The Alhambra Palace is a stunning work of Islamic art which looms over the Andalucian city of Granada from a high plateau. Originally built as a fortress in AD 889, the Moors worked their magic on the complex in the 13th century, with Nasrid sultans calling upon their empire’s greatest minds and best craftsmen to create what was to become Spain’s greatest architectural treasure.
A complete government city for the Moorish rulers, it boasted mosques, mansions, schools and army barracks, as well as large areas of formal gardens. And all this was built within the walls of a castle designed to keep invading Christian armies at bay.
An undoubted highlight is the Nasrid palaces, a collection of rooms designed around a central courtyard. Each was used for a different purpose – in the Mexuar Palace the sultan would meet with ministers to discuss affairs of the state, while in the Cuarto Dorado, or Golden Room, he would make important military decisions as commander-in-chief.
The complex was also a place of leisure for Granada’s elite, and the lavish Generalife Gardens were designed as an earthy paradise featuring trickling fountains, fragrant plants and tree-lined promenades. In Moorish culture, the notion of heaven was closely linked to the concept of the garden, so the beauty, tranquility and harmony to be found here will soothe all your senses and whist you off to another world.