Monday, July 22, 2013


The Aljafería Palace (Spanish: Palacio de la Aljafería; Arabic: قصر الجعفرية‎, tr. Qasr al-Jaʿfariya) is a fortified medieval Islamic palace built during the second half of the 11th century in the Moorish taifa of Zaragoza of Al-Andalus, present day Zaragoza, Spain. It was the residence of the Banu Hud dynasty during the era of Abu Jaffar Al-Muqtadir after abolishing Banu Tujibi of Kindah dynasty. The palace reflects the splendor attained by the kingdom of the Taifa of Zaragoza at the height of its grandeur. The palace currently contains the Cortes (regional parliament) of the autonomous community of Aragon.
The structure holds unique importance in that it is the only conserved testimony of a large building of Spanish Islamic architecture of the era of the Taifas (independent kingdoms).

After the capture of Zaragoza in 1118 by Alfonso I of Aragon, the Aljaferia became the residence of the Christian kings of the Kingdom of Aragon and as such was converted into the focal point for spread of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon. It was the birthplace of Saint Isabel of Portugal in the year 1271. It was used as the royal residence by Peter IV of Aragon and subsequently, on the principal building site, a renovation was carried out that converted these chambers into the palace of the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. In 1593, the structure experienced another renovation that converted it into a military base, first according to Renaissance designs (which today can be observed in its moat and gardens) and later as military quarters. The building suffered continuous alterations and considerable imperfections, above all with the Siege of Zaragoza during the Peninsular War until it was finally restored in the second half of the 20th century and currently it houses the Cortes or autonomous community legislative assembly of Aragon.
In the original construction, extra ramparts were made in the open field surrounding the Aljaferia. With urban expansion over the years, the building has remained inside of the city. Yet the city of Zaragoza has not been able to honour the landscaped surroundings of the Aljaferia. A freeway passes only a few meters away.

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