General

Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-11th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.

Alhambra’s Islamic palaces, as we know them today, were built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain and the court of the Nasrid dynasty. After the conquest of Granada by the Reyes Católicos (“Catholic Monarchs”) in 1492, some portions were used by Christian rulers. The Palace of Charles V, built by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1527, was inserted in the Alhambra within the Nasrid fortifications. After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the buildings being occupied by squatters, Alhambra was rediscovered in the 19th century by European scholars and travelers, with restorations commencing. It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspiration for many songs and stories.

La Alhambra se levanta sobre la colina de la Sabika, uno de los puntos más elevados de la ciudad de Granada. Este emplazamiento buscaba una situación estratégica defensiva y a la vez transmitir un claro símbolo de poder, donde la cima del poder es muy perceptible para el resto de la ciudad, una ubicación escogida para ser contemplado.3 La ocupación de esta colina data de tiempos romanos. Del año 899 datan las primeras referencias escritas de un emplazamiento militar en la zona. A mediados del siglo XI, al convertirse Granada en capital del reino de Taifa, bajo la dinastía ziríes, se amplían las construcciones.

La Alhambra pasó a ser residencia real, con la llegada al poder de Muhammad ibn Nasr, primer monarca del Reino nazarí de Granada, en 1238, para lo que creó un abastecimiento de agua propio. Las construcciones más lujosas de los palacios que hoy se conservan el palacio de Comares y de los Leones, proceden del siglo XIV. El conjunto tiene una forma alargada e irregular adaptada a la forma de la colina sobre la que se levanta. Su longitud es de 740 m. y su anchura varía entre los 180 y los 40 metros.

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