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Dobla de Oro General

A stroll through history between the Alhambra and the Albaicín

The Alhambra and Albaicín are today closer than ever, joined together by the Dobla de Oro, a cultural tourism route promoted by the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife that seeks to strengthen the ties between the oldest neighbourhood in the city and the Alhambra Group of Monuments, both of which were declared World Heritage sites by the Unesco.
From the hill of La Sabika, on which the Alhambra stands, the Albaicín appears as a wash of white houses speckled by the vertical forms of cypress trees and bell towers of churches that once were mosques. From the Albaicín, by contrast, the Alhambra is a thick forest whose trees are crowned by the saffron walls of the Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces and their towers.
The Dobla de Oro invites us to immerse ourselves in a unique cultural landscape, a glittering path through the great Hispano-Muslim monuments of Granada, declared World Heritage sites by Unesco, while wandering through bewitchingly beautiful streets that are full of life and touched by the magic of history, art and flamenco.

A walk around six monuments

The Dobla de Oro invites us to a walk from the Alhambra to the Albaicín through six Hispano-Muslim monuments nestled in the Christian city and district.  The Palace of Dar Al-Horra was built in the heart of the Zirí citadel as the residence of the Sultana Aixa, the mother of Boabdil, the last Nasrid King of Granada. The Corral del Carbón, the old alhóndiga and shelter of merchants, is on the side of Reyes Catolicos Street, in the widening of the Christian city. Back in the Albaicín, the Bañuelo , considered the oldest and best preserved public bath in Spain, opens its doors. The House of Zafra is located in the lower Albaicín, near the Maristan and the Convent of Conception. It is not far from the Casa del Horno de Oro, near the Carrera del Darro and Paseo de los Tristes. Casa del Chapiz is on the border between the Albaicin and Sacromonte and currently holds the headquarters of the School of Arab Studies.

The visit includes:

01 – Palace of Dar al-Horra
Callejón de las Monjas, s/n

This palace was the residence of the sultana Aixa, mother of Boabdil. It is structured around a central courtyard. In one of its sides we can see a lookout tower. It preserves beautiful plasterwork on the upper floor with inscriptions from the Nasrid period. After the conquest, Queen Isabel la Católica ceded this palace to the monastery of Santa Isabel la Real, and it will not be until the beginning of the 20th century that it passes to the state and is restored. Declared an historic artistic monument in 1922.

02 – Corral del Carbón
Mariana Pineda, 8 (free entrance)

This building was a Alhóndiga, founded by Muhammad V. Place of shelter and store of merchants and traders arrived from distant places. After the conquest it was inn, store of carboneros and corral of comedies. Declared National Monument in the nineteenth century. In 1933 it passed to the state, being restored and incorporating to the patrimony of the city. The most impressive feature of this building is its magnificent horseshoe arch entrance that leads to the zaguán (foyer) and  the  fountain in the centre of the courtyard.

03– Bañuelo
Carrera del Darro, 31

The Bañuelo or Baño del Nogal, was declared National Monument in 1918. It is composed of three rooms, preceded by a house with a small courtyard. The cold, warm and hot rooms were built with reused Roman , Visigoths and Caliphs elements. The first room to enter would be the cold room or bayt al-barid; the next room, the hot or bayt al-wastani, is the most spacious of them all. Although this bath has been considered as a construction of the eleventh century, because of its typology that is very similar to those of the Nasrid period, it can be considered of a much more advanced period.

04– Horno de Oro House
Calle Horno de Oro

The Horno de Oro house, built at the end of the XV century, and transformed after the castillian conquest, was a palatine residence. A rectangular courtyard with a reservoir centers the building, establishing the rooms on the shorter sides. The typical nasrid arcades of the courtyard argue an arcaded gallery.

05 – House of Zafra

Nasrid palace built at the end of the XIV century. The Catholic monarchs ceded it to their secretary Hernando de Zafra. At his death it became part of the foundation of the convent of Santa Catalina de Zafra. The convent conserved the palace between 1527 and 1946, year in which it passed to public ownership. Noteworthy are the decorative elements, especially the plasterwork, the carpentries and the remains of mural painting.

06 – The Chapiz House

The Chapiz house occupies a large piece of land with garden and orchards. It consists of two different houses with different origins. At present, it hosts the School of Arab Studies, dependent of the Superior Council for Scientific Investigations. It was accessed was from the square of the Weight of the Flour, through a space common to both houses, which are an example of the evolutive process of the Nasrid domestic architecture from its maturity period to the sixteenth century.

