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Travel Europe Spain A pearl set in emeralds - The Alhambra

A pearl set in emeralds - The Alhambra

Granada, Spain, Alhambra overview

The Alhambra takes its name from the Arabic al-Kasr al-Hamra, which means "red castle". It is a fortified palace complex located on a hilltop above the Spanish city of Granada. The complex is one of the most important remains of the Moorish domination of the Iberian Peninsula in medieval times.

In 1238, founder of the dynasty Nasrid – Muhammad I, drew his residence in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, in a place called Granada. In the next one hundred years, under the supervision of the successive princes has worked on a unique collection of buildings The Alhambra.

The Moors were then almost completely expelled from the Iberian Peninsula: Cordoba, the capital of the Caliphate was in 1236 and Seville cases fell in 1248.The tiny Granada it was spared because Muhammad himself vassal of the King of Castile said.

In this wonderful and fragile political situation arose in the Alhambra, according to the poet Ibn Al-Jajjab "a fortress and pleasure garden together". The outpost on the fringe of the medieval Islamic world was an embodiment of all that precious Moorish civilization had to offer - culture, taste and refinement - but within a protected area surrounded by high walls it was Beauty inside and strength.

Between the walls of the Alhambra have been at least six palaces, built in Oriental style with garden rooms, homes, patios and baths. The oldest buildings are austere, military appearance, but later princes tried to surpass each other with exquisite architecture. The Alhambra reached its peak during the reign of Mohammed V, including in the first half of the fourteenth century Leo Palace, and Leeuwenhof Mirtenhof built.

The palace buildings are mostly made of brick, with only small-scale use of concrete and cement. Marble is almost exclusively used for paving and columns. Architectural highlights include ceramic mosaics on the floors, the plaster with floral motifs and inscriptions in the star-shaped dome in the Sala de los Abencerajes. But the really spectacular of the Alhambra is the interplay between architecture and nature, the harmony between bricks, trees, ponds and fountains.