Alhambra ~ “A Crown on the Brow of Granada”

 

The name Alhambra comes from the Arabic root meaning “red or crimson castle.” Moslem analysts speak of the construction of the Alhambra “by the light of torches,” the reflection of which gave the walls their particular coloration.

At the beginning of the 8th century the Moors (Moslems) ruled Granada and created Alhambra for military purposes. It became a fortress, palace, and small city all in one.

The Alhambra became Christian in 1492 when the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabel) conquered the city of Granada. Later, various structures were built for prominent civilians as well as military garrisons, a church and a Franciscan monastery.

During the 18th century and part of the 19th, the Alhambra fell into neglect, with Spanish criminals and beggars destroying the illusion of this fairy palace of the Moors. As the crowning blow Napoleon’s troops, masters of Granada, from 1808 – 1812, converted the facilities into barracks. The neglect continued until 1870 when the Alhambra was declared a national monument, protected, restored, and cared for. The Alhambra became an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

Granada is a two and a half hour drive from the port city of Malaga, Spain. Although Granada is a beautiful city, it is said, “Nothing in all of Spain compares to the city’s Muslim-Hispano complex—Alhambra.” The architectural art found in this complex is truly spectacular and can be seen in a number of forms: ruins, walls, towers, detailed mosaics, prism-style cupolas and stone-cast latticework. As a poet once said,

“Life holds no greater affliction

     than that of being blind in Granada.”

Almost every detail suggests grace and sophistication as you can see in the examples below.

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4 Responses to “Alhambra ~ “A Crown on the Brow of Granada””

  1. Cmichaelus@aol.com October 13, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Beautiful Pictures!

  2. Am enjoying the blog.

  3. Barbara Greenstein October 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Beautiful photos, Carolyn! Have been there and it’s haunting. Barbara

  4. Fantastic pictures and wonderful commentary. I am learning more world history from your reports than I ever did in school!

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