Right beside the church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra stands the palace of Charles V.
I personally felt it looked slightly out of place, the Renaissance-style building jutting out like a sore thumb amongst the Moorish architecture.
But if you think about it, the construction of the palace of the Roman Emperor is highly symbolic of the triumph of Christianity over Islam in the region.
Quick tip on how to discern if it’s Moorish architecture or not: Moorish architecture does not have images of humans or animals. In line with Islamic beliefs, it uses only geometric and foliage/plant-based patterns (google ‘arabesque’ if you’re interested to know more). This palace is definitely not Moorish.
The palace has an interesting circular patio, something that caught me by surprise. I’ve always had a soft spot for circular patios, for some reason.
The palace itself houses several museums and a gift shop. I was so tempted to purchase the books on the Alhambra! Had to remind myself I had several other places to backpack to and no way was I going to add more weight to my back!
I actually only found out after I left Andalucia that this particular palace was never constructed in time for the emperor. He decided to build the palace in 1526, but works were abandoned in 1623. It was only in 1926 did plans to complete the building finally get underway, under the architect in charge of restoring the Alhambra. (Source)
Now that sure took a loooooooong time to complete!