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Donna Hollinger | profile | all galleries >> Cordoba, Spain and the Alhambra, Granada tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Cordoba, Spain and the Alhambra, Granada

2016 Visit with Nancy at the Alhambra, Granada Spain. Founded by Muhammad I al-Ghalib of Arjona (r. 1232–73), the Nasrid dynasty ruled Granada & the southern Iberian Peninsula. The early period of Nasrid rule was characterized by insistent pressure from Christian armies
from the north, which successfully conquered Valencia, Játiva, and Jaén and made the Nasrids tribute-paying vassals in 1243. The Nasrids formed tentative alliances with the Marinids of the Maghrib and kept uneasy peace with their Christian overlords. Despite its precarious political situation, for over two and a half centuries Granada served as a great cultural center of the Muslim West, attracting leading scholars and literati of the day. Severe political crises in the Maghrib in the fifteenth century, combined with the union of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon through the marriage in 1469 of Ferdinand and Isabella, whose avowed mission was the expulsion of the Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula proved to be the downfall of the Nasrids. The last Nasrid ruler, Muhammad XII (called Boabdil by Spanish historians), was exiled to the Maghrib on January 2, 1492. The termination of Nasrid rule also brought to an end almost 800 years of an Islamic presence on the Iberian Peninsula.

During the fourteenth century, the Nasrid sultans dedicated themselves to the decoration of their splendid palaces. Their most singular artistic achievement was the famous Alhambra (al-qalca al-hamra), or the red castle, so-called perhaps because of the color of the walls and towers that surround the citadel. Situated on a hill overlooking Granada, the Alhambra was a royal city. The creation of a succession of Nasrid rulers, in particular Isma’il I (r. 1314–25), Yusuf I (r. 1333–54), and Muhammad V (r. 1354–59, 1362–91), the Alhambra was a powerful image for a waning monarchy,a stage set for the diminishing power of the last Muslim rule on the peninsula. Work on the palace-city continued for nearly two centuries; the resulting architectural complex, with its intricate succession of rooms and courts, its rich interior facades, and its numerous gardens, fountains, and watercourses, is one of the most magnificent examples of Islamic architecture.

Nasrid arts grew from Almohad traditions
but displayed far more variety and splendor than their precursors. Textiles recall the rich interior settings of the Alhambra. Also important are ceramics overglaze-decorated in luster, a technique dating back to ninth-century Iraq and dispersed to many parts of the Islamic world. Initially lusterware was manufactured in Málaga, Murcia, Almería, and possibly Granada, but by the fifteenth century, Manises, near Valencia, supplanted Málaga as the main center of luster production. These Spanish luster-painted wares, whether produced under Muslim or Christian patronage, had an important impact on the ceramic industry of Italy, where they gave rise to the development of majolica.The finest military arts that survive from al-Andalus are also from this period; the Nasrid’s luxury arms, which were probably never used in battle, offer examples of a rich craft used to support a public image.

Department of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2002
Cordoba Spain
:: Cordoba Spain ::
Tiger Kitten in the Forecourt to Alhambra
Tiger Kitten in the Forecourt to Alhambra
Alhambra Tiles
Alhambra Tiles
Triple Doorway
Triple Doorway
Starry Window
Starry Window
Framed Arch Plaster Details
Framed Arch Plaster Details
Celosia and vines in the Garden
Celosia and vines in the Garden
Script Decorating Column
Script Decorating Column
Arch and Window Detail
Arch and Window Detail
Ceiling Bubbles
Ceiling Bubbles
Wall plaster Details
Wall plaster Details
Garden Pools with Dove
Garden Pools with Dove
Dome
Dome
Doorway
Doorway
Amazing Door
Amazing Door
Sunburst Pattern with PSVL
Sunburst Pattern with PSVL
Archway Details
Archway Details
Palace Column Script
Palace Column Script
Wooden Ceiling Pattern
Wooden Ceiling Pattern
Nasriid Palace Shield
Nasriid Palace Shield
High Above Granada, the Keep
High Above Granada, the Keep
Entrance to Nasriid palace
Entrance to Nasriid palace
Nasriid Tiles
Nasriid Tiles
Looking up at the Archway
Looking up at the Archway
Nasriid Tiles
Nasriid Tiles
The Fountain in an Small Alcove
The Fountain in an Small Alcove
Leaf Abstracts in Plaster
Leaf Abstracts in Plaster
Salvia and Cedars in Late October
Salvia and Cedars in Late October
Stadium at The Nasriid Palaces
Stadium at The Nasriid Palaces
Fountain
Fountain
Star Patterns in the Ceiling
Star Patterns in the Ceiling
Star Pattern on Ceiling
Star Pattern on Ceiling
Star Shaped Holes to Let Light into Turkish Bath Houses
Star Shaped Holes to Let Light into Turkish Bath Houses
Alhambra Floor Plan
Alhambra Floor Plan
Ruins of the original Alcazaba
Ruins of the original Alcazaba
1m.alh.2225.copy.jpg
1m.alh.2225.copy.jpg
Tower Wall
Tower Wall
Nasriid Gardens
Nasriid Gardens