La Alhambra is a palace and fortress in Granada, Spain. Originally constructed in 889 AD, it was largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the 13th century. The design of the complex is Moorish and the name comes from the Arabic meaning “the red” and is derived from the reddish color of the outer walls. The plateau on which La Alhambra is built overlooks Granada’s old city. The complex contains numerous buildings, each built and decorated with intricate detail. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. After the Christian Reconquista in 1492, La Alhambra became the Royal Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and was the site where Christopher Columbus received the endorsement for his expedition.
Over the years there were numerous additions to La Alhambra. Many palace buildings were added, all opening into central courts or newly established quadrangles. All the additions built by different Muslim rulers who lived in the complex adhered to the consistent theme of “paradise on earth”. Arcades, fountains with running water and reflecting pools were used to add to the aesthetic and functional appeal of La Alhambra.
A view from one of La Alhambra buildings across to the main complex of buildings.
La Alhambra was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Visiting this outstanding historic place was one of the highlights of my trip to Spain.