Alhambra – Red Castle
From VIII to XVI century during the Arab rule in Spain there was a mixture of styles, ways of life of the Spaniards, the Visigoths and the Moors. The Arab influence is strongly reflected in the exterior of the city of Granada. It was the most typical representative of Arab life in Spain, but the most typical expression of the Arab architecture was the Alhambra, which translates as “Red Castle”.
The Moors who conquered the city in the VIII century named it Granada. They freed it from the Visigoth and established an Islamic domination. A large number of pomegranate trees – one of the main fruit in that hot area, determined the name of the city. The Moors brought not only the African language, but also a new culture. However, they did not destroy the Christian churches and synagogues, and built their houses and castles.
Moorish Muslim rule continued in different areas of Spain until 1250-1492. During that period, Granada became one of the largest and richest cities of medieval Europe, and became the center of science and art. In 1250, people started construction of the Alhambra Castle – the most outstanding monument of Moorish art in Spain, included in the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Alhambra was built as a royal residence of Nasrid dynasty. Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Nasr was the first architect. The construction of the palace lasted for over a hundred years and was finished in the second half of the XIV century.
From the outside Alhambra looks like the fortress, but inside it is a rich sultan’s palace.
In 1829, American writer Washington Irving and Russian Prince Dolgoruky visited Granada and they were delighted with the castle. Later French writers Victor Hugo and Théophile Gautier expressed their admiration.
Alhambra is a complex of unique gardens and patios.
In 1492, after several months of siege of the city emir Boabdil handed the keys of Granada to Catholic Kings Ferdinand and Isabella. In the XVI century Charles V built his own palace within the walls of the Alhambra. However, he almost did not live there, and the whole complex gradually fell into decay. In the XIX century Napoleon’s troops only worsened the condition of the Alhambra. Its reconstruction began in the XX century.