Something odd in
On the edge of the sword!
Romans; that called the shots during the reign of Augustus Caesar colonized
And quietly flows the Darro!
The River Darro which flows beside the Alhambra was a case point, its initial name was Aurus (meaning gold as its sand contained traces of gold and small-scale gold extractions were taking place there), when Arabs took over the land they ‘converted’ the river and named it as ‘Hadarrb’, lately Christians took over the reign and re-Christened the ‘Muslim’ river in to a Christian river and named it ‘Dauro’. This river is presently known as ‘Darro’. If the fate of and ‘innocent’ river is this what would be that of historical monuments. The changes of rulers had corresponding changes in the
The original Qal’at al Hambra
The Muslim rulers known as the Moors engaged in massive conversion of Christians and Pagans in to Islam; these new converts to Islam were known as Muladis; the Muladis grew in strength and power and finally drove out the Moors who were forced to take shelter in the original Qal’at al Hambra (the red fort) they used it as residence as well as court. At that time
Second and the third births
Samuel Ibn Naghrallah Vizier (top official under Muslim rulers) to King Badis of the Zirid dynasty rebuilt it with red-clay; which also got eventually destroyed. It was
A palatine city
The architecture adopted by Nasrid was different from the Umayyad style that existed here before (The Cordova Mosque is a typical Umayyad Style structure), Nasrid got the entire complex transformed in to a palatine city with six palaces (four of them royal residences), an advanced irrigation system known as acequias (al saqiya in Arabic for community water supply), numerous bath-houses and all paraphernalia required for a royal city.
Not an inch to spare
Not even an inch is spared from artworks, arches were made only for aesthetics, walls covered with expensive and enchanting ceramics and ornate plasters, coverings made of wooden frames carved so beautifully. As in the case of typical Muslim palaces walls are adorned of calligraphy depicting poems. ‘Zawi ben Ziri’ (founder Nasrid dynasty), Allah Aqbar (meaning god is the victor), etc. The decorative elements frequently used are inter lacing vegetative forms with nets of rhombuses (net-shaped carvings known as ‘jallies) as human figures are taboo, Now let us see some of the individual items
The Hall of ‘Abencerraejes’ is decorated with arches and marble floors, it is said that the knight of Abancerrjes was beheaded at this hall and hence the name. There are markings on the floor said to be the blood stain of the knight. No one is sure which knight was beheaded and who ordered for it.
Hall of Two Sisters has the name denoting two marble stones placed in it. It was built by Mohammed 5 and includes bed chambers, gardens, emperor’s chamber and porticos connecting them together.
Court of the Myrtles; one of the most beautiful structures of the complex made of pure white marble, with a pond that reflects the building it stands in contrast to the lush green myrtle bushes and hence its name (this building has got different names in different times).
Mexuar including tower and a gallery is believed to be built by Nasrid but it had undergone several modifications and its original shape has become hard to guess. It is so named as the architect Michuka lived in it during the construction.
The Oratory; located behind the Mexaur has arches and walls with inscriptions and verses from Qur’an. This hall suffered extensive damages in an explosion and renovated in 1917.
Gilded Room (Cuarto Dorado); it is part of the
The bath complex is comprised of many chambers typical to Arabic style big bath tub alone are provided and no swimming pool. There is provision for cold, hot as well as steam baths. The first to come is the ‘frigiderium’ with large cold water basin, ‘tepidarium’ (provided at the central hall) with warm water and finally a ‘caldarium’ for steam bath. Inside the hall there is a copper boiler in which water is boiled and piped to the required basin by underground pipes. Remnants of these pipes are still visible.
The Royal bath; What a royal bath!
The Royal Bath; is built at the east of the
Evolution of styles
The Christian era
By the beginning of the 15th century whole scenario changed
French occupation and after
The French occupation was not as sweet and almost all the original structures were destroyed, nothing came up to replace what was lost. Even the expulsion of the French could not usher the old charm of the city as revolutions and revolts were regular. Only by the end of the 19th century a building boom that followed could add something to make the city’s charm. At present