The Alhambra and the Nasrids of Granada with Tiago Neiva

The Alhambra and the Nasrids of Granada with Tiago Neiva


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In 1238, a small local leader called Muhammad ibn Nasr, took advantage of the lack of power in the south region of Spain - due to the constant wars between Christians and Muslims - and seized the city of Granada and its surroundings. He established the Emirate of Granada and became the first monarch of the Nasrid dynasty. This was the longest-lasting dynasty in the history of al-Andalus: it ruled for about 250 years.

The most important achievement of this dynasty was the construction of the Alhambra - the iconic red fortress of Granada. This palace and fortress complex was conceived, (re)built, and enlarged by several monarchs over the centuries, becoming the emblematic symbol of the city and one of the most important representations of Islamic political, military and artistic power, during the Medieval Ages. This conversation will explore the history and architecture of this building all while deepening participants understanding of the Nasrid dynasty at the time of Muhammad ibn Nasr and beyond.

As a unique architectural ensemble in the world, composed of different fortifications, palaces, leisure areas, and gardens, the Alhambra has become more than just a building. We’ll discuss it’s place as a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture and culture. Due to this admiration, even after its conquest and subsequent reuse by Christian monarchs, it remained mostly intact and unscathed. We’ll learn how in the following centuries, its labyrinthine rooms, courtyards, fountains, and gardens will become a favorite place of fascination by European and American romantic travelers, artists, writers, or orientalist experts. Currently, the Alhambra is the most famous and visited building in all of Spain, having been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.

Led by an expert on architecture and art history, Tiago Miranda Neiva, this interactive seminar will first explore the history of the Nasrid dynasty highlighting the construction of the Alhambra Palaces; we’ll then explore the multiple architectonic principles and the aesthetics of Alhambra; finally, in the third section, we’ll discuss the legacy and the memories which remain until the present days.

Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a better understanding of the legacy of the last Islamic dynasty of Spain and the history of the Alhambra, the most amazing and preserved Islamic palace in the western world.

Tiago Miranda Neiva was born and raised in Lisbon. For several years he was Professor of Arts and Art History, having a Master's degree in Teaching of Visual Arts. He is currently working towards a PhD focused on the Art and Architecture of al-Andalus: the confluence between the Arab, Jewish and Christian medieval world. In recent years he has been working as a tour guide in his hometown, seeking to show and reveal its most intimate secrets through an authentic and passionate local vision.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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