Granada carc monument guide
The Alhambra complex is the world's most spectacular Arab citadel and the symbol of Granada. It comprises several visitable areas: the Alcazaba, a citadel with a watchtower; the Palace of Charles V, a Christian building that houses the Fine Arts Museum; the Generalife, a leisure residence and gardens; and the NasridPalaces, the heart of the Alhambra and home of the sultans.
Other monuments and attractions on the hill and forest of the Alhambra are also worth a visit: the Carmen de los Mártires, one of the most romantic gardens in Granada; and the Rodriguez-Acosta Foundation, declared a national monument for its architecture and gardens.
The Alcazaba of the Alhambra, or citadel, along with the towers known as the Torres Bermejas, is the oldest part of the complex of monuments, and served to watch over and control the city. It dates back to the 9th century. Furthermore, it was here that the king located the residences of his elite forces.
It not only served as a defence against enemies, but also to quell internal revolts. This defensive wall meant that, even once the city had fallen, the citadel resisted for a long period of time.
Within this area you will find the towers known as the Torre de la Quebrada (tower of the ravine), Torre del Homenaje (the keep) and the famous Torre de la Vela (tower of the veil).
The habitual residence of the kings of Granada, their construction began at the beginning of the 14th century. The Nasrid Palaces are a palatial complex formed by three buildings:
- The Mexuar is the oldest hall. It was employed for meetings between the ministers of the king and as a courtroom.
- Next, we come to the Palace of Comares, which dates back to the era of Yusuf I. This dwelling was erected around the Patio de los Arrayanes (Courtyard of the Myrtles), and its side exits lead to the Sala de los Embajadores (Hall of Ambassadors) and the Sala de la Barca (Hall of the Boat). The Hall of Ambassadors is located inside the Tower of Comares.
- The Palace of the Lions, dating back to the era of Muhammed V, is also a royal residence. It is composed of a central courtyard, the Courtyard of the Lions, and halls along each side, the Hall of the Mocarabes, the Hall of the Kings, the Hall of the Two Sisters, the Hall of the Ajimeces, leading on to the mirador Daraxa viewpoint, and the Hall of the Abencerrajes, along with the Harem
The Generalife served as a rest area of the kings of Granada and agricultural land. Dating back to the end of the 13th century, attention should be drawn to its ornamental gardens and orchards.
It consists of two buildings, linked to one another via the courtyard known as the Patio de la Acequia, the most emblematic amongst those found in this area of the Alhambra. It is at this point that we find the Acequia Real (Royal Irrigation Channel), charged with bringing water to all the gardens and the Alhambra complex as a whole.
Originally, it was located outside the grounds of the monument, representing the only point of access from the Paseo de los Tristes, via the Cuesta de los Chinos.
The Cathedral of Granada is to be understood in the context of the project for an imperial city envisaged by Emperor Charles V.
The Cathedral was ordered to be erected over the main mosque by the Catholic Monarchs in 1501, and the emperor wished to continue the work begun by his maternal grandparents in 1492. It is the greatest symbol of Christianity.
Its museum houses a number of pieces taking in a range of plastic arts: painting, sculpture, tapestry, gold and silver articles and religious ornaments. The vast edification that forms the Cathedral forms a part of an impressive series of monuments.
Beginning in the Plaza de las Pasiegas, where we can admire the Cathedral's main façade, we continue to the left where we are greeted by the bell tower, before travelling up along Cárcel Baja to contemplate the doors of San Jerónimo and El Perdón. Form Placeta de Siloé, visitors can take in the clock tower and the Ecce Homo door. The Cathedral is located in a central point, the perfect place to begin a stroll the heart of the city: Royal Chapel, Lonja (Old Exchange), and Alcaicería.
The Chapel of the Catholic Monarchs was conceived as a burial place that would be intimately linked to the Cathedral, without merging with its architecture.
It features a single nave, an octagonal presbytery preceded by steps, a modest transept with a choir at its west end, serving as a burial place. As a funerary chapel, no other in Spain rivals its size. It is at once simple and opulent, as a result of the queen's generous endowment.
