A Swiss woman was arrested on Jan 10 for drawing a heart and initials on the wall of the Golden Room in the magnificent Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.
The woman, aged 18, was told to stop by guards at the Alhambra but continued to finish the heart. She was then arrested and taken to Granada's police headquarters where she refused to answer questions. Later she was taken before a judge and was then released on bail after being charged with vandalism, according to El Pais newspaper.
Despite the beauty of the Alhambra, which was built by the rulers of the Moorish empire in Granada and is a UNESCO world heritage site, this was not the first time that someone has defaced it. In August 2011, a Jordanian soldier was fined €120 and ordered to pay €200 in damages after writing his name and the date on the wall of the Palace of Charles V inside the Alhambra complex.
Switzerland's The Local Newspaper reports that the woman, believed to be of Arabic origin, had used her nails to scratch the heart and that the initials were not her own. The paper says in its report that "The damage is superficial, but we can't allow this kind of behaviour to take place," a spokeswoman for the Council of the Alhambra told The Local. These kinds of offences fall under the National Heritage Law. It's like damaging a painting at the El Prado museum."
The woman is now awaiting a trial date and may face a custodial sentence as the room she chose to damage, called 'the Golden Room' is one of the most beautiful in the Nasrite Palace, part of the large Alhambra complex. It is most likely, however, that she will receive a fine.
The Alhambra, which means 'Red Castle' in Arabic is set on a hill overlooking the city of Granada. Its fortress was built around the ninth century and it became the home of the Nasrite Emirs from 1238. It became part of the Catholic monarchy's court from 1492 following the reconquest of that part of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella, known as the Catholic Monarchs.