The Alhambra Palace

Southern Spain’s Moorish masterpiece, the Alhambra palace, is a wonder of Islamic architecture and style.

The most southerly region of Spain wears its Islamic history strongly in its architecture, cuisine and many elements of its culture, none more so than the epic sprawling palace The Alhambra. The palace, with its many walls, gardens, fountains, archways and myriad tiles stands overlooking a verdant valley in the Andalucian city of Granada.

The Alhambra palace was originally constructed as a fortress in 889, but was later converted into an opulent royal palace by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. Palaces were then added to it over the centuries for the Muslim emirs of Spain.

The architecture displays typical Andalucian style with horseshoe shaped arches and scalloped triangular arches, yet it also has its own style of thin column unlike any other of the time. The architects wanted to cover every single inch of the Alhambra with decoration, the floors and walls are resplendent with bright Islamic tiles and the walls are covered with ornately carved plasterwork. The doors are heavy wood also carved intricately displaying master craftsmenship.

Exploring the vast area takes at least a day, but you could quite easily spend a lot longer admiring the beautiful décor, once described by a Moorish poet as “a pearl set among emeralds”.

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