07 – General daytime visit to the Alhambra
(Nasrid Palaces, Generalife and Alcazaba)

Nasrid Palaces (Alcazar)

The Dar al-Mamlaka
This is the most famous and visited area of the Monumental complex. It is composed of three areas built in different periods.

  • Mexuar: there you can visit the Room, the Oratory, the Golden room and the Courtyard of the Mexuar.
  • Palace of Comares: There you can find the Court of the Myrtles, the Room of the Ship and the Hall of the Ambassadors.
  • Palace of the Lions: it includes the Hall of the Muqarnas, the Court of Lions, the Hall of Abencerrages, the Hall of the Kings, the Hall of the Two Sisters, the Ajimeces Gallery and the Daraxa observation point.

Besides the three palaces, this area comprehends other premises of a singular importance:

Chambers of the Emperor: Built when Charles V decided to move in Granada and were later occupied by Washington Irving. In this area you can visit the Observation Point, the Patio de la Reja and the Lindaraja Garden.

El Partal: this area includes the Palace Portico, Gardens and Promenades, the Rauda, the Palace of Yusuf III and the Promenade of the Towers.

A large Mexuar with preceding courtyards gives way to the dissappeared Palace of Isma’il. The Generalife and the fundamental nucleus of the Palace of the Partal, one of the oldest surviving Nasrid constructions, outline an open space open to the city and conceived as a palatial area of buildings, enclosures and gardens.

Palace of Comares

Over part of previous buildings, adding and modifying structures, Yusuf I becomes the first great builder of the Alhambra. Although he will not see it finished, he builds the Palace of Comares, in addition to the large Gate of Justice and the Gate of Seven Floors, along with many other constructions and decorations of the Alhambra.

In the first half of the XIV century the Mosque, the Rauda, the Madraza and the Palaces of San Francisco and Abencerrages were added.

Palace of the Lions
In the second half of the fourteenth century, during the second mandate of Muhammad V, a major modification of the internal structure of the Alhambra is carried out. It is the most fecund of the Nasrid periods, when most of the spaces we visit today were decorated and redecorated.

The Palace of the Lions, brings new aesthetic concepts that break with the usual architectural scheme and that will also be reflected in the administration of the State.

The last and most radical transformation of the Alhambra comes with the Conquest. New concepts impose new uses, with important modifications in buildings and urban elements.

The main one of them is undoubtedly the Palace of Charles V which, although never finished, adds a new volume to the buildings of the Alhambra included, like its predecessors, like another space.

In the XVI century, the Alcazaba is added the innerwall to the east with the circular tower of the Cube and to its feet the great cistern of Tendilla. The Garden of the Adarves is built in the XVII century between the southern walls.

The Courts of Lindaraja and la Reja, the Church of Santa María, the Convent of San Francisco, the Pilar of Charles V, are some of the contributions to the Alhambra and its rich cultural stratification.

The Alcazaba: La Qasba

Its location, in the highest part of the hill, makes it a privileged place for observation and surveillance of the city, the vega and their access.

From the 13th century onwards, the Nasrid people gave the Alcazaba its present appearance, adding great towers: the Tower of the Candle (Torre de la Vela) in the west and the Tower of Homage (Torre del Homenaje), the Broken Tower (Torre Quebrada) and Adarguero in the east. It is accessed from the Gate of Arms.

It is in that period when he fortification of the entire perimeter of the Alhambra begins, with its wall and the addition at intervals of some towers and gates along its perimeter.

It is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra; in this military area you can visit the following spaces: the Terrace of the Tower of the Cube, the Adarve of the North Wall, the Military District, the Gate of the Arms, The Tower of the Candle (Torre de la Vela) and the Garden of the Adarves.

Generalife
It includes the Lower Gardens, the Palace of the Generalife and the High Gardens.

Outside the walls of the Alhambra, to the east, on the slope of Cerro del Sol, is the Generalife, a recreational estate of the Nasrid sultans, also used for agricultural exploitation.

The visit to this sector starts at the New Gardens of the Generalife. The Generalife and the Alhambra were connected through gardens that successfully integrated the buildings with nature. These gardens are divided in three areas conforming today`s New Gardens. The sector is crossed by the Royal Canal.

The entrance to the Generalife is interesting for two reasons. On the one hand, its exterior part is rural, befitting a country house more than a palace.

On the other hand, various courts had to be traversed at different levels in order to reach the interior of the Alhambra palace itself.

The first court is called Court of the Dismount (Patio del Descabalgamiento). The interior of the palace is gained through the second court.

Entrance to the palace itself is through a tiny door. A steep narrow stairway leads to a residence, connected to the Court of the Main Canal (Patio de la Acequia), called the North Pavilion (Pabellón Norte).

