teradesa.com Maybe the city of Alhambra is familiar to Korean drama lovers. The Korean drama ‘Memories of The Alhambra’ played by Park Shin Hye and Hyun-bin is set in the beautiful city of Granada, Spain which has an iconic building, the Alhambra Palace.
This palace was the center of power of the Bani Ahmar Dynasty, which was the last Islamic dynasty in Andalusia. This palace is a silent witness to the glory and also the destruction of the Islamic empire in Andalusia.
In 1232 AD, Sultan Muhammad bin Al-Ahmar built a beautiful palace on a hill called La Sabica, in the city of Granada, Spain. This palace became known as the Alhambra. In Arabic, this building is called “qa’lat al-Hamra” or Red Palace. So called, because the walls of this Palace are reddish in color.
Alhambra Palace is located at the most strategic point of the city of Granada. Located at a height of approximately 150 meters, from this place we can see the entire city as far as the eye can see. The Alhambra Palace complex covers about 14 hectares, surrounded by fortifications in an irregular pattern.
The oldest record of the site’s existence was written in 889 AD by a man named Sawwar bin Hamdun. The account says that during a civil war during the Umayyad caliphate in Cordoba, Sawwar sought refuge in a fortress called Alcazaba.
Today, Alcazaba is believed to be the first and oldest building erected in the area where Alhambra later stood. In addition, Alhambra is the only surviving city of the Palatine kingdom from the golden age of Islam and a remnant of the Nasrid Dynasty, the last Islamic kingdom in Western Europe.
Broadly speaking, the Alhambra Palace is divided into three sections, all of which were built during different eras of rule. The first, or oldest, section is known as Mexuar. Some historical accounts cast doubt on the building’s origins.
According to Ibn Zamrak, a famous poet of the Bani Ahmar era, it was built by Sultan Muhammad I or Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Yusuf bin Nasr. This palace was chosen as his main residence as well as his office.
The interior of the Maxuar building has been added to and remodeled. However, the interior of the building appears to be intact and expresses the taste of Islamic architecture. Such as the four pillars and columns inside, calligraphy with kufic writing on the walls, and marble patterns that are also attached to the walls of Mexuar.
The second part is called the Comares Palace. This is the most important part of the entire site in the Alhambra complex. Because it is in the halls of this palace that the throne of the sultan is located. Most of the construction of this palace was done during the reign of Sultan Yusuf I, and was completed to perfection by his son named Sultan Muhammad V.
In terms of interior, there are two icons of the palace, namely the large pond located in the center of the palace, named Arrayan (Patio de Los Arrayanes), and the Comares Tower, which is the largest tower of all towers in the Alhambra complex.
The Comares Tower is located on the north side of the Comares Palace. The tower is 45 meters high and its structure is connected to the ramparts.
Inside this tower is the largest hall of all the rooms in Alhambra called “Embajadores”. This hall is used as a state room to receive state guests.
The third part of the Alhambra Palace is the Palace of Lions or Palacio de los Leones. The Palace of Lions is the crown of all the beauty in Alhambra.
This palace was built by Sultan Muhammad V as his rest house. It is located right next to the Comares Palace. When Islam was in power, there was no road connecting these two buildings. It was only when the Catholics came to power that a road was made to connect the two.
The walls of the Lion Palace are decorated with Kufic calligraphy. The calligraphy contains poems by three famous Alhambra poets, namely Ibn al-Yayyab (1274-1349), Ibn al-Jatib (1313-1375) and Ibn Zamrak (1333-1393).
Among these poets, Ibn Zamrak is considered the most popular Alhambra poet. During his lifetime, Ibn Zamrak also served as secretary to the royal chancellor and prime minister.
The icon of the palace’s artistry is the fountain pool or Patio de los Leones. The fountain is adorned with 12 circular lion statues. From the mouths of the lion statues will come out fountains of water.
In addition to being an iconic decoration of the palace, the fountain from the lion’s mouth will flow to the four cardinal directions that end on the terraces of the four main rooms in the Palace. They are The Sala de las Dos Hermanas (“Hall of the Two Sisters”) in the north, The Hall of the Abencerrajes in the south, The Hall of the Kings (The Sala de los Reyes) in the east, and The Court of the Lions (Sala de los Mocdrabes) in the west.
In 1984, the Alhambra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with two other Islamic sites, such as Albaicín (or Albayzín) and the Generalife Gardens. The Alhambra Palace has an irregular shape surrounded by fortifications.