A Dependent Emirate711-756
Centuries of history and the legacies of different cultures have transformed the urban layout of the city of Granada. The events that took place from the late 10th and early 11th centuries onwards led to a series of dramatic changes in which the region’s capital was moved from Madinat Ilbira to the hill of the Hishn Gharnata, which became the official seat of the Zirid Kingdom founded by Zawi ben Zirí around the year 1013.
The consolidation of the kingdom in subsequent decades with the conquest of the neighbouring coras (territories) and the additional resources obtained by the new irrigation networks enabled the Zirid dynasty to consider building a city with a new layout. It could be argued that Granada only became genuinely urban in the Zirid period, a hypothesis borne out by archaeological excavations and the analysis of surviving structures.
From this point onwards the city began to grow beyond its walls, a process that extended especially in the 14th Century, so creating what would become 15th Century Granada, of which we will be studying the perimeter, city walls and enclosures. This insight into life in Granada in the last years of the Nasrid Dynasty, who turned a blind eye on the events that signalled the end of a flourishing culture, will allow us to better understand what went on within the walls of Madinat Gharnata. A knowledge of some of the buildings (of which unfortunately few traces remain) that witnessed the amazing events of those final years is also an important part of this visit.
Neither should we forget the last years of war, a medium through which to study the leading participants, above all the three Sultans Muley Hacén, el Zagal and Muhammad XII “Boabdil”, about whom doubts still exist today as to whether their actions could have changed the destiny of their lost Kingdom. A tragic end to what had been a brilliant lineage, who in spite of their political ups-and-downs were responsible for the creation of the unforgettable Kingdom of Granada.
The Alhambra, Nasrid palaces
Nasrid Dynasty Al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty, installed himself in the Antigua Alcazaba del Albaicín, drawing attention to the ruins on the hill of the Alhambra. He then decided to initiate its reconstruction and install his court in it, beginning the construction of the Alhambra that we know today.
The Alhambra was a palace, citadel and fortress, residence of the Nasrid sultans and senior officials, court servants and elite soldiers, reaching its full splendor in the second half of the 14th century, coinciding with the sultanate of Yusuf I (1333-1354) and the second reign of Muhammad V (1362-1391).
Granada, capital of the Nasrid kingdom, gradually received Islamic populations due to the advance of the Christian conquest. The city grew, adapting, creating new quarters and expanding its walls practically until being conquered at the end of the 15th century.