When Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar,the Cid, was born circa 1043 A.D., Spain was primarily in the hands of the Moslems. The kingdoms of Castile and Aragon as well as Leon were the only part of Spain remaining in Christian hands. The central portion of Spain was something of a no-man's land.It would be here where the Christian kings of Castile and Aragon would rightfully begin the reconquest of Spain. This battle would last for almost 500 years. It would be concluded with the fall of the last Moslem city called Granada in 1492.
The Cid was born into a family of the lower nobility. Rodrigo, in his youth Rodrigo was probably at page at the court of the king of Castile. Consequently he was familiar with the royal family. Rodrigo rose in prominance over the years. His life with all it's ups and downs is very similar to that of King David. The title El Cid (the Lord) by the Moors and El Campeador (the Champion) by Christians.
The Cid married Dona Ximena or Jimena and with her had three children; a son Diego Rodríguez who died at 19 fighting the Moslems and two daughters. The Cid wage war on the Moslems and the Moors of North Africa. Eventually he would end up capturing the important city of Valencia. The Cid would die defending the city against the Moors in 1099. Xermana would abandon the city after the Cid's death along with his personal army.
The Cid over the years of fighting the Moslem kingdoms in Andalusia, in Spain had to often capture small local strong holds called alhambras. These were small fortress palaces common throughout Spain.
During the last decades of the eleventh century Spain was dotted with citadels called alhambras. An alhambra was a simple, generally isolated marcher castle as said. Along the borders of the no-man's land of central Spain there many of these which changed hands regularly.
Below is my interpretation of a typical alhambra. I used this at Cold Wars 2012.The alhambra consists of a central tower. The tower comes apart with the base being attached to the flag stone base. The doorway section can be removed as well as the upper most battlements. Beside the tower is a prison. The roof s removable and holds several prisoners. Defending this upper ward is a smaller tower which dominates the next ward or level of the defenses. A gate way leads down to the next ward of the alhambra.
The second ward is a terraced area where stables for the garrison's horses and store rooms. This is the area with arches; it actually supports the upper defenses. This ward also has a tower and its own gate way which leads to the last or outer defenses or bailey. Note that each ward provides defense in depth.