Construction of the Alhambra (Granada
) was started in 1238 by order of the Nasrid
King Mohammed I
(Muhammad ben Yusuf ben Nasr
), who came into power in 1236. The palace stands on top of the Cerro del Sol
(hill of the sun), overlooking Granada
. La Alhambra (Arabic for "red fortress") served both as a fortress and as a palace for the Arab rulers. It is strikingly beautiful in design and decoration. The palace has many reflecting pools, courtyards and patios and the walls are decorated with beautiful elaborate geometric designs.
Granada became the last Moorish stronghold, when the Iberian peninsula was slowly reconquered by Catholic kings. Boabdil would be the last Moorish ruler of Granada. The legend goes that when he surrendered the city he cried, not because he lost the city, but because he would have to abandon the Alhambra. His mother chastized him: "Don't cry like a woman for what you could not defend like a man."