Origin of the Nasrid Alcazar
It is obvious that the Alcazaba plainly served a military function. The entrance to the Alcazaba was at the foot of the Tower of Homage . At the base of the tower is a slight slope. A simple L-shaped walkway keeps the main gate from being seen from the outside.
The gate leads to an inner vaulted space with more turns that, at the end and before reaching the Place of Arms , opened up so that defenders could control all access and respond from above to an attack.
EIn this covered corridor there are two access points: one leading to the ground and underground floors of the Tower of Homage, and the other to the top of the wall and to the tower itself through a narrow and steep vaulted staircase.
This was not the only entrance to the Alcazaba, but probably the most important one since through it the royal guard patrolled the entire complex of the Alhambra. It also served to link it with the inner wall or the road that bordered the Alcazaba.
The interior of the Alcazaba
The area within the inner wall of the Alcazaba is what is known as the Place of Arms in medieval fortresses. It was devoted to military parades during peace time and to establish the defensive strategy when battles were to be fought. For this reason it is an open and clear space with very few constructions.
However, the Alcazaba of the Alhambra, as an enclosure integrated into a larger one, is a residential area for the royal guard of the Sultan who controlled and patrolled the palatial city, and was referred to as the Military District.
It is actually a small city, with an urban distribution similar to that of any district of a Hispanic-Muslim city. A narrow road traverses the enclosure, dividing it into two well differentiated areas. To the north, walls and pavements are grouped following an irregular pattern with houses of different sizes but similar structures: the houses were tenanted by the royal guard that lived in the enclosure with their families. On the other side, walls similar to those of the houses but were built following a more regular pattern, with larger open courtyards, with evidence of the presence of warehouses or halls for the soldiers and younger guards.