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The Alhambra is a Nasrid "palace city" in Granada in Southern Spain. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.

It is regarded as Granada's most emblematic monument and is certainly one of the most visited in Spain. It consists of a defensive zone, the Alcazaba, together with others of a residential and formal state character, the Nasrid Palaces and, lastly, the palace, gardens and orchards of El Generalife.

The Alhambra occupies a small plateau on the south-eastern border of the city in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada above the Assabica valley. Some of the buildings may have existed before the arrival of the Moors. The Alhambra as a whole is completely walled, bordered to the north by the valley of the Darro, to the south by the al-Sabika, and to the east of the Cuesta del Rey Chico, which in turn is separated from the Albayzín and Generalife, located in the Cerro del Sol.

In the 11th century the Castle of the Alhambra was developed as a walled town which became a military stronghold that dominated the whole city. But it was in the 13th century, with the arrival of the first monarch of the Nasrid dynasty, Mohammed I ibn Nasr (Mohammed (1238–1273), that the royal residence was established in the Alhambra. This marked the beginning of its heyday. The Alhambra became palace, citadel and fortress, and was the residence of the Nasrid sultans and their senior officials, including servants of the court and elite soldiers.

In 1492 the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabela, expelled the final Moors from the city of Granada. They established permanent residency in the Alhambra, and it was here that Christopher Columbus requested royal endorsement for his westward expedition that year.

(Source: Wikipedia)

In this shot, the building in the background is the Granada Parador, a hotel occupying a former convent dating from the 16th century and located within the walls of the Alhambra.

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9178 W: 63 N: 25818] (114401)
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