Alhambra of Granada
The Alhambra of Granada is a fortified palace that housed the king and the court of the Nazari Kingdom of Granada. Its beauty is not only for the interior, but the building itself is adapted to the nature forming a unique landscape. This complex has many buildings. It was built between the XIII and XIV centuries, and it author is unknown.
The water is added, and provides real movement, sounds and an ephemeral reflection, which represents a duplication of the culture. Today, it has been rebuilt many times since it was built on cheap materials such as wood or clay soil. There are very bit of the original materials. Gardens and vegetation are added representing their paradise, where they understand that there will be an abundance of everything they need. It also incorporates pools, fountains and canals. The walls are full of decoration and plasterwork. The architrave system with pillar support is a false arch, pure ornaments, and covered with vaults, especially stalactite domes (mocárabe in spanish).
It belongs to the Arab art of the western Mediterranean, more specifically, in Spain. It is clasified in the Cordovan period. When the Arabs invaded the peninsula, they adopted many of the forms used by the Visigoths, which endow with its own aesthetic sense. They take advantage of Visigoths shafts and capitals, and when there aren’t enough, they repeated it styling the type of the Composite or Corinthian capital. By Byzantine influence born the beehive (avispero in spanish) capital, with deep chiaroscuro effects. The characteristic semicircular arc is the horseshoe, tighter than the Visigoth, decorated with alternating segments, smooth, or with different color.
In the second half of the X century, the lobed arches that intersect and overlap frequently appear. In the wooden decks there are barrel vaults, edge vaults, groin vaults and cloister vaults. Also of nerves, characterized by its thick nerves do not cross in the middle, but leave a polygonal space. In the decorative appear the geometric decoration, plant (acanthus, ataurique in spanish) and epigraphic. There are about ten thousand entries in the Alhambra, most of them poems, sentences or texts of the Koran, all in classical Arabic.
About the Alhambra, Abderrahman I, in 784, transform from a church of five naves to a mosque of eleven naves, where can be seen the overlapping arches, with the upper being of half point and the other of horseshoe. Towards 833, Abderrahman II extends it to the head, and by 961, Alhaquen II expand again towards the same direction. In this last reform, ribbed vaults were built in the new macsura and where was the old mihrab. In the late X century, Almanzor expands laterally, bringing the mihrab is offset.
Among the buildings that it have, are found the Alcazaba, which was the military zone; Nasrid Palaces, a complex formed by the Comares Palace and the Palace of the Lions, who were the seat of administrative functions and it’s the largest complex of the Alhambra, containing rooms such as the Room of the Boat, or the Tower of Comares or the Courtyard of the Lions, among many others; the Rooms of the Emperor were the chambers built during the reign of Charles I; the Comber of the Queen, upstairs, that could be used as a toilet by Queen Elizabeth Farnese; the Partal, the housing area of the servants; Baths; the Palace of Charles V, made as the residence of Charles V; the Convent of San Francisco; Dry; Tower of Seven Floors; and the Generalife, gardens villa used by the Muslim kings.
In conclusion, the Alhambra of Granada is a wonderful complex where you can wallow in the XIII century of the Arab culture. The variety of buildings and the decorative art make it a unique artwork, not only in Spain, but worldwide.
It can be visited in Granada, Andalusia, Spain.