The city of Granada is located near the southern tip of Spain, on the hills at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. An important city during the period of Umayyad rule (756-1031 AD) and under the Almohad and Almoravid dynasties of the twelfth and thirteenth-centuries, Granada is most famous for the palaces within the palatine city of the Alhambra.
Founded by Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Nasr, who escaped to Granada after the Castilian conquest of his native Zaragoza, Granada was the capital of the Nasrid Sultanate, and as such became the last Islamic kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula following the Castilian conquest of al-Andalus in the thirteenth-century.
The medieval city was composed of separate quarters, each with its own mosques and baths. Granada's suburbs developed along the banks of the Darro River, on the plain and hills below the Alhambra. The government functions of the Nasrid rulers were concentrated in the Alhambra, while commercial, religious, and civic institutions were concentrated in Granada proper.
The Albaicín, a walled suburb on the hill opposite that of the Alhambra, is the best-preserved section of the medieval city, but retains only a fraction of the mosques and celebrated courtyard houses that once existed there.
Dickie, James. 1992. "Granada: A Case Study of Arab Urbanism in Muslim Spain." In The Legacy of Muslim Spain, edited by S. K. Jayyusi and M. Marín. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill, 88-111.
Hermann, Elizabeth Dean. 1996. Urban formation and landscape: symbol and agent of social, political and environmental change in fifteenth-century Nasrid Granada. Harvard Univ.: PhD. Dissertation.
"Gharnata." In Encyclopedia of Islam. 2nd ed.
"Nasrids." In Encyclopedia of Islam. 2nd ed.
Roca Roumens, M., Moreno Onorato, M. A. & Lizcano Prestel, R. 1988. El Albaicín y los orígenes de la ciudad de Granada. Granada: Universidad de Granada.
The minaret at the Church of San José is one of two which have survived in Granada, a city in which, according to textual evidence, there were once well over one hundred mosques. The eleventh-century minaret and its mosque, identified in post-conquest documents as the Mosque of the Murabitin, were located within the citadel (Spanish Alcazaba). In 1517 the mosque was destroyed to make way for the church of San José, and as happened elsewhere on the Iberian Peninsula, the minaret was appropriated to serve as the new bell tower. The square minaret measures 3.85 meters per side; within, a cuadrangular staircase ascends around a solid central core. The lower portion of the tower is constructed of large stone blocks, while the upper portion is constructed of smaller blocks laid in an alternating pattern of three vertical, narrow headers framing wide horizontal stretchers. A single horseshoe-arched window illuminates the interior.
Sources: M. Gómez Moreno. 1907. Monumentos arquitectónicos de España: Granada. Madrid, p. 54-55.
Antonio Orihuela Uzal. 1995. "Granada, Capital del Reino Nazarí."Arquitectura del Islam Occidental. Barcelona: Lunwerg, p. 203.
Leopoldo Torres-Balbas. 1941. "El alminar de la Iglesia de San José y las construcciones de los ziries granadinos," Al-Andalus, VI, Fasc. 1, p. 427-446.