The Emperor Carlos V moved his court to the royal houses of the Alhambra, to spend summer there in 1526. Ever since then the Emperor wanted to establish one of his houses of residence in Granada. To this end he planned the construction of a new palace, connected to the Arabic Alcázar building and continued the work started by his grandparents, the Catholic Monarchs.
The architect and painter from Toledo, Pedro Machuca, a student of Michelangelo, was entrusted with the project in 1527. The Emperor Carlos V wanted to provide the Alhambra with a place with all the comforts of the time, but he did not see his dream become a reality. The incomplete palace went through several stages, such as the lack of financing resources, or revolts that stopped the work. The ceilings even fell in because of the neglect. The architect Leopoldo Torres Balbás started restoration work in 1923.
The palace is square in shape, and the main façades are 63 metres wide and 17 metres high. In the centre it has a unique circular courtyard, which makes it one of the most beautiful Renaissance creations ever. Only the western and southern façades are totally decorated. The northern and eastern ones are only partly decorated, owing to the fact that the building is connected to the Nasrid Palaces. The western façade is Doric in style and is decorated with friezes of military victories, whilst the South facing side is of Ionic style and its friezes describe mythological scenes.
At present the Palace of Carlos V is the site for the Alambra Museum (about cultura y arte hispanomusulmán and the Fine arts Museum).