Robin's Website

The Alhambra

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex of the Moorish rulers of Granada in southern Spain. It is located on a hilly terrace, rising above the modern lower town of Granada in Andalusia. The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means "red or crimson castle". The Alhambra is one of Spain's major tourist attractions and forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The original fortress on the site was built in 889 and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-11th century by the Moors. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by the then Sultan of Granada. In the Middle Ages, the Alhambra remained the residence of the Muslim rulers of Granada and their court until they lost Granada and Alhambra in 1492; King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile took the surrounding region with an overwhelming force of numbers. The fortress itself was not attacked.

As a result of a history of different periods of rule and adaptation, several varying architectural forms may be found at the site - The Alhambra was not built from a single design. It is a rich collection of Moorish vernacular architecture, into which blends the traditional Andalusian architecture. The buildings' craftsmanship is outstanding and it is well worth spending some time visiting there. On a small note aside, the Alhambra tiles are remarkable in that they contain nearly all, if not all, of the seventeen mathematically possible wallpaper groups and their designs influenced the Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher.

Adjacent to The Alhambra is the magnificent gardens of Generalife (also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site). These are the former rural residence of the emirs who ruled this part of Spain in the 13th and 14th centuries. Alas, in the case of my particular visit, the extent to which the Alhambra was explored did not also permit time to also see Generalife, so the photos below are only of The Alhambra. Perhaps another visit one day!

Further Reading: The Alhambra. Structure and landscape, by Pedro Salmerón Escobar, published by La Biblioteca de La Alhambra, 2007

Back to Top