The Alhambra the complete form of which was Calat Alhamra, is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain.
On a rocky hill that is difficult to access, on the banks of the River Darro, protected by mountains and surrounded by woods, among the oldest quarters in the city, the Alhambra rises up like an imposing castle with reddish tones in its ramparts that prevent the outside world from seeing the delicate beauty they enclose.
It was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889. After years of neglect, the Moorish king of Grenada renovated it in the 11th century. The fortress was to later be converted into a royal palace in the 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.
After the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabel) conquered Andalucía in 1492, parts of the Alhambra were used by the Christian rulers, and eventually the mosque was replaced by a church.
In 1527, the palace of Charles V was built within the complex as a permanent residence for the Monarch.
Then the complex fell into disrepair, inhabited by vagrants, and even being used as soldiers’ barracks during Napoleonic times.
Alhambra was rediscovered in the nineteenth century by European scholars and travelers, with restorations commencing.
During the French Domination of Spain, part of the Alhambra was destroyed but it was later restored, parts of which was done as late as the nineteenth century.
Today it is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well known Islamic architecture, together with sixteenth century and later Christian building and garden interventions.
The plateau where the Alhambra sits measures about 740 meters (2,430 feet) in length by 205 meters (670 feet) at its greatest width.
The Royal complex is divided in three sections: Mexuar, Serallo, and the Harem.
The Mexuar was used to conduct business and administrative functions. It’s simply decorated, dark wood and plaster walls.
The Serallo is instead much richer in his finishes, featuring colored interiors, dado panels and finely decorated ceilings called artesonado.
The most prominent feature of the Serallo is the Court of the Myrtles. The reflective pool at the center of the patio helped cooling the palace and it was also a symbol of power;only the sovran could afford the complicated technology to deliver water ,in short supply at the time, to the patio.
The big tower hosting the Ambassadors Hall the largest hall in the Alhambra. In this very room Christopher Columbus received help from the Queen Isabella and King Ferdinando to jumpstart his new world adventure.
The Palace of the Lions is where Nasrid art reaches the top of its expression. The geometrical patterns of the previous era are abandoned for a Christian influenced natural style. The peak is reached in the Palace of the Lions with its beautiful alabaster fountain.
In the Harem section is the Hall of the Abencerrages.This room is a perfect square, with a lofty dome and trellised windows at its base. The roof is decorated in blue, brown, red and gold, and the columns supporting it spring out into the arch form in a remarkably beautiful manner.
Opposite to the Hall of the Abencerrages is the Hall of the two Sisters. The room features an incredible dome honeycombed ceiling, one of the highest examples of Moors stalactite vaulting.
The Generalife is a villa dating back to the beginning of fourteenth century. The structure is separated from the main Alhambra complex. The most remarkable features are the Court of the Water Channel, and the Sultana’s Garden or Courtyard of the Cypress, the oldest surviving Moorish garden.
Its delightful multi-level garden features pebble mosaic floors, shady grottos and lush flora: bamboo, palm, cypress and pine trees; rose, honeysuckle and wisteria; and granada (pomegranate).
Palace of Charles V – The work was done by architect Pedro Machuca. It is a masonry building with a facade of 63 meters (206 feet) wide and 17.40 meters (57 feet) tall, built with blocks of 55 centimeters, rusticated stone to rustic, Renaissance-inspired, like the Medici Palace Florence.
The concept of the project is extremely original, above all due to the addition of the round porticoed courtyard in the external square block and the harmonious distribution of the strengths.
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 color of its buildings and the woods around them.
There is a main belt asteroid named Alhambra.
It’s a multiplayer location for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood’s final DLC.
This serves as a location for the Spain stage in The King of Fighters (1998). Alhambra is a wonder in Civilization V: Gods & Kings.