Art and Architecture

The Nasrid art and architecture of the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro

The art and architecture of the Nasrid period had a particular style originated in the Kingdom of Granada. It constitutes one of the most beautiful inheritances of Muslim art in Spain.

Clear examples of this art are some of the monuments that we can still admire nowdays: the Alhambra in Granada, the Alcazaba of Malaga, The Castle of Gibralfaro and the Alcazar of Antequera.

The Kingdom of Granada, even though it had a relatively small territory if compared with the Christian kingdoms of the Peninsula, managed to reach an impressive cultural flowering.

During this Kingdom, was created a defense system, sophisticated for the period, which caused problems for the Christian armies.

The Architecture of the Alcazaba

The architecture of the Alcazaba is not influenzed that much by the Caliphal Art of Medina Azahara or the Mosque of Cordoba.

Although, we can find some typical arches of the Nasrid architecture like the “Arco de herradura con alfiz” (an arch wrapped in a square frame) or “las albanegas” (a triangular chaped arch) as well as some elements like the capitals of the columns in the palaces of the Alhambra.

The capitel is divided into two parts; the first part has a cylindrical  shape with a simple decoration supporting a prism with rounded corners at the base.

Moreover, the Alcazaba of Malaga, as well as the Alhambra of Granada, has an own kind of column that does not appear in any other construction. It is a column with a very thin cilindric shaft with a base that presents a large concave molding with rings on its top.

The decoration in the palaces of the Alcazaba

The main concern of the artists of the Alcazaba was to cover every space with decorations, no matter how small it was.

Although in the Alcazaba of Malaga most of the decorations have been lost, it is still possible to see some fragments and some recreations of how it could have been originally.

The walls were covered with beautiful and decorated ceramic and plasterwork. The roofs are adornated with carven wooden frames, visible in the “Mudejar armour room” for example.

Considering the fact that, according to the Muslim culture it is forbidden to depict human figures, the Nasrids used different and various adornments. One of these was the classic calligraphy, specifically cursive and kufic, reporting various sentences like “Only God is victorious”.

The architects from Granada used different decorative elements but mainly the “ataurique” (vegetal decoration) and sometimes they used laces and rombous nets.

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