By choosing the ‘Key to the Alhambra’ as the story of the month of November 2023, the Centre is keen to shed light on the historical and cultural achievements of HH the Ruler of Sharjah that have left an impact on the development of scientific and cultural relations between Sharjah and the city of Granada in southern Spain.
The Centre stressed that when José Torres Otado, Mayor of Granada, presented the bronze copy of the key to the Alhambra Palace to the Ruler of Sharjah, it was a celebration of a champion of science and culture and the upholder of the banner of Arab and Islamic civilization, for his pioneering efforts for the good of mankind and humanity in a city that witnessed in 2003 a huge celebration over the construction of the Grand Mosque in Granada in the historic Al-Bayazin neighbourhood at the expense of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. It is the first mosque built after the end of Muslim rule from Andalusia more than five centuries ago.
The mosque also includes an Islamic cultural centre containing a library that can accommodate more than ten thousand books in Arabic, Spanish, English, Turkish and Urdu. The mosque is famous externally for its traditional style of Spanish architecture, while internally it is decorated with delicate Islamic motifs and alabaster.
The Sharjah Ruler further added to the joy of Granada’s residents by ordering the restoration of historical buildings in the city, which represented a bridge of cultural communication and intellectual dialogue between Europe, which was living in the Dark Ages at the time, and the Arabs in the Age of Enlightenment, reviving the glories of the Arab and Islamic civilizations. He also opened prospects for exchanging expertise, experiences and cooperation for the good of mankind. He linked the common heritage that Arabs and Spaniards to the fields of culture, art, science, and humanity.
The key to the Alhambra Palace is presented to an internationally acclaimed leaders, scholars, thinkers, and government figures who have served the city of Granada and boosted relations between the Muslims and Spanish people. Conferring this honour on the Sharjah Ruler is a profound gesture of gratitude from the city of Granada to the Sultan of Charity and Culture.