Congresos de la Universitat Politècnica de València, Irrigation, Society and Landscape. Tribute to Tom F. Glick

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Water management at the Alhambra: A late medieval study
April L. Najjaj

Última modificación: 06-02-2015


Abstract. The Alhambra is a medieval palace-city that had been the royal residence and seat of government for the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, the last Islamic dynasty of al-Andalus.  With the dynasty’s founding in 1238 CE, a steady supply of water became a necessity for an expanding palace-city, both in the royal precincts of the site as well as the medina area where the ancillary population resided.  Besides basic hygiene, in an Islamic context, water was important for observance of religious obligations as well as a symbol of power and authority for the Nasrid sultans with the many baths, fountains, gardens, and reflecting pools found throughout the Alhambra that are a mark of luxury in an otherwise arid environment.  Lastly, in terms of agricultural use, providing for the use and storage of water at the Alhambra was important for cultivation both inside and outside the walls of the palace-city, as well as in the lands surrounding the city of Granada itself.  The practical uses of water as well as the symbolism of wealth and power that comes from water control are important for understanding the context of water use and management at the Alhambra.


Keywords. Alhambra, cultural studies, water, Nasrid dynasty

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