so I ordered the audio and hoped for the best. Wow excellent tour, voice pleasant, the only thing we missed was being able to ask questions. I hope that context make more of these audio tours available.