group of researchers from the Spanish universities of Granada and Seville and the Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland, announced that they have made new discoveries in the Alhambra in Granada.
These scholars again ascended to the Al-Hamra hill with a new approach to the muqarnas of the Nasrid Bani Al-Ahmar Palace, the famous Islamic archaeological landmark overlooking the Al-Albayzin quarter from the centuries of the Islamic Andalusian era in the history of Spain.
Researchers returned with a new methodology to the muqarnas of the famous Lions Square corridors, based in the first stage on studying the most important pictures and drawings available on them from the 17th century to the 20th century. On their light, theoretical drawings of them were developed by computer, according to what was discovered from the engineering bases in the muqarnas in question. In a third and final stage, the muqarnas in question were scanned in three dimensions to examine them carefully to determine their current state and determine the transformations that have occurred to them over the past centuries.
The researchers’ efforts culminated in the discovery of new technical elements, previously unknown, that attracted the attention of the academic and media circles in Spain.
Among them are the mismatch of all muqarnas, contrary to what was known to experts, and the discrepancy of the pieces that go into their formation, in addition to the discovery of geometric distortions that affected the original Nasrid-Andalusian design. Consequently, the team of researchers was able to accurately identify the hitherto unknown pieces of these muqarnas, the original and intruder, and the transformations that naturally occurred to them over hundreds of years.
The applied study conducted by the research team allowed for a more accurate knowledge and better understanding of the architectural rules according to which the Muslim architects in Andalusia built this historical masterpiece recognized for its aesthetic and functional superiority globally.
It is noteworthy that the Alhambra is considered a cultural historical landmark in the Spanish city of Granada, classified within the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. And it enjoys special attention by the authorities of the Andalusia region in southern Spain and the central authorities in the capital, Madrid. It generates large revenues for the state from tourists’ visits to the palace, which are estimated at two million visitors every year.
For a professor at the University of Seville, Antonio Gameth, and one of the supervisors of this applied research on the stalactites of the Alhambra, “for the first time, this study documents and analyzes details that were not yet known in the scientific literature.”
Muqarnas, which the Spaniards call “Los Mocárabes” in their language after a small adaptation to their tongue, is one of the unique wonders of the Alhambra Palace and the history of Islamic arts, with its sophisticated three-dimensional and very sophisticated engineering form in its era, given the level of progress of the architectural arts of mankind at that time.
Contrary to what is believed, the Alhambra Palace was built in stages that lasted more than 150 years, and it was not built all at once. . This is what made the Alhambra a royal complex that includes a group of palaces and not a single palace. The maturity of this Andalusian royal complex reached its climax with the works undertaken by Prince Muhammad V (1354-1359 and 1362-1391), which became the most important and most prominent achievements in the “time of connection to Andalusia”.