Alcázar Genil

C. Rey Abu Said, Granada

Free Walking Tour of Granada

A building of Muslim origin, also known as the Palace of Abu Said, and as the Queen's Garden, in honour of Princess Aixa, the orchard environment and landscaped esplanade outside the country enclosure. The estate, which until not so long ago was irrigated by the Acequia Arabuleila, is located near the left bank of the river Genil, on the Paseo del Violón, between the Camino de Ronda and the Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos de Granada, just a few metres from where the last Nasrid king, Boabdil handed over the keys of the palatine city to the Catholic Monarchs on the morning of 2 January 1492, which resulted in the integration of the last Muslim kingdom of al-Andalus in the Iberian Peninsula into the Crown of Castile.

The palace was erected as a fortress by the Almohad governor of Granada, Sayyid Ishaq ben Yusuf, who had it built in 1218, in an almunia on the outskirts of the walled enclosure, in the lower part of Muslim Granada, in the most fertile and flat agricultural land in the eastern part of the Genil valley, used as a courtly pleasure estate, as well as a farm, where large receptions and games were held, The archaeological remains of a pre-Nazarite naumachy building from the 12th century can be visited in the thematic space set up in the Alcázar Genil station of the Granada Metropolitan Railway. 3 A few metres from the main palace building, on the left bank of the river Genil or Sinyil, on the Paseo del Violón, as in many other estates that the Nasrid monarchs owned outside the Alhambra, a Rábida or Morabito was built in the Almohad period, This Qur'anic religious building was transformed for Christian worship when the site was consecrated as a hermitage in honour of Saint Sebastian and Saint Fabian. On the right side of the building there is a plaque commemorating the historical event of the handing over of the keys to the city of the Alhambra.

The original Muslim qubba, during the reign of the Nasrid monarch Yusuf I, underwent an initial ornamental and architectural alteration. It was the guest residence ('Diyar al-Diyafa') of the sultans of North Africa and of Castilian nobles and kings in times of harmony, and the last dwelling of Boabdil's mother, Princess Aixa, who left the quinta after it was included in the lot of buildings sold to the Castilian kings after the Seizure of Granada. Subsequently, it passed into private hands and, in the 1950s, the Dukes of Gor sold the estate and palace to the State, after it had been declared a Monument of Spain's historical heritage on 12 July 1922.

During the Second Republic, the gardens were destroyed and the immense orchard was split in two when the 'Camino de Ronda' urban road was built. At the beginning of the 1980s, buildings were constructed on both sides of the road, using the remains of the pond and the adjoining pool as an underground car park for the new housing developments.

Of the original construction, the central body remains, measuring approximately 5 metres on each side and 10 metres high, with a tower with a hipped roof and a wooden vaulted ceiling with lacework. Access is through a pointed horseshoe arch and above it there is a latticed window sash. Inside, there is a central fountain with a flower bed, originally connected to a pond or pool located some 150 metres away, where, according to tradition, naval competitions were held between Muslim princes, simulating the destruction and burning of Christian galleons. On either side are two small rooms or alcoves, accessed through twin arches covered with a flat wooden ceiling. They are decorated with plasterwork with atauriques.

Epigraphic inscriptions in kufic calligraphy consisting of praise to Allah and the king who built it, or fragments of the Qur'an, can be found on the decoration of the walls above the doors and around the inside of the building. Polychrome geometric designs can be seen above these inscriptions. The floor was originally made of brick and glazed ceramic in blue and white. It was built in the style of Persian kiosk-palaces, which stood in the middle of gardens surrounded by fountains and ponds, symbolising Sufi paradise. In the 19th century (1863), two two-storey lateral bodies and an entrance portico were added, the work of the architect Rafael Contreras, who restored the ornaments and structure. In 1974, Basilio Pavón Maldonado, a specialist in Andalusian art, warned of the building's decadence and began its architectural recovery, and in 1994 it was rescued from its state of ruin and abandonment. Both this almunia and the Almunia de Darabenaz in La Zubia are the only two examples of residential buildings of Nasrid royalty located outside the walls of the medina of Granada that have survived to the present day.

Article obtained from Wikipedia article Wikipedia in his version of 11/08/2022, by various authors under the license Licencia de Documentación Libre GNU.