Alhambra, Granada, Spain


Granada. Alhambra Puerta de Justicia.
Gate of Justice

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The Alhambra resembles many medieval Christian strongholds in its threefold arrangement as a castle, a palace and a residential annex for subordinates. The alcazaba or citadel, its oldest part, is built on the isolated and precipitous foreland which terminates the plateau on the northwest. All that remains are its massive outer walls, towers and ramparts. On its watchtower, the 25 m (85 ft) high Torre de la Vela, the flag of Ferdinand and Isabella was first raised as a symbol of the Spanish conquest of Granada on 2 January 1492. A turret containing a large bell was added in the 18th century and restored after being damaged by lightning in 1881. Beyond the Alcazaba is the palace of the Moorish rulers, The Nasrid Palaces or Alhambra proper, and beyond this is the Alhambra Alta (Upper Alhambra), originally occupied by officials and courtiers. Access from the city to the Alhambra Park is afforded by the Puerta de las Granadas (Gate of Pomegranates), a triumphal arch dating from the 15th century. A steep ascent leads past the Pillar of Charles V, a fountain erected in 1554, to the main entrance of the Alhambra. This is the Puerta de la Justicia (Gate of Justice), a massive horseshoe archway surmounted by a square tower and used by the Moors as an informal court of justice.
Wikipedia

The Alhambra is Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture. Set against a backdrop of brooding Sierra Nevada peaks, this fortified palace complex started life as a walled citadel before going on to become the opulent seat of Granada’s Nasrid emirs. Their showpiece palaces, the 14th-century Palacios Nazaríes, are among the finest Islamic buildings in Europe and, together with the gorgeous Generalife gardens, form the Alhambra’s great headline act.
Lonely Planet

On looking from the royal villa the spectator beholds the side of the palace of Alhamra, that commands the quarter of the city, called the Albayzin. The massive towers are connected by solid walls, constructed upon the system of fortifications which generally prevailed in the middle ages. These walls and towers follow all the turnings and windings of the mountain; and, previously to the invention of gunpowder and artillery, this fortress must have been almost impregnable.
The Alhambra at Granada

Media Centre for Art History: panoramas
Masterpieces of Islamic Architecture


Granada. Alhambra. Sala de Justicia y Patio de Leones.
Hall of Justice & Court of the Lions
1910s
Publisher: Purger & Co., Munich (1907-1920)

Google Street View.
Media Centre for Art History: Panorama

The Court of the Lions is the main courtyard of the Nasrid dynasty Palace of the Lions, in the heart of the Alhambra, the Moorish citadel formed by a complex of palaces, gardens and forts in Granada, Spain. It was commissioned by the Nasrid sultan Muhammed V of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus. Its construction started in the second period of his reign, between 1362 and 1391.
Wikipedia

The architectural pattern of the Palace of the Lions was similar to that of the Palace of Comares, although with the traditional design of the Spanish-Moorish houses, i.e. a central open air courtyard as the centre of family life was flanked by a number of polyvalent rooms consisting of a ground floor and at least one upper floor or loft. The Court had a cross ground floor design with a central fountain, following the same pattern as other earlier and later constructions used in Muslin Spain and elsewhere. The proportional and visual perfection of the surrounding arched gallery supported by columns converted this Court into one of the most celebrated and admired of architectural structures.
Alhambra y Generalife (offical website)

The Hall of the Kings is the most emblematic chamber of the Palace of the Lions . It was an area used for relaxation and leisure, structured around a large vestibular hall, more than 30m long, that was reserved for receptions and celebrations. . . . The Hall of the Kings was named after the ten enigmatic individuals whose figures are illustrated on the dome above the main bedchamber. For many years the figures were incorrectly thought to depict leading members of the Nasrid dynasty; till the 19th century the chamber was known as the Hall of Justice owing to the fact that the figures were thought to be courtroom judges.
Alhambra y Generalife (offical website)


Granada Alhambra No 3 Patio de Arrayanes y el Haren
(Court of the Myrtles and the Harem)
Published Abelardo Linares, Alhambra, Granada

Street View

Media Centre for Art History: Panorama

The Court of the Myrtles (Patio de los Arrayanes) is part of the palace and fortress complex of the Alhambra. It is located east of the Gilded Room (Cuarto Dorado) and west of the Patio of the Lions and the Baths. Its current name is due to the myrtle bushes that surround the central pond and the bright green colour of which contrasts with the white marble of the patio. It was also called the Patio of the Pond or the Reservoir (Patio del Estanque o de la Alberca) because of the central pond, which is 34 metres long and 7,10 meters wide. The patio is divided in two sides by the pond, which receives its water from two fountains. The space has chambers and porticoes around it. These porticoes rest on columns with cubic capitals, which have seven semicircular arches decorated with fretwork rhombuses and inscriptions praising God. The central arch is greater than the other six and has solid scallops decorated with stylised vegetal forms and capitals of mocarabes. The most important chambers that surround the Patio are the ones in the north side, which are part of the Comares Palace, the official residence of the King.
Wikipedia

The Main Canal acts as a mirror that reflects the building structures and breaks the structural horizontal lines of the court.

In the Hispano-Muslim houses, the courtyard is vitally important. It is the core of family life, around which all the other rooms are distributed. It is difficult to distinguish the wealth of a family by looking at the external part of a house or palace, as opposed to its courtyard. The palaces are like houses but larger and more densely decorated, though with the same structural pattern and functions. The Court of the Myrtles takes its name from the dense bushes of this plant, also called mirth, that grow on the longer sides of the pond. Originally these green areas were placed lower and with a greater variety of short trees to prevent their tops from rising too much.

The Pool plays an important part in the architectural and aesthetic definition of the site, with its surface of water that acts as a mirror and reflects the surrounding structures, generating a geometrical projection that breaks the structural horizontal lines of the place. The Court was paved with sizable white marble slabs, although at the end of the 16th century the floor was enlarged.
Alhambra y Generalife (offical website)


On back: Granada. Alhambra. Galería del Patio de Arrayanes
(Gallery of the Court of the Myrtles)
c.1910

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