Alhambra: Christian-Era Monuments

The south facade of Palacio Carlos V (Charles V Palace) in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Carlos V Pillar

The image shows a beautifully decorated wall located next to the Puerta de la Justicia and below the artillery pieces in front of the Palacio Carlos V. You can see this on your way to the Alhambra.

Carlos V Pillar
Carlos V Pillar

As you can see, the wall has three distinct levels of carvings. The bottom level is about Granada. The middle and top levels are about Carlos V, Holy Roman Emperor, who commissioned the building of this wall.

Carved at the bottom level are the three masks, which, according to experts, represent the three rivers of Granada, Darro, Beiro, and Genil. Representing Granada is a pomegranate growing on a tree branch carved on each of the two pilasters in the middle. Note that Granada means pomegranate in Spanish.

At the center of the middle level is an inscription in Latin describing Carlos V. The semi-circular block on the top level has his coat of arms enclosed by a double-headed eagle, which represents the Hapsburg Empire. The four medallions carved on sides of this circular block have reliefs depicting scenes from Greek mythology.

Palacio Carlos V (Charles V Palace)

The south facade of Palacio Carlos V (Charles V Palace) in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Palacio Carlos V (Charles V Palace) – South Facade

The Palacio Carlos V is one of the large buildings you see as you enter the Alhambra site. It is a square-shaped building with a circular court in the middle. The facades on the southern and western sides are ornate and have beautifully designed entrances. The northern and eastern walls are mostly unadorned because part of them are connected to the buildings of the Nasrid era. The image shows the south side facade.

Built in the 1500s, this Renaissance building was intended to be a summer palace for Carlos V (Charles V), Holy Roman Emperor, who was an ardent admirer of the Alhambra and wanted to be part of it, although he never got to live in it. He entrusted the job of building the palace to Pedro Machuca, a renowned architect of his time, who also remodeled and renovated part of the Nasrid Palaces. He was a brilliant architect well ahead of his time, and some of the concepts and designs he used became popular later, including the circular court at the center of the building.

Read More: Palacios Nazaríes – Nasrid Palaces – A Shining Example of Moorish Art and Architecture

Palacio Carlos V (Charles V Palace) located in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Palacio Carlos V – Charles V Palace

Although the construction of this palace began in 1527, it was not completed for many reasons, including financial and political, and fell into disrepair because of long neglect. Even the roof of the partially built structure came off, and the palace remained roofless for a long time. It underwent a major renovation, which included adding a new roof, and was eventually completed in 1957. The building now houses the Museo de Bellas Artes, a museum of fine arts.

The image shows a view of the palace as seen from the Torre del Cubo of Alcazaba. It shows the west-facing facade and northern wall connected to the Nasrid Palaces. The white-painted structure abutting the wall is the southern gallery of the Court of the Myrtles.

Palacio Carlos V (Charles V Palace) - Circular Court at the Center
Palacio Carlos V (Charles V Palace) – Circular Court at the Center

As you can see from the image, many people are standing in line in front of the palace. They are the visitors waiting to enter the Nasrid Palaces. The entrance is along the northern wall of the Charles V Palace.

Iglesia de Santa María de la Alhambra – Church of St. Mary of the Alhambra

Iglesia de Santa María de la Alhambra (Church of Santa Maria of Alhambra) - A view from the Partal
Church of Santa Maria – A view from the Gardens of the Partal

The image shows a view of the Iglesia de Santa María de la Alhambra (Church of St. Mary of the Alhambra) as seen from the Gardens of the Partal.

Located next to the Palacio Carlos V on the the Alhambra alta (i.e., upper area), the Church of Santa Maria is an iconic landmark of the Alhambra of the Christian era.

Note: To find its location, look for Area B in the map of the Alhambra. You can also see its location with respect to the other buildings in the external view of the Alhambra.

A grand mosque built by the Nasrids in the 1300s existed in this site. Sultans used this mosque for daily prayer, and because of that, it was a place of many palace intrigues. It is believed that Yusuf I, the seventh Nasrid king, was assassinated in this mosque.

Just after the Catholic monarchs took over the Alhambra, the grand mosque was converted into a Christian chapel. Many years later, it was decided to demolish the building and build a grand church in its place. The building of the church began in 1581 with Juan de Herrera being the architect. Because of the cost, his design was simplified by Ambrosio De Vico, who completed it in 1618.

Related Pages
Alhambra – Discover the magic of the Alhambra
Palacios Nazaríes – Nasrid Palaces – A Shining Example of Moorish Art and Architecture
Los Jardines del Partal – The Gardens of the Partal
Alcazaba – A Formidable Fortress of the Nasrids
Medina, the Bustling City of the Nasrids
Alhambra – Christian-Era Monuments
Alhambra – Outer Monuments
Heavenly Gardens of the Nasrids
Real Alcázar of Seville:
Pedro I Palace – A masterpiece of Mudéjar art and architecture

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