The Alhambra (1238–1354) is important because it is one of the remains of Moorish (Muslim North African) civilization in Europe. The Moors occupied the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) for hundreds of years during the Middle Ages (c. 450–c. 1500). Built between 1238 and 1354, the Alhambra is an elaborate palace comprised of a series of buildings that stands on a hilltop east of the city of Granada in southern Spain. It was the last stronghold of the Moors before they were expelled from Spain by King Ferdinand II (1452–1516) and Queen Isabella I (1451–1504). The palace was given the name "Alhambra," which is derived from the Arabic word for "red," because it was constructed of red bricks. This highly ornamental building, with its decorative columns, walls, and ceilings, is filled with artistic work of the most minute and exact detail. Because of its impressive beauty, restoration work was started in 1828 and the palace still stands today as a reminder of the Moorish legacy in Europe.
Further Information: Alhambra. [Online] Available http://www.leaptoad.com/ahp/granada.shtml, October 23, 2000; Alhambra. [Online] Available http://www.letsfindout.com/subjects/places/alhambrapalace.html, October 23, 2000; Irving, Washington. The Alhambra: Tales and Sketches of the Moors and Spaniards. New York: Rand McNally, 1953; Stewart, Desmond. The Alhambra. New York: Newsweek Press, 1974.