Palacio de Carlos Quinto looks like a ‘lost’ palace in the middle of Alhambra.
It’s so different from the usual Moorish architecture of its neighboring structures that it looks like it’s a separate attraction. Part of Alhambra was actually demolished in order to build a palace after the name of Spain’s king.
Like other buildings with Roman architecture, it has a circular courtyard enclosed in a gigantic square.
Outside, there are numerous bronze rings believed to have been made for people to tie up their horses.
The massive design might pale in comparison with the other monuments in Alhambra but the Royal Manor of the Alhambra has a rich history to tell. First of all, this 16th century palace is one of the first Renaissance-styled buildings built outside Italy.
Second, it it the first full-fledged royal palace ordered to be built by an emperor in Spain.
And third, its construction symbolized the triumph of Christianity over Islam in Alhambra. But the most interesting fact? It was never inhabited by any Spanish king!
So... Who is Carlos Quinto?
More than the style of this palace, what is more fascinating is the history behind the construction of the Palacio, also known as Casa Real de la Alhambra and Casa Real Nueva. And to learn the history of this building, one must get to know Carlos V.
Carlos the Fifth, also known as King Charles I of Spain, is the grandson of Spain’s famous King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel, the masterminds of the Inquisitions and financiers of Christopher Columbus’ expeditions. Juana, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel’s daughter, married prince Philip from Ghent and gave birth to Charles V in 1500. King Philip and Queen Juana soon lived in Castile but were disliked by many since Philip was a foreigner. Philip soon died (many believed that he was assassinated) so Queen Juana went crazy and was called “Juana La Loca.”
Charles, meanwhile, grew up in Ghent with his grandparents but soon returned to Spain to take over as King Charles I of Castile in 1516. He also inherited the throne of the Holy Roman Empire from his grandfather King Ferdinand.
King and elected Emperor Charles I married his cousin Isabel of Portugal and they had their honeymoon in Granada in 1526. They fell in love with this paradise and the king decided to build a palace for himself.
He envisioned his palace to have Renaissance design, with comfortable amenities— different from the then-usual rugged fortresses. It was modeled on Florence’s Palazzo Pitti. Building this required a lot of budget, so he decided to levy tax on the city’s moriscos.
But when the construction began, the tribute of the moriscos became scarce for this massive project. The building had to be slowed down, and it ended up taking more than four hundred years to be built. Unfortunately, King Charles died on its 30th year of construction. The construction also outlived two generations of architects- Pedro Machuca (Michelangelo’s student) from 1527 to 1550 and his son Luis. It was only in 1957 when the palace finally had a roof; but instead of its initial plan of being a palace, it was turned into a national museum.
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