Aljafería Palace

Aljafería Palace


Description of Aljaferia Palace

The palace of the Aljafería is a fortified palace built in Zaragoza in the second half of the 11th century on the initiative of al-Muqtadir as the residence of the hudí kings of Saraqusta . This recreational palace (called then «or Palace of Happiness) reflects the splendor reached by the Taifa kingdom in the period of its maximum political and cultural heyday.

Its importance lies in the fact that it is the only preserved testimony of a large building of Hispanic Islamic architecture of the taifas era . So, if you keep a magnificent example of the Caliphate of Cordoba , its mosque (X century), and another swan song of Islamic culture in Al-Andalus , the XIV century, the Alhambra in Granada , should be included in the triad of Hispano-Muslim architecture the palace of the Aljafería de Zaragoza (11th century) as a sample of the realizations of taifa art , an intermediate period of independent kingdoms prior to the arrival of the Almoravids. The Mudejar remains of the palace of the Aljafería were declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1986 as part of the ensemble « Mudejar Architecture of Aragon ».

The solutions adopted in the ornamentation of the palace of the Aljafería, such as the use of mixtilinear arches and of the salmeres in "S", the extension of the ataurique openwork in large surfaces or the schematization and progressive abstraction of the plaster of vegetal character, influenced decisively in the Almoravid and Almohad art of both the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula . Likewise, the transition of decoration towards more geometric motifs is at the base of Nasrid art .

After the reconquest of Zaragoza in 1118 by Alfonso I the Battler became the residence of the Christian kings of Aragon , with which the Aljafería became the main diffusing focus of the Aragonese Mudejar . It was used as a royal residence by Pedro IV the Ceremonious (1319-1387) and later, on the main floor, the reform was carried out that converted these rooms into the palace of the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. In 1593he underwent another reform that would turn it into a military fortress, first according to Renaissance designs (which today can be seen in its surroundings, moat and gardens) and later as a barracks for military regiments. It underwent continuous reforms and great damages, especially with the Sites of Zaragoza of the War of Independence until finally it was restored in the second half of the 20th century and currently hosts the Cortes of Aragón .

In its origin the construction was done extrawalls of the Roman wall, in the plain of the saría or place where the Muslims developed the military boasts known as La Almozara . With the urban expansion through the years, the building has remained inside the city. It has been possible to respect a small garden environment around it.