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The Palaces of Alhambra, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 350

Essay

This article covers the brief social and political history of the Alhambra palaces and questions whether one of its supposed palaces is really a palace at all. With sections that date back to the ninth century (begun by the Caliphate), the wonder seen today was created mainly under the regime of Yusuf (1333-1353) and Mohammad V (1353-1391). The Alhambra, situated on a rocky spur on the northern edge of the city of Granada, is not one palace, but several palaces and supporting buildings put up over a long time.

The earliest of these palaces is known as the Palacio del Partal; built in the early fourteenth century, it is now consists of a tower with an arcaded patio on brick piers. There is also a small mosque built for Yusuf I in 1354 with a small mihrab. The largest and most famous of the palaces is the Palacio de Comares which takes much of its present form from Muhammad V’s rebuilding in 1365. The palace is entered through a series of patios or arcaded courtyards with central pools and fountains. The main courtyard for the Comares palace is the Patio de los Arrayanes, on either side of which were the private rooms of the emir’s wives.

Later, to distinguish between the personal quarters and from public reception rooms, Muhammad V created the Patio de los Leones leading on to the Sala des Reyes as a centre for ceremonial. These buildings are regarded by many as the culmination of Islamic palace architecture. The centerpiece of the Patio de los Leones is the fountain, consisting of a polygonal basin supported by marble lions. The Sala des Reyes is a long room or series of rooms opening on to a larger vaulted area, which in turn open on to the Patio de los Leones. Architecturally this room is a complex structure which questions the distinction between internal and external space.

Today two of the Nasrids’ Alhambra palaces still stand, among the world’s architectural jewels. They give us a hint of the magnificence that must have surrounded the great dynasties and rulers of the medieval Muslim world.

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