Alhambra- Meaning"Red One"


The Alhambra is a palace and fortress built by the Moorish rulers of Granada in the middle of the 14th century. The palace was described as "a pearl set in emeralds" by Moorish poets alluding to the white building on the mountainside filled with green trees. Begun as a citadel in the 800s, the site was added to and turned into a Moorish palace in the 1300s, then, after the reconquest, it was a Christian palace for Charles V. The name "Alhambra" can be translated as Red Fortress - a reflection of the red clay found in the surrounding area that the fortress was made from.

Like most Arabic structures, the Alhambra was designed around many different mathematical concepts and includes many gardens and water features. Until the reconquista, different Arabic rulers would call this palace home. Rooms filled with geometric columns, fountains with running water, tiled walls, geometric patterns throughout the palace, and reflecting pools were added by each Muslim ruler to add to the beauty of the palace, each addition keeping with the theme of "paradise on Earth." The outside of the palace has always been very simple and plain, and there are plenty of openings to allow in sunlight and wind. The entire building is a testament to Muslim, Jewish, and Christian artists and builders, as well as to the Moorish culture in Spain.


Granada was the last part of Andalusia to survive as a Moorish territory, and the Alhambra became a refuge for Muslim artists and intellectuals. King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile took the Alhambra and Granada in 1492, finally pushing the Moors out of Europe and unifying all of the Iberian kingdoms as the nation of Spain.