Our earliest memories
In the 11th Century, after the fragmentation of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, the city of Granada began to acquire an increasingly important position on the map of al-Andalus. The Zirid Dynasty established a kingdom in the city, building the Qadima, a fortress protected by defensive walls and glorified by palace buildings in what is today the high part of the Albaicín. With the arrival of the Almoravids and above all the Almohads, the city went from strength to strength. When al-Ahmar de Arjona proclaimed himself the first King of the Nasrid dynasty in 1238, he turned his attention to the hill opposite known as La Sabika. The Alhambra was born and the Albaicín became a residential district.
Under the Nasrids the Alhambra and the Albaicín enjoyed a period of burgeoning architectural heritage until 1492 when Isabel and Ferdinand conquered Granada. The city’s new Christian rulers then developed the city in other directions. The Albaicín was left as the last bastion of the Moriscos, the Muslims who remained in the Iberian Peninsula after the Christian conquest. Decades later the Albaicín underwent dramatic urban development with the widening of its streets, the construction of churches on top of what once were mosques, the arrival of new religious orders and the construction of grand palaces for the local nobility on the bank of the River Darro.
The close links between the Albaicín and the Alhambra show that the designs used in one are often imitated in the other. The Court of Myrtles in the Alhambra is a house of palatial dimensions, which the surviving Moorish houses in the Albaicín reproduce at a smaller, domestic scale. The central courtyard serenaded by the water butt and the gentle murmur of water, the rooms leading off from either side, the hall, the view from the balcony, the privacy, the seclusion are all common concepts in these spaces, regardless of the rank, position or wealth of the owners. This model survives today in the typical Granada house and by extension in the typical Andalusian house and is reflected in the lifestyle of those who dwell within.