Corral del Carbón

The Corral del Carbón is characterised by the fact that it is the only fully preserved Nasrid alhóndiga in the Iberian Peninsula.

It was built during the Nasrid reign, before 1336, and its original name was Al-Funduq al-Gidida, or Alhóndiga Nueva. Located in the south of the Muslim city, next to the silk market or Alcaicería, the souk of the Medina and the Great Mosque, it served as an inn for merchants in transit, a warehouse and a wholesale market. A small bridge called al-qantara al-Jadída (New Bridge) until 1501, and later the Coal Bridge or Poplar Bridge or the Bridge of the Tanners (qantarat al-Dabbayin), located over the Darro River, connected the Alhóndiga with the suq. In general terms, as described by Leopoldo Torres Balbás,1 this building follows an oriental model, but the decoration and details are clearly from Granada. It can be traced back to the Greek agoras, then through the Roman horreas to Islamic times. The monumental doorway comes from the eastern iwan, the origins of which have been much debated, and which is already found in Sassanid palaces. It was transmitted to the West via Egypt, where the entrance portico with a large arch, vaulted with muqarnas, at the back of which is the lintelled doorway leading to the building, and a twin window above it, is a very common architectural arrangement. It is found, for example, in Cairo, in the al-Zahir Mosque of Baybars I (665-1309) or in Granada with the Puerta de la Justicia in the Alhambra (749-1348).

In 1494 the Catholic Monarchs granted it to Sancho de Arana. On his death (1531) it was put up for auction and used as a lodging for charcoal burners, later as a playhouse (until 1593) and then as a tenement house. It was declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1918, but was threatened with demolition until it was acquired by the State in 1933, which commissioned Leopoldo Torres Balbás to restore it. In 1992 it was restored again by the architect Rafael Soler Márquez, although some flaws remained that were not corrected until another restoration. The façade was cleaned and consolidated by the company Siglos Conservación y Restauración, s.l., under the direction of the restorers Lola Blanca López and Lourdes Blanca López. The work was completed in November 2006.

The doorway, richly decorated with plasterwork, is presided over by a large tomb arch (two-centred and somewhat buttressed) with an alfiz. On its horizontal moulding is an epigraphic decoration in kufic script. On its axis, above it, is a geminated opening. It is crowned by a wide overhanging eaves supported by wooden corbels, in the Nasrid tradition (Golden Room of the Alhambra).

After the entrance hall, covered with a muqarnas vault that preserves some of its polychromy, is the entrance to the courtyard, which has a quadrangular floor plan and is functional and not overly decorative. In the centre of the courtyard is a stone basin with two spouts.

The structure of the three storeys with galleries that open onto the courtyard consists of stone pillars and wooden beams and footings (the latter carved). The brickwork of the parapets is of exposed brick. The interior of the halls has been extensively converted to house shops and offices.

It currently houses the offices and administration staff of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, and is the headquarters of the Granada International Music and Dance Festival. It also occasionally hosts theatre performances, flamenco concerts and conferences in the courtyard.

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