In­side his­tory

Ex­plore the Al­ham­bra

All About History - - CONTENTS -

From the Ara­bic for ‘cas­tles of red’, this stun­ning Moor­ish palace sits on top of a hill and dom­i­nates the sky­line of a par­tic­u­larly beau­ti­ful part of Spain’s An­dalu­sia. It is tes­ta­ment to the achieve­ments of the Arabs who once ruled over this land, al­though it has changed much since its con­struc­tion due mainly to the Chris­tian con­quest of 1492.

When it was con­structed in 889, the Al­ham­bra re­placed Ro­man for­ti­fi­ca­tions but it was soon ne­glected and left to rot for many decades. It was the emir Muham­mad ibn al-ah­mar who de­cided to bring it back to life in the 13th cen­tury af­ter he had es­tab­lished the Nas­rid King­dom of Granada in 1230. His ar­rival her­alded 200 years of eco­nomic and cul­tural pros­per­ity and the Al­ham­bra came to re­flect such cross-wealth.

In­deed, the Al­ham­bra con­tin­ued to evolve. Yusuf I, the sev­enth Nas­rid ruler, turned it into a royal palace in 1333 and, 15 years later, he com­mis­sioned the con­struc­tion of its im­pos­ing, arched en­trance, the Puerta de la Jus­ti­cia, or Gate of Jus­tice. To­gether with his fa­ther Is­mail I and son Muham­mad V, Yusuf de­vel­oped the Pala­cio Nazaries, the Nazareth Palaces com­plex. It was a strong seat of power in Europe, also prov­ing elab­o­rate, el­e­gant and or­nate.

Muham­mad XIII, also known as Boab­dill, was the last Nas­rid emir to en­joy it. He sur­ren­dered what had be­come a ci­tadel of de­fen­sive tow­ers and high walls to the Chris­tian Span­ish king­doms of Aragon and Castile. It al­lowed Span­ish roy­als Fer­di­nand and Is­abella to turn it in their Royal Court and, from that mo­ment on, it was fash­ioned in a Re­nais­sance style.

With many Mus­lims hav­ing moved to Africa, more build­ings were con­structed in­clud­ing a church, a Fran­cis­can Monastery and homes.

The build­ing of the Palace of Charles V in 1527 also got un­der­way, adopt­ing a Man­ner­ist style, al­though it never be­came home to a monarch and it was with­out a roof for some 430 years. To­day the Al­ham­bra is a UN­ESCO World Her­itage Site.

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