Alhambra

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The Alhambra is situated on a hill above Granada, and is the main reason for a visit to Granada. It is the last and greatest Moorish palace, highlighting the splendour of the Moorish civilization in the 13th and 14th Centuries. Approximately 8000 visitors tour it each day and advance reservations are essential.
 

The Alhambra was the last stronghold of the Nazarid Muslims who were conquered as the Christian "reconquista" moved south.

From the palace walls there is a view of Albayzn, and of the viewpoint there looking back across at the Alhambra.
 

The Moors who ruled Spain for 800 years had an advanced civilization of education, philosophy, literature and science.

The Alhambra was neglected and vandalized for centuries until it was rediscovered by European travelers and scholars in the 19th Century.

 

The Generalife, with a small summer palace and fruit, herb, and vegetable gardens supplied the 2000 residents of the Alhambra. While some of the garden has been replanted, many features are of the original 600 year old plantings and irrigation system.

The Nazares Palaces are the highlight of the Alhambra. They are built around three courtyards interconnected with passageways. Architecture features ornate pillars, domes, friezes and stuccowork.

The Courtyard of the Lions features an 11th Century fountain supported by 12 stone lions and surrounded by arcades of slender columns.

Rooms and chambers feature geometric patterns and ceilings decorated with a unique stucco "stalactite" effect illuminated by clerestory windows.
 

The Charles V palace, built by the Holy Roman Emperor on the grounds of the conquered Muslim sultans, is a unique circular design intended to have a dome that was never built. Rooms under the porticos serve as an art gallery.

 

The Comares Tower is the highest in the Alhambra. It is said that this is where the sultans surrendered Granada to the Catholic monarchs, and where Queen Isabel offered her jewellery to Columbus to finance his expedition.

Throughout the grounds the Moorish architectural elements are evident.

Walls and pillars are adorned with stylized arabesques and Arabic script quoting verses from the Koran.

As the complex was altered by Charles V, European Renaissance designs were incorporated. 

 

The Court of Myrtles is the central courtyard of the Nazares Palace, around which the royal chambers were arranged.

 

Courtyards and terraced gardens, fountains and flowing water are predominant features of the complex, remarkable engineering feats of the time.

 

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This site was last updated 03/14/15