Alhambra: The Moorish Citadel Of Granada

TYM-Spanish-The-Alhambra

Did you know that Moors once ruled parts of present day Spain? Nestled at the foot of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains is Granada, a city established by the Moors in the 11th century.

During the medieval era of conquests and expansion of empires, the Moors first took over Granada and built a fortress for the last of the Muslim emirs. With walls made of red clay, the citadel was named Alhambra, which, literally translated from the Arabic means “the red (female).”

So who are the Moors again? You ask. Well, the Moors were medieval Muslim inhabitants of Morocco, western Algeria, Western Sahara, Mauritania, the Iberican Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta. The Moors began their invasive conquest in 711 with Iberian Peninsula and then to a territory called Al-Andalus. Al-Andalus is an ancient name, and in its time, most of Spain came under Al-Andalus.

Originally a small fortress, the complex was expanded over the centuries and designed with the mountainous site in mind. After the Christian rulers won the city in 1492 in the Fall of Granda, some portions of the fortress were used by the Catholic monarchs. In time however, Alhambra was vacated and allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, until it was rediscovered in the 19th century and restoration efforts commenced; effort which continues to this very day.

TYM-Spanish-Alhambra-InteriorImage Source: http://www.spain-holiday.com

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Alhambra has been described by Moorish poets as “a pearl set in emeralds”, highlighting the pale glow of its buildings against a dense backdrop of lush green forest. The palace contains rooms tastefully designed – with marble columns, stalactite cupolas, ornamental works in stucco, precious wood inlayed and sculpted, and paintings on leather.

Today, Alhambra is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well-known Arab-Islamic architecture, and stands as a testament to the region’s rich Moorish history.

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