Alhambra Palace Complex: Detail, Sala de los Abencerrajes, stalactite or mocárabes vault
Sala de los Abencerrajes has a square ground-plan, which ascends by means of squinches to form a star-shaped drum supporting a supremely beautiful star-shaped mocárabes vault.
The palaces of the Alhambra and Generalife form the most important architectural ensemble to survive from the Nasrid period (1232–1492). The walled Alhambra city which sits on a steep hill, comprised the Alcazaba (alqaṣaba: 'fortress'), palaces, mansions, two mosques, baths (ḥammams), an industrial zone with tanneries, a mint, kilns, workshops, and some adjacent royal estates such as the Generalife. The Generalife was built on ascending terraces. The sovereign reached the Generalife's royal mansion, the Dar al-Mamlaka al-Sa'ida ('royal house of felicity'), from the Alhambra's Puerta de Hierro, also built by Muhammad II. He ascended through orchards, crossed a first courtyard and entered the second through a guarded south portico, to ascend to a vestibule with a structural bench and up a steep staircase to the Patio de la Acequia. Gardens and fountains are interspersed throughout the palace complex. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.