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.
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.
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
Publisher: Purger & Co., Munich (1907-1920)
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