The Alhambra and the Generalife were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. The name of palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Spain means ‘the red’, which is probably derived from the colour of the sun-dried bricks of which the outer walls are built.
Constructed on a plateau that overlooks the city of Granada, the palace was built chiefly between 1238 and 1358, in the reigns of Ibn al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty, and his successors. The splendid decorations of the interior are ascribed to Yūsuf I. After the expulsion of the Moors in 1492, much of the interior was effaced and the furniture was ruined or removed. Charles V, who ruled Spain as Charles I, rebuilt portions in the Renaissance style and destroyed part of the Alhambra in order to build an Italianate palace designed by Pedro de Machuca in 1526. In 1812 some of the towers were blown up by the French during the War of Independence, and in 1821 an earthquake caused further damage to the structure. Restoration of the building was undertaken in 1828 and continued through the 20th century.