Alhambra,generalife,and the Albaycin Granada > World Heritages > Alhambra

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Date of Inscription:1984
Criteria: C (i) (iii) (iv)

Brief description:

Rising above the modern lower town, the Alhambra and the Albaycin, situated on two adjacent hills, form the medieval part of Granada To the east of the Alhambra fortress and residence are the magnificent gardens of the Generalife, the former rural residence of the emirs who ruled this part of Spain in the 13th and 14th centuries.The residential district of the Albaycin is a rich repository of Moorish vernacular architecture, into which the traditional Andalusian architecture blends harmoniously.
unesco world heritage

Reading Passage

The Alhambra was so called because of its reddish walls (in Arabic, (≪qa'lat al-Hamar≫ means Red Castle). It is located on top of the hill al-Sabika, on the left bank of the river Darro, to the west of the city of Granada and in front of the neighbourhoods of the Albaicin and of the Alcazaba.The first historical documents known about the Alhambra date from the 9th century and @they refer to Sawwar ben Hamdun who, in the year 889, had to seek refuge in the Alcazaba, a fortress, and had to repair it due to the civil fights that were destroying the Caliphate of Cordoba, to which Granada then belonged. This site subsequently started to be extended and populated, although not yet as much as it would be later on, because the Ziri kings established their residence on the hill of the Albaicin.Alhambra1 AThe castle of the Alhambra was added to the city's area within the ramparts in the 9th century, which implied that the castle became a military fortress with a view over the whole city.In spite of this, it was not until the arrival of the first king of the Nasrid dynasty, Mohammed ben Al-Hamar (Mohammed I, 1238-1273), in the 13th century, that the royal residence was established in the Alhambra>BThis event marked the beginning of the Alhambra's most glorious period. First of all, the old part of the Alcazaba was reinforced and the Watch Tower(torre de la vela) and the Keep (Torre del Homenaje) were built. Water was canalised from the river Darro, warehouses and deposits were built and the palace and the ramparts were started.CThese two elements. were carried on by Mohammed II (1273-1302) and Mohammed III (1302-1309), who apparently also built public baths and the Mosque (Mezquita), on the site of which the current Church of Saint Mary was later built. Yusuf I (1333-1353) and Mohammed V (1353-1391) are responsible for most of the Alhambra that we can still admire today. From the improvements of the Alcazaba and the palaces, to the Patio of the Lions (Patio de los Leones) and its annexed rooms, including the extension of the area within the ramparts, the Justice Gate (Puerta de la Justicia), the extension and decoration of the towers, the building of the Baths (Baños), the Comares Room (Cuarto de Comares) and the Hall of the Boat (Sala de la Barca). Hardly anything remains from what the later Nasrid Kings did. From the time of the Catholic Monarchs until today we must underline that Charles V ordered the demolition of a part of the complex in order to build the palace which bears his name. We must also remember the construction of the Emperor's Chambers (habitaciones del Emperador) and the Queen's Dressing Room (Peinador de la Reina) and that from the 18th century the Alhambra was abandoned. During the French domination part of the fortress was blown up and it was not until the 19th century that the process of repairing, restoring and preserving the complex started and is still maintained nowadays.

The Generalife: The palace and gardens of the Generalife stand on the slopes of the Cerro del Sol ('Hill of the Sun'), next to the Alhambra.This country house for the Moorish kings of Granada was built in the 13th century, and rebuilt in the 14th. The Patio de la Acequia ('Courtyard of the Stream') is the most interesting part; its northern section, the best preserved. The Patio de la Sultana ('Courtyard of the Sultaness'), also called the Court of Cypresses, merits special mention too.

Room of the Abencerrajes

The name of Abencerrajes belonged to a very important family of the nobility of the time, which had their houses inside the Alhambra. The legend says that this family had like political rival to another Zenetes call, which decided to end his opponents by means of a conspiracy... Thus, Dthey invented a loving relation between sultana and one of the Abencerrajes, to be able to wake up the jealousy and the wrath in sultan... Room of Abencerrajes Sultan, blinded by the consternation, and in occasion of a celebration in the room that takes the name of the family, he decapited on its fountain to the 37 knights who took the name of Abencerrajes. One tells that the reddish color that nowadays it is even possible to be contemplated in the cup of the fountain, and in the channel that takes its water until the Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of the Lions), must to the spots of the blood of the assassinated knights... Although in this case it is difficult to discern where history finishes and where the legend begins...


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by ryujiro higashi Aoyamagakuin College of Economics

kansou de alhambra

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