Alhambra de Granada books
Books about the Alhambra of Granada
The Alhambra of Granada constitutes the most valuable testimony of Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula. Owing to its ornamental wealth and aesthetic refinement, this monument –declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1984– is considered one of the great milestones of Islamic art and architecture.
The Alhambra books published by Dosde unveil all the aspects related to this unique architectonic ensemble. These works provide an indepth study of the history of the Alhambra and its most representative spaces, as well as the opportunity to find out about the main architectonic features of this palatine city of monumental design, converted into the main symbol of economic and cultural prosperity achieved by the disappeared Nasrid kingdom.
The history of the Alhambra
Located in Granada, one of the most important cities of the south Iberian Peninsula, the Alhambra was built at the top of Sabika Hill, a foothill of the mountainous massif of Sierra Nevada. As explained in our Alhambra books, the oldest part of the palatine city was built in the 13th century to house the leaders of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, the last bastion of Muslim power in the Iberian Peninsula.
The successive occupants of the site continued to build new defensive elements, gardens and spaces for the Nasrid court, such as the Mexuar, the Court of the Lions, and the Court of the Myrtles. This way, the Alhambra of Granada converted into one of the greatest palatine cities in the world. As demonstrated in architecture books, the long drawn out history of the Alhambra of Granada is reflected by the variety of styles that exist in the different areas of the palatine city, a unique site that combines plain exteriors with exquisitely decorated interiors.
Based on a complex iconographic language, the coffered ceilings, ceramic work and plasterwork that decorate the different rooms of the Nasrid palaces show the perfection reached by Islamic architecture, while the elements introduced during the Christian period include numerous details typical of the Renaissance style.
The Muslim Alhambra
The person responsible for the construction of the Alhambra of Granada was Sultan Muhammad I –also known as Ibn Al-Ahmar, “the Son of the Red”–, the founder of the Nasrid dynasty. The member of a wealthy family from Arjona (a city in the Andalusian province of Jaén), Muhammad I began a series of military campaigns that culminated six years later with the capture of Granada and the consolidation of the last Muslim state in western Europe. The Sultan gave Granada not only the status of power hub, but also instigated the construction of the Alhambra, the site that had to guarantee the security of the court and territorial integrity.
Inevitably, the evolution of the palatine city went hand in hand with that of the Nasrid kingdom. In the 14th century, coinciding with the prosperous reigns of Yusuf I and Muhammad V, the fortress reached its peak, including new palaces intended to demonstrate the greatness of their developers. In contrast, in the 15th century, the decline of the sultanate was reflected by a drop in construction activity.
The Christian Alhambra
The Alhambra books explain how the palatine city came under the control of the Christian monarchs after the disintegration of the Nasrid sultanate. The first to occupy the site in this new period were the Catholic Kings, who in 1492 conquered the city of Granada, putting an end to centuries of Nasrid rule. During their reign, diverse plans were made to refurbish the spaces damaged during the siege of the site and to introduce different elements of western influence.
The transformation of the Alhambra of Granada was even more evident in the 16th century, when the emperor Charles V, grandson of the Catholic Kings, built a series of spaces alongside the Nasrid palaces and planned a large palace of clearly defined Renaissance style, an intervention that is shown in detail in the deluxe edition books of Dosde.