sights / Military

Alcazaba information

Almería , Spain
Calle Almanzor
Opening hours
9am-7.30pm Tue-Sat Apr–mid-Jun, to 3.30pm Tue-Sat mid-Jun–mid-Sep, to 5.30pm Tue-Sat mid-Sep–Mar, to 3.30pm Sun all year
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A looming fortification with great curtain-like walls rising from the cliffs, the Alcazaba was founded in the mid-10th century and was one of the most powerful Moorish fortresses in Spain. It lacks the intricate decoration of Granada's Alhambra, but is nonetheless a compelling monument. Allow about 1½ hours to see everything. Pick up a guide leaflet in one of several languages at the kiosk, just inside the four-arch entrance gate.

The Alcazaba is divided into three distinct recintos (compounds). The lowest, the Primer Recinto , was residential, with houses, streets, wells, baths and other necessities – now replaced by lush gardens and water channels. From the battlements you can see the Muralla de Jayrán , a fortified wall built in the 11th century to defend the outlying northern and eastern parts of the city, as well as stunning city and coastal views.

In the Segundo Recinto you’ll find the ruins of the Muslim rulers’ palace, built by the taifa ruler Almotacín (r 1051–91), under whom medieval Almería reached its peak, plus a chapel, the Ermita de San Juan , that was originally a mosque. The highest section, the Tercer Recinto , is a citadel added by the Catholic Monarchs.