The Alhambra Granada Spain
Dawn of the Alhambra
Fierce civil wars ravaged in al-Andalusia during reign of Emir Abdullah ibn-Muhammad (888 to 912 AD).
In one battle, rebelling Muladies had crushed the Arabs, who sought refuge in humble red-coloured castle which was situated on a hill. The castle's defences provided scant protection for the Arabs.
The castle served its purpose but incurred severe damages and was almost forgotten about...
Location of the Red Castle
The castle was sited on a natural plateau, on Sabikah hill, in Andalucia Spain
Below that hill, there was a significant Jewish quarter: Jewish refugees who settled from the time of Nebuchadnezzar 586 BC.
That Jewish quarter was called the Albayzin, it was a suburb of the city of Gárnata, in the province of Elvira: Medina Elvira was the capital of Granada - until the fall of the Cordovan Caliphate.
The Albayzin Jews aided the Moors during the invasion of the Iberian peninsula and helped them to take Granada. The Moors took possession of the city: 711 - 713 AD.
The Albayzin grew.
Jewish Samuel ibn-Nahgralla was the Vizier to King Habbus of Granada. Samuel ibn-Nahgralla built himself a palace on the ruins of the red castle. Its plot was that of the Alhambra's Alcazaba
Overtime the city of Granada evolved around the Albayzin.
From 1055 to 1066 AD, local Muslims grew to resent the Jews. 30th December 1066,, there was a massive revolt instigated by the Berber Muslims against the Jewish community. The mob seized and murdered Joseph ibn-Naggralla by crucifiction (the following vizier after Samuel: Joseph was his son). The castle was smashed to ruins and 4,000 Spanish Jews lost their lives.
The Alcazaba and the Patio de Armas
Do theses names sound familiar?
Yes, the construction of The Alhambra AND Malaga Alcazaba had similar names and were identical in some details, they were built and designed by the same people.
The Alcazaba palace was built several times.
Alhambra history is more detailed in Alhambra: Palaces
Etymology of Alcazaba (from the Arabic word al-qasba): fortress
Various Etymologies of Granada
- Gárnata, Granada of the Jews: a small Jewish district
- Moorish name: Ilbiria
- Christian name: Elvira
- Roman name: Illiberis
- Greek name: Elibyrge
Who originally built the Red Castle?
The Red castle was originally built by either the Phoenicians, or the Greeks.
The Romans during the Roman Spain
period improved its contruction.
Granada in Spanish means: a pomegranate.
After the city of Granada was established as province's capital. The Moors chose
as a city crest symbol. To this day the pomegranate symbol
Significances of Sacred Geometric patterns islamic art and architecture 1
Pomegranates represented on the entrance paving of Mexuar Palace.
Taifa (petty Kingdom) of Granada 1013 to 1091
The Zihrids were a Berber tribe.
After the civil war of the Cordovan Caliphate. The palatine city of Madinat-az-Zahra
was completely destroyed. The Zirid clan, moved from Cordoba and took-up residence in Granada.
Medina Elvira during the 8th to 11th century was the ancient city of the Cordovan Caliphate (and during the Emirate). It was also destroyed being part of the Cordovan Caliphate. However, Elvira's roots, belong to previous civilizations.
The Christians effaced Elvira completely during the reconquista. Granada's Archaeological and Ethynological museum, has remnants of its existence.
Zawi ben-Ziri, the Zirid clan chief, created an Independent Kingdom - from this point - Granada became capital of the Granada province.
Etymology of the Arabic Word Alhambra: "The Red One."
The Fortress walls of the Alhambra were constructed with locally-made bricks. These sundried bricks were composed of clay and gravel from the surrounding area. Naturally high iron levels in the soil-content, caused a red-hue reflection.
The Alhambra Symbolized
Identical to the Madinat az-Zahra
, the Alhambra, primarily, glorified Islam, the Sultan and God by means of its spectacular Hispano-Moorish and islamic art and architecture
. The Alhambra also represented the power of the Sultan in both religion and political matters. And the Alhambra was "home" to its inhabitants.
Model of the Alhambra Granada Spain
Model in Torre de la Calahorra, Cordoba
The Alhambra Plateau
The Alhambra site is on a singular landscape, which was carved by a fast-flowing river: the Darro. The above natural plateau was sheared off from the below Albayzin district by a deep ravine.
The plateau area covers 142,000 m2, sweeping W.N.W. to E.N.E.
View ranges are panoramic, spanning to the heights of the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada, over the city, over the Alpujarras in the south and towards the Antequeran vegas in the west.
There were thirteen watch-towers (until Napoleon's troops blew-up a couple of the watch-towers in 1812 AD, during the war of Independence) and fortified walls protected the Alhambra site, which eventually, overspread the entire plateau.
The Alhambra was a City within a Fortress
Highlights of the Alhambra's Architecture are found on this page - Gems of the Alhambra
The "Old Royal Palaces" have the best features of Alhambra (details on this page) - The Nazrid Palaces
Detail of Taracea Craftsmanship, Mexuar Palace Alhambra
There are four distinct zones:
- The Alhambra Palaces: Los Palacios Nazaries
- The Alcazaba - or military zone
- The Medina - where the city lay
- The Generalife - the summer palace
The Alhambra park is situated in the Assabica valley sweeping from the south to the west. Moorish Water Gardens
, parks and flower areas were generously distributed. Unseen to visitors were vast vegetable gardens
and fruit orchards which supplied the Alhambra inhabitants. Excellence in Water Technology
, farming and gardening remained a scientific project in Moorish Agriculture
Places That Require Alhambra Tickets
To gain the most benefit from your visit to the Alhambra, you need at least half-a-day and preferably, a whole day. Don't forget to carry water
Alhambra Tickets are required for:
- The Alcazaba
- The Palacios Nazaries
- The Partal Gardens and the Generalife
Palacio Carlos Quinto
Carlos V was grandson of the Catholic kings.
Carlos V decided to make Granada his power-base and built an Italianate palace in the midst of the Alhambra. The palace starkly contrasts with the beauty of the surrounding Islamic architecture. This interior patio encircled by thirty-two stone Doric columns; measures thirty-metres width.
The Palace of Carlos V nor the Museum of the Alhambra (situated within the Palace of Carlos V) require Alhambra tickets.
The Palacios Nazaries have a time slots of thirty-minutes. For this you MUST be on time - or they will exclude you. Once inside you are able to wander at leisure.
Anyone wishing to enter the Nazrid Palaces with a ruck-sack will have to store it in a locker provided, in an area next to the Carlos V palace. Show your entrance ticket and you will be allocated a locker.
This measure is to protect the delicate plaster-work of the walls.
Neither are baby buggies permitted inside the Nazrid Palaces.
Show your entry ticket near the Carlos V palace and you can leave the buggie there and you will given a baby carrier for the Nazrid palaces tour.
This measure is to protect the delicate plaster-work of the walls.
Updated 16th February 2010
Oasis scene at the Patio de los Leones
The Alhambra symbolised Islamic architectural symmetrical beauty which harmonized with its surrounding nature. Two people were instrumental in saving The Alhambra from total abandon and destruction: (ironically) Carlos V - even though he destroyed huge sections of the Alhambra - and Washington Irving.
The Alhambra is a UNESCO world heritage site and certainly is the best-known monument of Granada, in Andalucia. The Alhambra wins as a Spanish favourite "to-vist" monument. Up to three million visitors per/year have viewed the Historical Artistic complex of the Alhambra.
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