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Author: Sarah Last updated: Wed 26 May 04:34
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The history behind the Alhambra of Granada

The history behind the Alhambra of Granada

Heritage site

Spain is rich in ancient culture and architecture; the Alhambra of Granada stands tall in modern Spain to bear witness to past glories. Also, the transformations of the castle over time depict the historical ups and downs of the Spanish rulers.

In 1984, the Alhambra was stated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site and two other similar sites: the Generalife Garden and the Albaicin (Albayzin). The Alhambra of Granada provides a stunning view of the whole city, as well as plains. The Alhambra has an irregular shape and is bordered by the guarding walls. The Alhambra extends about twenty-six acres in fine, with the wall more than one mile, numerous smaller structures, and thirty towers. The building is an architectural wonder that is famous all around the world. For its historical importance and structural brilliance, the tourists consider it one of Spain's best places to visit.

The historical facts of the Alhambra of Granada

The history of Alhambra is related to the geographic locality where it is present, Granada; on a coarse rocky hill with hard access, on the bank of the Darro river, surrounded by a forest and protected by mountains, amongst the ancient most districts of the city, the Alhambra stands like a striking castle with a reddish tinge in its walls that mask the exterior, which is the intricate beauty of its delicate interior.

Alhambra was initially designed as a military zone in the beginning. In the mid-13th century, Alhambra turned into the court of Granada and a royal residence after the founding of Nasrid Kingdom and the establishment of the first palace by King Mohammed ibn Yusuf Ben Nasr, commonly known as Alhamar.

Throughout the XVIII, XIV, & XV, the castle became a fort of defensive towers and high walls, which shelters two main areas: Alcazaba or the military zone, depots of the royal guard, and the palatine city or medina, where the famous Nasrid buildings and the leftovers of the homes of plebeians and nobles who lived there.

The monumental complex also possesses a separate palace ahead of the Alhambra, bordered by gardens and orchards, which was the relief of the Granadine kings, the Generalife.

The name "Alhambra" finds its origin in an Arabic word which means "vermilion or red castle," most probably due to the colour shade of walls and towers that completely border the La Sabica hill that assumes the silver colour in the light of stars, but attains a golden tone in the sunlight. Although, there is a more fancy explanation, reported by the Muslim historians who discuss the establishment of the castle "under the light of the torches." Built primarily for military objectives, the Alhambra was a castle, a small medina, a palace, all of these at the same time. These three characters of the Alhambra assist us in understanding the many features of this historical building.

There is no evidence of the Alhambra being used as the residence of royalties until the thirteenth century, although the barrier has been there since the ninth century. The Zirtians, the first kings of the Granada, had their palaces and castles in the mountains of Albaicin, and today, nothing remains. The monarch Ziries were most probably the emirs who had established the Alhambra, starting back in 1238.

Muhammad Al-Ahmar, the founder of the dynasty, started with the repair of the old palace. His son, Muhammad II, completed his work. Again, his immediate followers continued the restoration. The establishment of the palaces (known as Casa Real Vieja) extends back to the fourteenth century and is the contribution of two glorious kings Muhammad V and Yusuf I. The second is awarded. Among others, the Door of Justice, the Fourth Comares, some towers, and The Baths. Muhammad V, his son, completed the decorative work of the castles with the Hall of Lions, a supplement to other fortifications and rooms.

The end of Islamic rule

 The roots of the Islamic dynasty were deeply carved in Spanish architecture. The Alhambra of Granada is just one such example.

In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Aragon conquered the city of Granada, unifying Spain under the supervision of a Catholic monarchy. In this way, the centuries of Islamic rule on Granada came to an end. Also, the last Nasrid ruler, Muhammad XII ( also known as Boabdil by the Spanish historians), was exiled.

Following this historic turnaround, the Alhambra underwent a lot of changes. Charles V, who governed Spain as Charles I, decreed the demolishing of a part of the castle to establish a Renaissance-like palace for himself, named the Charles V Palace. He put up other buildings and a church in place of the mosque of Alhambra, the Queen's Dressing Room, and the Emperor's Chambers.

In short, the Alhambra turned into a Christian court in 1492 when the   Catholic Monarchs conquered Granada. Later on, different structures were established to shelter elite citizens, armed force barracks, a Franciscan Monastery, and a Church.

Alhambra Today

An American author, Washington, took up residence at this castle in 1829.  He wrote and published "Tales of the Alhambra," a compilation of stories and essays about the Granada.

In the year 2009, at the time of the 150th death anniversary of Irving, the managers of the Alhambra placed a statue of the writer in a park in front of the palace to remember his role in introducing Western people to the historical aspect of the Islamic history of Spain.

The Alhambra is among the most magnificent historical places in Spain. Also, the Alhambra is visited every month by hundreds of tourists from different parts of the world. The historical significance fortifies the architectural beauty of the castle. Both of these factors combine to make the Alhambra of Granada such a huge tourist attraction. Also, many historians visit the mighty palace for their professional relatedness with the site. In fine, if you want to see the glories of ancient Spanish dynasties living in the Spain of today, you could not find a better place!

For more info, visit: https://www.alhambradegranada.org/

For more information on travel in Spain, visit our sight-seeing section: https://www.visitodo.com/activity/sight-seeing

 

 

 

 

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