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The Alhambra (الحمراء) is a palace and fortress complex of the Moorish monarchs of Granada, in southern Spain (known as Al-Andalus when the fortress was constructed), occupying a hilly terrace on the south-eastern border of the city of Granada. It was the residence of the Muslim kings of Granada and their court, but is currently a museum exhibiting exquisite Islamic architecture. The Moorish portion of the Alhambra resembles many medieval Christian strongholds in its threefold arrangement as a castle, a palace and a residential annexe for subordinates. The alcazaba or citadel, its oldest part, is built on the isolated and precipitous foreland which terminates the plateau on the north-west. That is all massive outer walls, towers and ramparts are left. On its watch-tower, the Torre de la Vela, 25 m (85 ft high), the flag of Ferdinand and Isabella was first raised, in token of the Spanish conquest of Granada, on January 2, 1492. A turret containing a huge bell was added in the 18th century, and restored after being damaged by lightning in 1881. Beyond the Alcazaba is the palace of the Moorish kings, or Alhambra properly so-called; and beyond this, again, is the Alhambra Alta (Upper Alhambra), originally tenanted by officials and courtiers.
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