Alhambra

Alhambra

The Alhambra (Arabic: الْحَمْرَاء‎, Al-Ḥamrā’ , /ælˈhæmbrə/, Spanish: [aˈlambɾa]),[a] the complete form of which was Calat Alhambra,[b] is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-11th century by the Moorish king Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Kingdom of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.

The Alhambra’s Islamic palaces were built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain and the court of the Nasrid dynasty. After the Reconquista by the Reyes Católicos (“Catholic Monarchs”) in 1492, some portions were used by Christian rulers. The Palace of Charles V, built by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1527, was inserted in the Alhambra within the Nasrid fortifications. After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the Alhambra was rediscovered in the 19th century by European scholars and travelers, with restorations commencing. It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspiration for many songs and stories.

Moorish poets described it as “a pearl set in emeralds,” an allusion to the colour of its buildings and the woods around them. The palace complex was designed with the mountainous site in mind and many forms of technology were considered. The park (Alameda de la Alhambra), which is overgrown with wildflowers and grass in the spring, was planted by the Moors with roses, oranges, and myrtles; its most characteristic feature, however, is the dense wood of English elms brought by the Duke of Wellington in 1812. The park has a multitude of nightingales and is usually filled with the sound of running water from several fountains and cascades. These are supplied through a conduit 8 km (5.0 mi) long, which is connected with the Darro at the monastery of Jesus del Valle above Granada.

Despite long neglect, willful vandalism, and some ill-judged restoration, the Alhambra endures as an atypical example of Muslim art in its final European stages, relatively uninfluenced by the direct Byzantine influences found in the Mezquita of Cordova. The majority of the palace buildings are quadrangular in plan, with all the rooms opening on to a central court, and the whole reached its present size simply by the gradual addition of new quadrangles, designed on the same principle, though varying in dimensions, and connected with each other by smaller rooms and passages. The Alhambra was extended by the different Muslim rulers who lived in the complex. However, each new section that was added followed the consistent theme of “paradise on earth”. Column arcades, fountains with running water, and reflecting pools were used to add to the aesthetic and functional complexity. In every case, the exterior was left plain and austere. Sun and wind were freely admitted. Blue, red, and a golden yellow, all somewhat faded through lapse of time and exposure, are the colors chiefly employed.

The decoration consists, as a rule, of Arabic inscriptions that are manipulated into sacred geometrical patterns wrought into arabesques. Painted tiles are largely used as panelling for the walls. The palace complex is designed in the Mudéjar style, which is characteristic of western elements reinterpreted into Islamic forms and widely popular during the Reconquista, the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslims by the Christian kingdoms.

Outline
The Alhambra (Arabic: الْحَمْرَاء‎, Al-Ḥamrā' , /ælˈhæmbrə/, Spanish: [aˈlambɾa]),[a] the complete form of which was Calat Alhambra,[b] is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain.

Recommended world heritage video

  1. Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija

    Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija

  2. The Wadden Sea

    The Wadden Sea

  3. Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza

    Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza

  1. Tower of Hercules

    Tower of Hercules

  2. Gough and Inaccessible Islands

    Gough and Inaccessible Islands

  3. Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)

    Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)

  1. Historic Centre of Riga

    Historic Centre of Riga

  2. Santiago de Compostela (Old Town)

    Santiago de Compostela (Old Town)

  3. Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

    Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

  1. Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica

    Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica

  2. Litomyšl Castle

    Litomyšl Castle

  3. Roskilde Cathedral

    Roskilde Cathedral

  1. Universidade de Coimbra

    Universidade de Coimbra

  2. Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

    Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

  3. City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg

    City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg

  1. Lednice – Valtice Cultural Landscape

    Lednice – Valtice Cultural Landscape

  2. Episcopal City of Albi

    Episcopal City of Albi

  3. Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida

    Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida

  1. Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe

    Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe

  2. Semmering Railway

    Semmering Railway

  3. Ring of Brodgar

    Ring of Brodgar

  1. Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna

    Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna

  2. The Trulli of Alberobello

    The Trulli of Alberobello

  3. Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

    Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

  1. Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct

    Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct

  2. Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

    Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

  3. Pyrénées – Mont Perdu

    Pyrénées – Mont Perdu

  1. Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

    Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

  2. Alto Douro Wine Region

    Alto Douro Wine Region

  3. Las Médulas

    Las Médulas

  1. Medieval Town of Torun

    Medieval Town of Torun

  2. Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof

    Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof

  3. L’viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

    L’viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

  1. Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto

    Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto

  2. Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces

    Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces

  3. Meteora

    Meteora

  1. Limes

    Limes

  2. Warszawa

    Warszawa

  3. Historic Site of Lyons

    Historic Site of Lyons

facebook comments
Comment
To the Top