Alcazaba of the Alhambra

Alcazaba de la Alhambra

The Alcazaba of the Alhambra constitutes the defensive point from which a Nasrid palatine city (Madīnat al-Ḥamrā) was developed from the 13th to the 15th century, giving rise to what we currently know as the monumental complex of the Alhambra of Granada. 

From its beginning, around 9th century, to the Castilian Conquest (1492), but especially during the Andalusian Period, it underwent many changes in order to be adapted to diverse uses and ways of understanding defensive systems. This fact has resulted on a wide repertoire of typological elements that makes this Alcazaba one of the most complete examples of the different fortification systems developed in Spain, since Early Middle Ages until Modern Age.

Some of the constructions included on the guided tour dates from the 11th century, such as the towers situated in the northern wall. Nevertheless, most of the architecture that conforms this part of the Alhambra corresponds to the Nasrid period (13th – 15th centuries). This is the case, for example, of the Puerta de las Armas, one of the main accesses of the palatine city, which constitutes an adaptation of the albarrana tower typology. Other notable constructions are the Torre de la Vela and the Torre del Homenaje, relevant examples of housing-tower.

In the Alcazaba we can find also the remains of a residential area that responds to a higher complexity than those that a military function requires, counting with basins and baths.

Finally, the system of bastions that were incorporated during the Catholic Monarchs period, and  also during the Kingdom of Charles V, allow to recognize the innovations introduced as a result of the development of the artillery and the Italian modern fortification systems.

The visit will take place in the entire enclose of the Alcazaba, with the possibility to access at some spaces, such us the Puerta de las Armas and the Baluarte,  that are not usually included in the public visit of the Alhambra.*

* Access permit to the Puerta de las Armas and the Baluarte is pending approval.

Alcazaba of Salobreña

Alcazaba de Salobreña

The Alcazaba de Salobreña is one of the main fortresses of the coast of Granada. It is situated on a hill at 95 m.a.s.l., dominating the extensive beaches west of the Guadalfeo River estuary.

This construction, as well as the associated town, denominated in Arab sources such as ŠalawbīnyaŠalawbīniyya or Šalawbāniya, had its main moment of development during the Nasrid Kingdom (XIII-XV centuries), when the village became an important coastal madīna, and its citadel the summer residence of the sultans.

The fortress is composed of three enclosures that had well differentiated uses. The location of the three doors that allow access to the interior responds to a sophisticated system of relationship and control of the surrounding territory: the port, the madīnaand the countryside.

The palatine area was located at the highest level. During the last archaeological excavations, in this area has been identified what should have been the main residence, with a large tower (qubba), and an annex bath located to the Northeast. The remains of both buildings, especially those of the bathroom that are in better conditions, reveal a spatial distribution that follows the model of the Comares Palace of the Alhambra.

After the annexation of Salobreña into the Kingdom of Castilla (1489), the fortress experienced numerous adaptations to the new needs arising from the use of artillery.

After having undergone several restorations during the 20th century, between 2014 and 2016 an archaeological study and a relevant restoration have been carried out, both conducted by the research group of the Laboratory of Archeology and Architecture of the City (LAAC), led by the architect Antonio Orihuela Uzal and the archaeologist Julio Navarro Palazón.

Walls of Madīnat Garnāṭa

Muralla de Granada

The visit will be carried out by the members of this team, who will explain the research carried out in the whole complex of the Alcazaba.

The foundation of the palatine city of the Alhambra (Madīnat al-Ḥamrā) in the 13th century meant that this alcazaba lost its function; since then, it was called Alcazaba Cadima or Old Alcazaba (al-Qaṣaba al-Qadima), name that was finally extended to the entire walled enclosure.

The walls of Granada are one of the most important elements of the architectural heritage of the city, as they show the different stages of its urban evolution. The contour of the oldest fortification, which is dated on the Ibero-Roman period, coincides in general lines with the later Andalusian walls developed on the first Zirí period (11th century). This wall protected the city that, at those times, was limited to the current Albaicín hill, as well as the alcazaba, which was the center of the military and political power of Madīnat Garnāṭa.

Nowadays, a large part of this wall has been absorbed by current buildings. However, the part that goes from Puerta Monaita (Bab al-Unaydar) to Puerta de las Pesas (Bab al-Ziyada) remains free-standing, being a remarkable component of the landscape of the Albaicín.

Between 2012 and 2013, a Master Plan of the Albaicín walls was launched by the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Spain (IPCE), establishing the necessary measures for its conservation and restoration. Based on this document, some interventions are being carried out in two parts of the wall. One of them is the surroundings of the so-called Torre de las Tres Caras, where a restoration project on the tower and an archaeological intervention on the inside of the wall have been carried out.

The other part corresponds to the surroundings of the Puerta del Castro or Puerta de Hernán Román, which has been unrecognizable since the 18th century, when the San Cecilio’s Chapel was built inside this gate. This area keeps an overlap of different walls and gates dated from the Iberian period (7th - 1st century b.C.), to the Zirí period (11th century), with Almoravid and Almohad reforms (12th and 13th centuries) and Nasrid modifications (13th - 15th centuries).

The visit includes a walk by the preserved wall from Puerta Monaita to Puerta de las Pesas, as well as the access to the inside part of the wall in the surroundings of the Torre de las Tres Caras, and to the inside of the San Cecilio’s Chapel, where archaeological excavations are currently being carried out*.

*Access permit to the surroundings of the Torre de las Tres Caras and to the archaeological interventions of the San Cecilio’s Chapel is pending approval.