Alhambra (qa’lat al-Hamra’)

Alhambra, which literally translates to red castle, is a palace-fortress settled in the rocky hills west of the city of Granada and is first noted from the 9th century. The Nasrid dynasty began a tradition of housing the royal family here when it began with Mohammed I in the 13th century and the palace began to flourish. He implemented repairs to various parts of the palace and utilized the nearby river, Darro, to help make life around the palace easier. His successors would build public baths, a mosque, and splendid decorations and additions that are still admired to this day, though many of the later king’s additions were not destroyed. Catholic monarchs  eventually undertake Granada, and their grandson, Charles V, he makes his Spanish home at Alhambra. Charles demolished many Muslim aspects of the palace in favor of Catholic infrastructure and design, including a forth palace. 

The three other palaces were El Mexuar was an audience chamber where most state occasions occurred and remained semipublic. The following was the Comares Palace, which was the official royal residence and hosted exquisite features including a grand courtyard named the Court of Mrtyle and the fortress’ largest tower. It’s design was typically influenced by Muslim culture. The final palace was the Palacio de les Leones (Palace of Lions) and was named for the complex marble fountain it features. It was used as a harem pre-Christian conquest but had influences from Christian art due to Mohammad V’s relationship with the Castilian King, Pedro I, the Cruel. 

The palace-fortress was abandoned in the 18th century and restorations began in the 19th century. This is one of the few medieval palaces you can still standing and you can tour if you are ever traveling the area. 

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Notable Sources: 

“The Alhambra (Alhambra Palace Spain) (Article).” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, http://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonial-americas/ap-art-islamic-world-medieval/a/the-alhambra.