The Royal Chapel holds the remains of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile (who was initially laid to rest in the Convent of San Francisco in the Alhambra), along with the bodies of Queen Joanna I, Philip I and Prince Miguel da Paz.
There is a small crypt beneath the tombs, marked by austerity, housing the royal coffins, which are made of lead and identified by the initial of each name on the lid.
Formed by the church and monastery, it dates back to before the Christian conquest of the city. It construction is attributed to the Catholic Monarchs.
The church features a Latin cross floor plan, boasting an elevated choir at its west end and an altar stands behind the wide staircase. Its elaborate high altar is decorated with images of saints, heroes, mythical characters, angels and historical figures. The Gran Capitán (Great Captain) is buried at the transept, next to his wife, lady María de Manrique, which is reflected in the iconography that extols his great military exploits and bravery.
The monastery features two cloisters with gardens. The first boasts predominantly Renaissance decoration. The second, now enclosed, pertaining to the Hieronymites, served as the residence of Isabella of Portugal on her honeymoon following her wedding to Emperor Charles V. The temple is the first in the world devoted to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
ABADÍA DEL SACROMONTE
Sacromonte Abbey is one of the city's most important buildings, at both a historical/cultural and religious level.
Perched on Valparaíso hill, the abbey takes a leading role at important points within the city's festive calendar, such as the procession in the first week of February paying homage to the patron saint, San Cecilio, or the procession of the Christ of the Gypsies, the most famous within Granada's Holy Week. Within the building complex, attention should be drawn to the HolyCaves, the seminary, the lead books and the relics of the disciples of Saint James the Apostle. Moreover, it affords enviable views of the Alhambra, the Albaicín, the River Darro and the picturesque district of Sacromonte.
PARQUE DE LAS CIENCIAS
The SciencePark is a scientific centre and museum covering 70,000 square metres, a few minutes' walk from the historic centre of Granada. Since it was inaugurated in 1995, it has become the museum in Andalusia that has registered the highest number of visits. More than seven million people have passed through the doors of this installation, a figure that has enabled it to consolidate its position a centre that is an international reference point in terms of scientific dissemination in southern Europe. It is open all year, from Tuesday to Sunday and on bank holidays, offering activities and exhibitions that cater to all age groups.
Seven pavilions featuring permanent exhibitions, including one focusing on the human body, 5000 square metres given over to temporary exhibitions, a digital planetarium, a cultural gallery, a library, cinemas, an auditorium and the windows on to science number amongst its attractions. Its facilities are given up to subject-matter relating to health, the environment, the scientific legacy of the culture of al-Andalus, architecture, literature, physics, chemistry, mechanics and astronomy, amongst other themes.
Moreover, it is an open-air museum, with 27,000 square metres of green areas, which also house exhibitions, along with an observation tower, a tropical butterfly house, an astronomical observatory, a workshop on the flight of birds of prey, botanical routes, a plant labyrinth, the astronomical garden and the mental gymnastics marquee.
CASA DE ZAFRA
The Moorish House of Zafra is undoubtedly one of the best hidden treasures of the Albaicín. Located close to Carrera del Darro, it is an excellently conserved example of a dwelling in the Moorish Spain of the 14th and 15th centuries.
It has retained impressive wall paintings dating from that period and affords beautiful views of the Alhambra.
Moreover, it has been fitted out as the Albaicín Visitor Centre. Here you will find information panels an interactive material (displays, QR codes and video screenings), enabling you to become better acquainted with this district, declared a World Heritage Site, and be better prepared to discover and understand its streets, plazas and viewpoints.
MUSEO DE BELLAS ARTES
Located inside the magnificent Palace of Charles V, the Museum of Fine Arts of Granada houses a splendid collection of artistic pieces.
The museum, having occupied several premises, was finally housed in the emperor's Renaissance palace, where it can be found on the first floor. Its nine exhibition halls chart the history of the art of Granada, from the fall of the Nasrid kingdom up to the present day. Alonso Cano, a multidisciplinary artist, is the main protagonist in the museum, which features a monographic exhibition hall dedicated exclusively to this distinguished figure from Granada. Amongst the important works by Cano we find la Virgen del lucero and San Jerónimo penitente en el desierto. Other important artists whose works are exhibited in the museum include Siloé, Sánchez Cotán, Bocanegra and López Mezquita, amongst others.
