Al-Andalus mortar is an ancient binding material (lime mortar) that was used for centuries in numerous historical buildings in Al-Andalus, Granada (Spain). The physico-chemical and microscopic properties of Al-Andalus mortars in Granada were studied as part of an investigation into the mineral raw materials present in the territory of Spain. Scanning electron microscope and X-ray diffraction analyses of eight main types of mortars were performed to show the presence of calcite, gypsum, quartz, and muscovite minerals with organic fibers. Chemical analyses of the specimens showed that high SiO2+Al2O3+Fe2O3 contents yielded high values of hydraulicity and cementation indices. A significant result of this study was that mortars with high hydraulicity and cementation indices have high mechanical strengths. This characteristic may be the main reason for the earthquake resistance of the historical Alhambra Palace. (C) 2015 The Authors. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V.