Where is the Alhambra?

            The Alhambra is a palace and fortress at Granada in Spain overlooking the river Darro. It stands on hill below the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was built by the moors-the Muslim kings who occupied Spain in the middle ages. The moors were the inhabitants of Mauretania, an African province of the Roman Empire. Today, it is known as Morocco. The construction of Alhambra began in 1248 and was completed in 1354.

The Alhanbra

            In Arabic, the word Alhambra means the red castle. It is probably derived from the color of the bricks of which the outer walls are built. The palace was built during the reigns of Al Ahmar and his successors. The outer wall and its 13 towers enclose the palace and the gardens. Its lace-like molding on walls and ceilings contain words from the Koran, the holy book of Islam.

            After 1492, when the moors were driven out, much of the interior was spoiled and the furniture ruined. King Charles V, who ruled again form 1516 to 1556, rebuilt portions of it in the renaissance style and destroyed part of the Alhambra to build and Italianate palace designed by Pedro de Manchaca in 1526. In 1812, the French blew some of the towers up during the Napoleonic wars, and in 1821 an earth quake caused further damage. The restoration of the building was again undertaken in 1828 and continues till today.

            The principal courts of the palace include the court of the myrtles and the court of the lions. The latter has been named because in the centre is a fountain of lions- an alabaster basin supported by twelve white marble lions-emblems of strength and courage. The most important parts of the Alhambra are the ‘Hall of Ambassadors’, an exceptionally grand reception room, and the ‘Hall of the Two Sisters’ with its outstanding example of stalactite work.

            Of the outlying buildings, the most important is the genera life. The villa probably dates back to the end of the 13th century.