What Makes Granada’s Alhambra Palace So Magical?

The palace of Alhambra located in is a palace Granada, Andalusia, Spain is a magnificent palace with all the fineries of a royal living. Málaga is the closest international airport to Granada (125 KM) and after checking into a hotel there, you may rent a car to visit the palace. We get to read about this palace in many works of literature like ”The Moor’s Last Sigh” (by Salman Rushdie), ”The Constant Princess” (by Philippa Gregory), ”The Accidental” (by Ali Smith) and quite a few other novels. George Bernard Shaw’s play ”Man and Superman” too has the mention of this palace.

This palace has a lot of significance in the world of music too. The filmmaker Christopher Nupen filmed ”The song of the guitar at the Alhambra” in this palace. This song was based on the Spanish guitarist, Andrés Segovia. This hour long program, which was presented in 1976, had an orchestral piece ”Alhambra Fantasy” composed by the British composer Julian Anderson. The Canadian singer and composer Loreena McKennitt performed live at the Alhambra Palace in 2006. This palace has importance in many rock bands and music compositions since 1705 A.D.

This palace has a lot of importance in the movies too. The movie buffs who have watched ”Assassin’s Creed” might remember the ”The court of the Lions.” This is the main courtyard in the heart of the Alhambra. You will find the same building in the animated film ”Tad Jones: The Hero Returns.” There are other films by Spanish director Juan Bautista, which revolve around the central theme of this palace.

The History of this palace

This palace has its own charm and hence the visitors find it very magical and inviting.  Among medieval palaces, it is very difficult to find this kind of sophisticated planning, and complex decorative ceilings and walls. The layout of the gardens is truly mesmerising and the fountains are a delight to watch.

This palace which is an abbreviation of the Arabic name Qal’at al-Hamra was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889 A.D. Later, between 1232-1492 A.D. Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of Nasrid Dynasty initially built the palace. In 1333 Yusuf I, the Sultan of Granada converted it into a royal palace. In 1492, this palace became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella. In 1526 Charles I & V became the owner of this palace and wanted to renovate it further. However, that work was not completed.

Architecture of the palace

This vastness of this palace can be calculated with the fact that 1,730 meters of walls and thirty towers of varying size enclose this palace which actually is almost as big as a city.  This palace is spread across nearly 26 acres of lush greenery which include structures with three distinct purposes. The first one was known as the citadel, ‘’Alcazaba’’ which was the residence for the ruler and his close family, the second structure consisted of the barracks for the elite guards and the third place was an area called medina (or the city). There were four main gates in the palace and the third area was located near the Puerta del Vino (Wine Gate). In this part of the palace, the court officials had their abodes and working areas.

Even today, if we visit this place, the architecture will mesmerise us. The intricate work on the walls and the domes, the beautiful artefacts, chandeliers, windows and other parts of the palace will make us feel like a king. The safety of the royals was of utmost importance. Even though the different parts of the complex were connected by royal paths, gardens and gates, if there was any kind of threat, then all the three parts could be blocked individually ensuring the safety of the residents of that block.

One will need to visit this palace to experience the grandeur and aura of it.