12th – 13rd Century
The Arabs respected Roman cities and roads by expanding them and adding new foundations. In the 9th century there are mentions of constructions on the hill of Sabika, where the Alhambra will rise later, although it is believed that in Roman times and even before there was some buildings. After the civil war in the Caliphate of Córdoba (1031), the capital of the until then province of Granada moves from Elvira to Granada, with the kingdom of Granada’s Taifa of the Ziríes. They establish their court in the Alcazaba Cadima or Old, located in the Albaicín neighborhood.
In its foothills there was an important population center, mainly Jewish, around which the development of the city of Granada takes place. Prime Minister Samuel ibnNagrella, rebuilds the abandoned buildings of the Sabika Hill and installs his Palace.
In the 12th century, the successive waves of Almorávides and Almohades cause in Granada several fights that have as their scenario the Albaicín Alcazaba and the constructions that existed on the Sabika hill. This one served as a refuge for local Andalusian supporters as well as others to North African invaders.
13th – 15th Century
Al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid Dynasty, settles in 1238 in the Albaicín Old Alcazaba. The ruins of the Alhambra hill caught his attention and he decides to start his reconstruction and install the seat of the court, starting the building of the Alhambra that we know today.
The Alhambra was a palace, citadel and fortress, residence of the Nasrid sultans and high officials, servants of the court and elite soldiers. It reaches its splendor in the second half of the 14th century, coinciding with the sultanates of Yusuf I (1333-1354) and the second reign of Muhammad V (1362-1391).
Granada, capital of the Nasrid kingdom, is gradually receiving Muslim populations because of the advance of the Christian conquest. The city is growing, changing, creating new neighborhoods and expanding the fences and walls practically until its conquest at the end of the 15th century.
16th – 18th Century
After 1492, the Alhambra was established as a Royal House with exempt jurisdiction in charge of the Count of Tendilla. The Catholic Monarchs ordered intense reparations using mostly Moorish artisans.
In 1526, Emperor Charles V decides to build the palace that bears his name, along with other very significant constructions with Roman Renaissance taste. The Austrian house continued from Philip II (1556-1598) and his successors in charge of the conservation of the Alhambra, admired by humanists and artists such as Andrea Navaggiero (1524), Venice’s ambassador to the Court of Charles V.
In the first decades of the 18th century, Felipe V (1700-1746) dispossessed the Marquis of Mondéjar, heir to the Count of Tendilla, beginning a stage of abandonment practically until the reign of Carlos IV (1788-1808).
19th Century until today
The Napoleonic occupation was a negative episode for the Alhambra, due to the blasting produced in 1812, when the French army retired. Only the courage of a Spanish soldier prevented its almost total destruction.
To a stage of vindications about the state of the monument, actively seconded by Washington Irving (1783-1859), is added a growing interest of society for the gardens of the Alhambra and orientalism that evokes in the romantic imaginary, very well reflected in the plastic arts of the moment.
After the revolution of 1868, the Alhambra is detached from the Crown and passes into the domain of the State, declaring itself in 1870 as a “national monument”.
In the early 20th century, the care of the Alhambra is entrusted to a Commission (1905), replaced in 1913 by a Board of Trustees that in 1915 becomes dependent on the General Directorate of Fine Arts. In 1944, a new Board of Trustees is created and maintained until the functions and services of the State in matters of culture are transfered to the Autonomous Region of Andalusia.