A Kasbah is a type of Islamic city or fortress, which in past times was used as a defense against an attack, and as a home for the leader of the city. It was often built on a hill as a better means of defense, which is true of the Alhambra in Granada, considered the best Kasbah in Spain.
The Alhambra was first built in 889 as a fortress, and later converted into a royal palace by Yusuf I, the Sultan of Granada, in 1333. The Alhambra was the stronghold of the Muslim rulers in Spain until 1492. It had survived many attacks before it was finally surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Ferdinand, after the War of Granada, marking the end of the Spanish Reconquista. The Monarchs began to change the Alhambra, as did the Christian leaders after them. That said, the Moorish architecture is evident everywhere you go and it remains to this day, very well preserved. It is in fact the best preserved medieval Islamic palace in Europe, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This Kasbah is the most visited site in Spain, and one of the most popular of the world, and you can come and visit all the different palaces and parts of this complex, built for the last Muslim rulers of Spain:
- The Royal Palace of the Alhambra is divided into three parts; the first, the Mexuar, is fairly modest in decoration compared to other parts of the palace and was primarily used for business administration at the time. The Serallo is a collection of very beautiful rooms and courtyards; the most notable being that of Patio de los Arrayanes, Courtyard of the Myrtles. The Harem makes up the final part, and consists of the living quarters and bath for the wives and mistresses. It also contains the Hall of the Abencerrajes, with the most beautiful ceiling in the whole of the Alhambra. This room is famous, as legend has it that King Boabdil, the last Muslim emir, killed the whole of the Abencerrajes family here after inviting them for a banquet, as he found out that his favorite mistress was having an affair with the head of the family.
- The Alcazaba is the ancient fortress of the Alhambra Palace; parts of which are in ruins, but it is still very much an important part of its history.
- The Generalife is the Alhambra’s answer to a retreat; a place where the Muslim Kings could be surrounded by beautiful gardens, flowers and fountains. This really is a magical place and is most definitely worth the visit when going to the Alhambra.
With these different parts of the complex to offer; all so beautiful, and all so well-preserved, it’s no wonder that the Alhambra is the best Kasbah in Spain!