History of the Nasrid Palaces


Isma’il (1314-1325) built the area of the Mexuar, and his son Yusuf I (1333-1354) defined the overall structure of the palace (The patio del Cuarto Dorado, the Court of the Myrtles, the Royal Baths and the Patio de la Reja). However, his sudden tragic death, being assassinated by a slave while in the great mosque during Friday prayer, meant his son Muhammad V (1354-1359/1362-1391), was to finish construction of the palace, during his first reign. Nasrid Palaces plane

The Court of the Myrtles was fully independent from the Court of Lions in the medieval period. But the new Christian mindset resulted in them being combined to conform, in the time of the Catholic Monarchs, to what we refer to from then on as the Royal House. The Count of Tendilla carried out renovations in 1492 and years later further ones to adapt the Arabic palaces for Christian needs. In 1526, for Charles V and Isabella de Portugal’s honey moon, there was more work done, which continued on throughout the 16th century

In the 19th century, after the disaster brought on by the French when leaving the Alhambra, between 1810 and 1812, Fernando VII named José Contreras as head architect in charge of preservation in 1828.

The abandoned state was in during the 18th century. The damage from the war is reflected in the art by travellers such as Richard Ford, Girault Prangey and David Roberts. From 1851 to 1884 Rafael Contreras carried out projects and work in the Court of the Myrtles and the Court of Lions.  His son, Mariano Contreras, did the same after him, from 1890 to 1905.

Modesto Cendoya continued in the same line and devoted a large portion of his efforts to working on the palaces.

The General Plan for the Conservation of the Alhambra clearly emphasises these palaces. However, it would be Leopoldo Torres Balbás at the helm when the palaces were definitively consolidated since he worked on countless projects at the two palaces during his time as Supervising Architect from 1923 to 1936.

Over the rest of the 20th century, and what has already gone by in the 21st, these palaces have been handled with care by all the architects who have worked on the Alhambra.

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