The Alhambra in Spain is the World’s Marvel

The Alhambra was the home of Spain’s last Muslim rulers, the Nasrid dynasty. Much of what remains today was built between 1350 and 1400. The carved stucco decoration of the Alhambra was once richly painted and gilded. The walls were covered with colourful tilework decorated with intricate repeating designs. Silk curtains and other textiles added more colour and pattern.

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The palace buildings are arranged around open courtyards. The buildings around one of these, the Court of the Myrtles, were used to receive important visitors. A pool runs the length of the courtyard and reflected in it is the tower of the Hall of the Ambassadors. Inside this hall, out of the bright sunlight, the light is filtered and formed into patterns by the screens across the windows.

A second courtyard is the Court of the Lions. This was a private garden for the sultan and his household. Here, a large central fountain is supported by carved stone lions. The sultan’s apartments also included the Hall of the Two Sisters. Its amazingly complex ceiling resembles a delicate lacy honeycomb. Source V&A.

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