CASA DE LOS TIROS
The Casa de los Tiros (tiros refers to gunshots) takes its name from the muskets that appear amongst its battlements.
This beautiful 16th century building, located in the Realejo district, is noteworthy for its imposing façade, featuring five Greek gods, and its entrance, over which the words "The Heart Rules" can be read.
It currently houses the History Museum of Granada with permanent exhibitions focusing on the city over the course of the centuries. It is unquestionably one of the most emblematic buildings within the city.
The Archaeological Museum of Granada is located on the Carrera del Darro, in the historical quarter of the Albaicín, in a building known as the Casa de Castril, a stately home dating back to the 16th century, constructed by the grandson of Hernando de Zafra once Charles V had granted authorisation.
It was one of the first archaeological museums to be founded in Spain and was officially inaugurated in 1879 as a result of the efforts of the Monuments Commission and the City Hall of Granada. Previously, in 1865, the Provincial Monuments Commission had created a museum of antiquities from which it arose.
The museum's collection is housed on two storeys in 7 exhibition halls that chart various archaeological eras, taking in discoveries from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods found in the province of Granada, along with articles produced by the Iberians, Phoenicians, Romans and Moors, which are of considerable value. It is a dependency of the Ministry of Culture within the Autonomous Government of Andalusia.
CORRAL DEL CARBÓN
A warehouse for merchandise and accommodation for merchants. It is the oldest monument bequeathed by the Moors. It was adapted by the Christians to accommodate theatrical performances. Originally, it served as a warehouse for merchandise and accommodation for merchants.
The building opens on to the exterior via a Moorish façade. The northern façade, divided into two storeys, is particularly noteworthy, with the lower storey forming a large horseshoe arch, decorated with geometric plant forms and crowned by a Kufic inscription praising Allah. The construction materials employed are typical of Moorish Spain: brick, plaster and wood.
The Bañuelo are Arab baths dating back to the 11th century,numbering amongst the oldest, most important and most complete, in terms of their conservation, in Spain, whilst also representing one of the oldest monuments bequeathed by Moorish Granada. It is one of the few places of this nature that were not destroyed by the Catholic Monarchs, as, amongst Christians, Arab baths had a reputation comparable to brothels. Only a private home has been built on the site since the city fell to Christian forces, which now serves as the entrance to the baths.
Its floor plan is rectangular and its walls are made of concrete, whilst the various chambers are covered by brickwork vaults featuring octagonal skylights fashioned as stars.
CASA DEL HORNO DEL ORO
CASA DEL CHAPIZ
This refers to two Moorish houses that date back to the 14th century. Their architecture and decoration present both Moorish and Christian elements and the two buildings are linked to one another by a plaster arch. Given the reuse of arches and columns from older constructions, it is believed that it formed a part of the Moorish palace of Dar al-Bayda.
Located in the Albaicín district, where the Cuesta del Chapiz meets the Camino del Sacromonte, this construction has been declared a monument of cultural importance(BIC). It takes its name from its owners, the Moorish converts Lorenzo ‘el Chapiz’ and Hernando López ‘el Ferí’.
Since 1932, this building has housed the School of Arabic Studies, which focuses, on the one hand, on the study of the history of al-Andalus texts, and, on the other, on Islamic archaeology and architecture. Photos: School of Arabic Studies .
PALACIO DE DAR AL-HORRA
This Nasrid palace located in the Albaicín district was constructed in the 15th century, over the remains of a Zirid palace dating back to the 11th century. This was the residence of Aisha, the queen and mother of Boabdil, and subsequently of the king and Isabel de Solís, a Christian slave who captivated him and later became his consort. When the Catholic Monarchs conquered the city, this building was given to Hernando de Zafra and later became a part of the Monastery of Santa Isabel la Real, before it became the property of the State in the 20th century. The palace boasts two storeys and a tower, build around a central courtyard, featuring a square pool in its centre. A large portion of the palace and its original decorations have been conserved and it has been afforded the classification of a monument of cultural importance.