Rising above the modern lower town, the Alhambra and the Albaycín, situated on two adjacent hills, form the medieval part of Granada. To the east of the Alhambra fortress and residence are the magnificent gardens of the Generalife, the former rural residence of the emirs who ruled this part of Spain in the 13th and 14th centuries. The residential district of the Albaycín is a rich repository of Moorish vernacular architecture, into which the traditional Andalusian architecture blends harmoniously.
The property of the Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, Granada, stands on two adjacent hills, separated by the river Darro. Rising above the modern lower town, the Alhambra and the Albayzín form the medieval part of the City of Granada, which preserves remains of the ancient Arabic quarter. These components represent two complementary realities and examples of medieval urban complexes: the residential district of the Albayzín and the palatine city of the Alhambra. To the east of the Alhambra fortress and residence are the gardens of the Generalife, an example of a rural residence of the emirs, built during the 13th and 14th centuries.
The Alhambra, with its continuous occupation over time, is currently the only preserved palatine city of the Islamic period. It constitutes the best example of Nasrid art in its architecture and decorative aspects. The Generalife Garden and its vegetable farms represent one of the few medieval areas of agricultural productivity. These palaces were made possible by the existing irrigation engineering in Al-Ándalus, well established in the Alhambra and Generalife with technological elements known and studied by archaeologists. This constituted a real urban system integrating architecture and landscape, and extending its influence in the surrounding area with gardens and unique hydraulic infrastructures.
The residential district of the Albayzín, which constitutes the origin of the City of Granada, is a rich legacy of Moorish town planning and architecture in which Nasrid buildings and constructions of Christian tradition coexist harmoniously. Much of its significance lies in the medieval town plan with its narrow streets and small squares and in the relatively modest houses in Moorish and Andalusian style that line them. There are, however, some more imposing reminders of its past prosperity. It is nowadays one of the best illustrations of Moorish town planning, enriched with the Christian contributions of the Spanish Renaissance and Baroque period to the Islamic design of the streets.
Criterion (i):The Alhambra and Generalife contain all the known artistic techniques of the Hispano-Muslim world, on the basis of a proportional system in which all decorative and building developments are based, with particular emphasis on the aesthetic value represented by the intelligent use of water and vegetation. Together with this tradition, since 1492 the Royal House has received the most advanced proposals in terms of palace and poliorcertic architecture, and plastic arts of Western humanism.
The Albayzín district is the best-preserved illustration of a Hispano-Muslim city in the South of Spain, particularly formed during the Nasrid dynasty. The Albayzín, enriched with the contributions of Christian Renaissance and Spanish Baroque culture, is an exceptional and harmonious blend of two traditions, creating a unique and special form and style.
Criterion (iii): The development of the materials used in the Alhambra and Generalife are unique particularly with the use of plaster, wood and ceramics as decorative elements. Together with the use of the Arabic epigraphy, constructions were transformed into an ensemble of “talking architecture”, whose contents are related to the religious, political and poetic world of the Nasrid Dynasty, preserved and enriched by the best examples of the humanistic and innovative art of the Spanish Renaissance. The architectural ensemble is a living example of the mix of Easter and Western artistic traditions.
The Albayzín represents a microcosm of what the Andalusi cultural splendour meant in Granada from its origins in the Zirid Dynasty to the magnificence of the Nasrid Dynasty. The customs passed down through the Andalusí people originated in these kinds of neighbourhoods and have largely influenced all European cultures. Their great scientific knowledge and their social customs – as well as their gastronomy and hygiene – confirm the greatness of this advanced culture that influenced the subsequent cultures of the Albayzín centuries later.
Criterion (iv): The Alhambra and Generalife bear exceptional testimony to Muslim Spain the 13th and 15th centuries. They form a remarkable example of the palatine residences of medieval Islam, neither destroyed nor changed by the vicissitudes of time, as with the examples in Maghreb. The architecture and urban landscape of the Albayzín is the most remarkable cultural example of the survival of Andalusí culture in our days. It bears witness to the medieval Moorish settlement, which was not changed when it was adapted to the Christian way of life after the conquest. Its main characteristics in terms of form, materials and colours, are preserved almost without change and survive as a notable example of a Moorish town of the Nasrid dynasty that merged with the vernacular town planning of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
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Cordoba is a mid-sized city of 350,000 inhabitants and the capital of the province of Córdoba, situated in the center of Andalucia in Spain. A great cultural reference point in Europe, this ancient city has been declared a World Heritage Site and contains a mixture of the diverse cultures that have settled it throughout history. Understand Very few places in the world can boast of having been the capital of a Roman province, the capital of an Arab State and a Caliphate. Such splendor is palpable in the intellectual wealth of this city, that has seen the birth… [read more].