The Royal Chamber (Sala Regia) is noted for its plasterwork, niches and lovely stalactite capitals that includes bedchambers framed by arches of a particular note is the stalactite outset cornice supporting the ceiling.

Crossing the side bedroom you ascend to an open corridor called the Court of the Sultana’s Cypress Tree (Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana).

In the highest area of the Generalife is the Water Staircase, famous for the Sultan’s Canal

The Romantic Observation Point, Point in neo-Gothic style,  is placed at the end of the Water Stairway which is the highest point in the Generalife. (This space opens once a year during a month, withing the programme “space of the month”

The visit continues through the Promenade of the Oleanders, a long path that crosses the upper wall that separates the vegetable gardens, covered with oleander.

 

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The visit includes:

01 – Palace of Dar al-Horra
Callejón de las Monjas, s/n

02 – Corral del Carbón
Mariana Pineda, 8 (entrada libre)

03 – Bañuelo
Carrera del Darro, 31

04 – Horno de Oro House
Calle Horno de Oro

05 – The Chapiz House
Cuesta del Chápiz 22

06 – House of Zafra
Portería de la Concepción, 8

07 – General daytime visit to the Alhambra

Nasrid Palaces

Generalife

Alcazaba

  • It is recommended to realize the booking and the ticket purchase in advance and preferably online using the system of management and sales of tickets of the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife, since the Collection of Historic Buildings has a limited capacity.
    • Tickets Dobla de Oro cannot be purchased at ticket office. Tickets are valid for the day before and after of the ticket type purchased. (Example: if I buy the Dobla de Oro General ticket for day 5, with this ticket I can access the monuments of Dobla de Oro on day 4, 5 and 6 and the Alhambra only on day 5. Once each space)
  • Other options are the purchase by phone and TVRs, as long as there is availability.
  • Tickets can be purchased through “print at home” or purchased on the TVRs. This last procedure can cause an unnecessary wait.
  • If your tickets have been purchased through “print at home” you should consider:
    • That all visitors must carry their ticket, printed on A4 paper, obverse and reverse.
    • The print must be of good quality. Partially printed, stained, damaged or illegible tickets will not be accepted.
      IF NOT, IT WILL BE CONSIDERED NULL
    • To check the good quality of the print, make sure the information written on the ticket, as well as the QR code are legible.
  • Each visitor independent of his age, must carry his own ticket, which may be issued individually and he is obliged to keep it until the exit of the monument visited, he must present it, with a personal identification document issued by the Ministry of the Interior or homologous organization of his country, at the request of any employee, either his own personnel or the security services, as well as the State Security Forces and Bodies, in this case.
  • If the holder of the ticket is different from the person who is to carry out the visit, it must include the name and surname of the visitor in the “ticket” before printing.

IN THE EVENT OF NOT OBSERVING SOME OF THE RULES SPECIFIED ABOVE THE TICKET WILL BE CONSIDERED NULL.

  • Please note that this ticket is valid for three days: the same day of the visit to the Al Alhambra, the day before and the day after.
  • Children under 12 have free admission but it must be reserved at the time of purchase and managed with the rest of the adult tickets.

IMPORTANT: the date and the time of access to the Nasrid Palaces, is expressly indicated on the ticket. The visit to these spaces must be done in the time indicated expressly in the ticket.

The Council of the Alhambra and Generalife will limit to ten the number of tickets that a private individual can acquire in a month, in order to make a better distribution of unorganized individual tourism tickets.

Did you know?

Dobla de Oro, a cultural and tourist itinerary promoted by the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife that tries to promote close links between the oldest quarter of the city and the Collection of Historic Buildings, both declared World Heritage by Unesco.

  • The Alhambra
    • 15 October – 31 March
      8.30 h. – 18.00 h.
    • 1 April – 14 October
      8.30 h. – 20.00 h.
    • Mondays to Sundays
    • With the exception of the 25 of December and 1 of January 
  • Monuments of Dobla de Oro
    • 15 November – 30 April
      10.00 h. – 17.00 h
    • 1 May – 14 September
      9.00 h. – 14.30 h. and 17.00 h. – 20.30 h.
    • Corral del Carbón
      everyday from 9.00 h. until 20.00 h.
    • With the exception of the 25 of December and 1 of January
  • Opening hours of Horario de Alhambra’s ticket office
    • 15 October – 31 March:
      8.00 h. – 18.00 h.
    • 1 April – 14 October:
      8.00 h. – 20.00 h
    • Mondays to Sundays
    • With the exception of the 25 of December and 1 of January