Muslim Gravestones of the Alhambra

Spanish architects used seized Muslim gravestones to rebuild parts of the fortress. 

The Alhambra, a 14th-century palace and fortress in the hills of Granada, is a must-see during any visit to Southern Spain. But as you pass by the towering watchtowers, soldiers’ quarters, and incredible gardens, it’s easy to overlook an important architectural detail: Many walls were built (or rebuilt) using Muslim gravestones.

On January 2, 1492, Muhammad XII of Granada surrendered the Emirate of Granada, the city of Granada, and the Alhambra to the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II of Spain. The event marked the end of more than seven centuries of Muslim rule over the Iberian Peninsula and the policy of convivencia, which allowed Muslims, Catholics, and Jews to freely practice their religions.

The new monarchy hoped to religiously unify the country. Immediately after the surrender, Jews were forced to convert to Christianity or be subject to expulsion or slavery. At first, Muslims were protected from forced conversion by the Treaty of Granada, which was signed by both parties just a few months before the surrender.

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