The Alhambra, the former residence of the Nasrid Sultans, is currently the most visited sight in Spain.
The name Alhambra comes from Arabic and means “crimson castle’. Alhambra was an “alcazaba” (fortress), an “alcázar” (palace) and a small “medina” (city), a mega city for its time, I would imagine.
The Nasrites, the dynasty, was started with Muhammed Al-Ahmar, who began the restoration of an old 9th century fortress. His son continued with the construction of the palaces back in the 14th century. The work was continued by Yusuf I and Muhammed V, and remained under Moorish rule until Alhambra became a Christian court in 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella conquered the city of Granada.
The Christians added the Franciscan Monastery, and Ferdinand and Isabella’s grandson, Emperor Charles V began the construction of the palace which bears his name (so out of place with the rest of the decor) and made some alterations to the interior buildings.
After the 18th Alhambra fell into neglect and, for a while, was the adhoc abode of beggars and thieves….until 1870, when it was declared a National Monument and brought back to the forefront of Spanish cultural heritage. Once the residence of the Sultan and of top government officials, court servants and the royal guard, nowadays it is here to enchant masses of tourists on a daily basis. Today, I was one of them.