Palace of the Lions & Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Topics: Granada, Muhammed V, Sultan of Granada, Moors Pages: 2 (739 words) Published: November 25, 2012
HISTORY: The Alhambra in Granada, Spain, is distinct among medieval palaces for its sophisticated planning, complex decorative programs, and its many enchanting gardens and fountains. The Alhambra, an abbreviation of the Arabic: Qal’at al-Hamra, or red fort, was built by the Nasrid Dynasty (1232-1492)- the last Muslims to rule in Spain. The Palacio del Partal (Partal Palace) was built in the early 14th century and is also known as the Portico (Portico Palace) because of the portico formed by a five-arched arcade at one end of a large pool. It is one of the oldest palace structures in the Alhambra complex. PURPOSE: The Palace of the Lions was the architectural pinnacle of the Alhambra. Its celebrated fountain was a symbol of its decorative richness and an example of the complex water system. In addition to its symbolic function the fountain also had a practical purpose. The complex water system allowed the water to flow out in the form of a shallow surface. The central cylindrical unit of the fountain basin allowed the water to flow in and out thus preventing it from spilling out of the fountain. DESIGN: 1, 730 meters (1 mile) of walls and thirty towers of varying size enclose this city within a city. Access was restricted to four main gates. The Alhambra’s nearly 26 acres include structures with three distinct purposes, a residence for the ruler and close family, the citadel, alcazaba-barracks for the elite guard who were responsible for the safety of the complex, and an area called medina (or city), near the Puerta de Vino (wine gate), where court officials lived and worked. The different parts of the complex are connected by paths, gardens and gates but each part of the complex could be blocked in the event of a threat. The exquisitely detailed structures with their highly ornate interior spaces and patios contrast with the plain walls of the fortress exterior. The architectural pattern of the Palace of the Lions was similar to that of the Palace of...
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