The gardens inside the Alhambra on a blisteringly hot August day.

The Alhambra (which derives from the Arabic for red or crimson castle) is a 14th century fortress complex built by the Moors. It is situated on top of a hill on the southeast edge of the city of Granada in the Andalusia region, Spain’s most southern region.

The Alhambra’s Moorish palaces were built for the last Muslim Emirs (of the Nasrid dynasty) in Spain. In 1492 the Alhambra became a Christian court when the Catholic monarchs conquered Granada (during the Reconquista). Subsequently various new structures were erected within the original Nasrid fortifications including military garrisons, a church, a Franciscan monastery and a palace constructed by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1527.

In more recent centuries the complex was neglected and fell into disrepair (at one point it was used as barracks by Napoleon’s troops, who damaged some of the structures), but was rediscovered in the 19th century and much restoration work has taken place since. The Alhambra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction.

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