The Alhambra history, art and heritage.

Mooc -massive open online course- offered in English and Spanish by the University of Granada and Escuela de la Alhambra.

Our intention is to provide a concise and simple, but not simplistic, learning tool, with all the scientific rigour of a university course, about the group of monuments known as the Alhambra. Its history, construction processes, aesthetic values ​​and conservation policies will be discussed.

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6 weeks course
Taught in Spanish and English
Documents and links
Interactive map
360-degree map
Knowledge areas
History, Art, Culture
Recognition and certificates
Certificate of Participation

Students who follow the weekly schedule and complete the activities proposed in the course will be entitled to receive a certificate of participation. This certificate is free of charge and can be downloaded in PDF format.



The aim of this online course is to facilitate the acquisition of deeper knowledge about the Alhambra, its history, its building processes, its aesthetic values and its conservation policies. Participants will learn about and analyze these topics over a period of six weeks.

The course will examine, through six weekly modules, the evolution of the citadel, palace and city that were built by the last state of Al-Andalus, the Nasrid Sultanate.

A team of professors and researchers have designed this course about the Alhambra’s cultural characteristics and history. The teachers will use audiovisual materials produced specifically for this course, supplementary teaching resources and direct online assistance. The course can be taken by anyone interested in the topic.

Course details

Introduction to the Alhambra Week 1

What is Al-Andalus?

What is the Nasrid Sultanate?

What is the Alhambra and why was it built?

Why is the Alhambra conserved today?

The Alhambra and the concept of cultural landscape

History of the Nasrids  Week 2

Origins of the Nasrid dynasty: the Ansars of Medina

The beginning of the kingdom (13th cent.): Muhammad I and the "new" fortress

Muhammad II and Muhammad III: new construction horizons (14th cent.)

The change of dynastic branch and its consequences: Ismail I

The Nasrid Golden Age (s XIV.): Yusuf I and Muhammad V

15th century: Muhammad VII and Yusuf III

The decline and fall of the kingdom: Muley Hacén and Boabdil Zagal

Structure of the Alhambra Week 3

The Alhambra as a city

Streets and entrances

The defence system

The water infrastructure

The palaces

The baths

The religious spaces

The service buildings

The gardens, orchards and pastures

The archaeological areas

The aesthetics of the Alhambra Week 4

The construction materials of the Alhambra

Calligraphy and poets

Doors and wooden frames

The ceiling of the Salón de Comares

The paintings in the Alhambra

The Court of the Lions

The gardens of the Alhambra

Water in the Alhambra

Plasterwork and muqarnas domes

Light in the Alhambra

Geometry and mathematics at the Alhambra

The music of the Nasrid Kingdom

Life in the Alhambra Week 5

Who lived in the Alhambra?

Government activities

Official receptions, parties and celebrations

Daily life at the court

Male and female spaces

Homes and domestic dwellings

Daily life in the medina

Conservation and restoration Week 6

After the Christian conquest of Granada

The eighteenth century: Academics

Romantic travelers

Conservative architects

Leopoldo Torres Balbás and scientific restoration

Conservation in the Alhambra and the work of Francisco Prieto Moreno

Management by the Board of Trustees of the Alhambra and the Generalife

The universal Alhambra

In the distance. Visions of the Alhambra Cross curricular module