What´s the Difference Between an Alcazar and an Alcazaba?

That was my question. A thought while strolling around the impressive Alcazaba in Malaga, the sprawling hilltop fortress with views across the city and the Mediterranean.

Almost on par with the Alhambra I was enthralled. Patios, roof turrets, death-defying wall-top walkways (no health and safety barriers here), arches, pebble mosaics and water features. Just my thing. On a warm Saturday in April there were few visitors, maybe being the two-hour lunch time helped too.

Alcazaba in Malaga


I spent two hours and took over a hundred photos there. It was stunning, romantic and so obviously Arabic by design, built mainly in the 11th century. It is now linked to the Castillo de Gibralfaro a little further up the hill.

On returning home I asked my eldest sons (Spanish school system educated) if they knew what the difference was between an Alcazar and an Alcazaba, they didn't. My understanding so far - an Alcazar was a fortified palace built for a king, of which there were many in the Moorish era, and an Alcazaba was a fortified or defensive city, home to the troops.

Alcazaba in Malaga


And what is the difference between a castle and an Alcazar or an Alcazaba? Alcazar is a Spanish word meaning castle, palace or fortress, from Arabic - It´s all clear now isn´t it.

Below I´ve listed the Alcazar and Alcazaba list of Spanish monuments, there are also many monuments with the title castle or castillo which I haven´t put down but will look into also.

Alcazaba in Malaga



Fortresses in Spain

Alcazaba de Almeria

Alcazaba and Murallas del Cerro de San Cristobal in Almeria

Alcazaba de Antequera

Alcazaba de Guadix

Alcazaba de Malaga

Alcazar Andalusi in Cordoba

Alcazar de Cadima in Granada

Alcazar de Don Rey Pedro in Carmona

Alcazar Genil

Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos in Cordoba

Alcazar de Jerez de la Frontera

Alcazar de Salamanca

Alcazar de Segovia

Alcazar de Sevilla

Alcazar de Toledo

Alcazar de Ubeda

Alcazaba Walls in Malaga