Moorish Spain was never very unified, and from the tenth to the eleventh century Zaragoza was the centre of an independent dynasty, the Beni Kasim. Their palace, the Aljaferia was built in the hey-day if their rule in the mid-eleventh century, and such predates the Alhambra in Granada and Seville’s Alcazar.
Much, however, was added later, under twelfth-to fifteenth-century Christian rule, when the palace was adapted and used by the reconquista kings of Aragon. Since 1987, the Aragonese parliament has met here- a move which adds prestige to both the building and the institution.
From the original design the foremost relic is a tiny and beautiful mosque, adjacent to the entrance. Further on is an original and intricately decorated court, the Patio de Santa Isabella.
Crossing from here, the Grand Staircase (added in 1492) leads to a succession of mainly fourteenth-century rooms, remarkable for their carved artesonado ceiling; the most beautiful is in the Throne Room, currently under restoration.