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Art and Architecture

The Nasrid art and architecture of the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro

The art and architecture of the Nasrid period has a particular style, and originated in the Kingdom of Granada. It makes up one of the most beautiful pieces of heritage of Muslum art in Spain.

Clear examples of this art can be found in some of the monuments that we still admire nowadays: the Alhambra in Granada, the Alcazaba of Málaga, the Gibralfaro castle, and the Alcazar of Antequera.

The Kingdom of Granada controlled a relatively small territory compared to the Christian Kingdoms of the peninsula, but still managed to reach an impressive cultural flourishing.

During this period, a defence system was created here in Málaga. This defence system was one of the most sophisticated and advanced of its time, and caused a lot of problems for the invading Christian armies.

The Architecture of the Alcazaba

The architecture of the Alcazaba would not be influenced too much by the Caliphal style of the Medina Azahara or the Mosque of Cordoba. Although some typical arches of this type of architecture can be found in the Alcazaba. 

The capital of the arches in the Alcazaba are divided into two parts. One has a cylindrical shape with simple decoration, and supports a prism with rounded corners at the base.

Moreover, the Alcazaba of Málaga, as well as the Alhambra of Granada has its own type of column that does not appear in any other construction. This column has a very thin cylindrical shaft with a base that boasts a large concave moulding with rings on its top.

The decoration in the palaces of the Alcazaba

The main goal of the artists of the Alcazaba was to cover every space with as many decorations as possible, no matter how small.

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

The walls were covered with beautiful and decorated ceramics and plasterwork. The roofs were adorned with carved wooden frames, still visible in the ‘Mudejar armour room’ for example.

Because of Muslim culture, in which you could not depict human figures, the Nasrids used different decorations. One of these was classic calligraphy, specifically cursive and kufic. They reported various sentences like “Only God is victorious”.

The architects from Granada used different decorative elements, but mainly the ‘ataurique’, which was floral decorations. Sometimes they also used laces and rhombus nets.