The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Spanish for "Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs"), also known as the Alcázar of Córdoba, is a medieval Alcázar located in the historic centre of Córdoba, Spain next to the Guadalquivir River and near the Grand Mosque. The Alcázar takes its name from the Arabic word القصر (Al-Qasr, meaning "the Palace"). The fortress served as one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.
In early medieval times, the site was occupied by a Visigoth fortress. When the Visigoths fell to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, the emirs of the Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus rebuilt the structure. The Umayyads fell to the Abbasid Caliphate and the surviving member of the Umayyad Dynasty, Abd ar-Rahman I, fled to Córdoba. Abd ar-Rahman I's successors established the independent Caliphate of Córdoba and used the Alcázar as their palace. The city subsequently flourished as an important political and cultural center, and the Alcázar was expanded to a very large compound with baths, gardens, and the largest library in the West. Watermills on the nearby Guadalquivir powered water lifting to irrigate the extensive gardens.
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