Did you know that stone was a symbol of power?


Stone is used at the Alhambra for both ornamental and functional purposes. In its ornamental guise it appears as an emblem of power, adorning and forming part of the monument’s great gates, the best examples of which are the Puerta de la Justicia (Gate of Justice) and the Puerta de los Siete Suelos (Gate of the Seven Floors), which was lost and later rebuilt. It also appears in smaller, less spectacular gates, which are nonetheless of great beauty such as the Puerta del Vino (Gate of the Wine). According to the Official Guide to the Alhambra, the ornamental use of stone is often associated with water, in that stone was the main material from which its numerous fountains were built. The best-known example is the Fountain of the Lions, which was made of white marble from Macael.

As regards its functional use, stone can be seen paving the floors, sometimes with spectacularly large slabs as in the Hall of the Two Sisters, or as a structural material as for example in the columns in the Court of the Lions.

Nonetheless, anyone wishing to see the finest use of masonry in the whole Alhambra complex in both structural and ornamental terms should pay a visit to the Palace of Charles V.