Alhambra by Michael Jacobs & Francisco Fernandez

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Text by Michael Jacobs
Photographs by Francisco Fernandez

4to. pp. 192. profusely illustrated. chronology. index. bds. dw. New York: Rizzoli, [2000].


ISBN-10: 0847822516 / ISBN-13: 9780847822515

The Alhambra inspires and enchants like no other site. With its fascination history; its romantic locale overlooking Granada, against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains; its intricately decorated rooms; its numerous courtyards and fountains; the palace city of the Alhambra is endlessly alluring and has captivated the imagination of visitors since it was conceived in the thirteenth century.

By 720 AD, most of Spain was under Islamic rule. Formerly a minor settlement, Granada now thrived: the town was reconstructed as an Islamic city, with a medina and a fortress, and, in the early eleventh century, the residents of the nearby town of Elvisra were relocated to this more strategically-situated and temperate locale. A military fortification had existed at the top of the hill overlooking Granada since the ninth century and this site, know as the "Alhambra", expanded as the city developed.

The palace city was mapped out by the founder of the Nasrid dynasty, Ibn Nasr, in 1238 and largely constructed in the fourteenth century by his descendents Yusuf I (1333-1354) and Muhammed V (1354-1391). They built the main structures, known as the Nasrid palaces, which captivate throngs of tourists to this day. In subsequent centuries, other palaces were added-like that of the palace of the Catholic Charles V, whose pioneering building startled locals with its Renaissance style. Today the Alhambra is a fascinating amalgam of style, both Moorish and European, with labyrinthine hallways, numerous fountains, pools, and courtyards, stunning details, and breathtaking views.

In Alhambra, author Michael Jacobs details the history of this spectacular monument-the stories of the ruling families who lived in the palaces, the capturing and recapturing of this region in Spain, and the myths that surround the Alhambra. Evocative photographs by Francisco Fernandez lead readers on a virtual journey through the various palaces, government and military buildings, mosques, baths, courtyards, and beautiful gardens that make up this mythical place.