Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo

Pl. de los Campos, 6, Granada

Free Walking Tour of Granada

The Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo is an old palace from the Almohad period (Dar al-Bayda), and is located in what is now Cuesta de Aixa street, next to the fence that enclosed the Realejo neighbourhood, known as "Rabad al-Fajjarin", in Muslim Granada. It was located in the so-called Huerta Grande de Almanxarra, which comprised an area of orchards with a garden and various buildings, including a qubba or hall of protocol, located inside a tower in the wall of the wall of the suburb of Los Alfareros.

Its history is closely linked to the Realejo quarter, known as rabad al-Fajjarin, "the potters' quarter", during the Islamic period in Granada. During the Zirid kingdom and the Almoravid domination, this quarter did not undergo many changes because the royal palaces were located in the Albaicín quarter. However, due to the demographic expansion during the Almohad Empire, this quarter became more populated and the pottery suburbs were moved to one end. Once the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada was established, its second emir Muhammad II (1273-1302) ordered the construction of a wall to protect the entire pottery quarter. The parapet of this wall was used to build an almunia and in one of its towers a qubba, a reception hall or throne room. This area was known by the Nasrids as the Huerta Grande de la Almanxarra.

After the conquest of Granada in 1492, the sultana Aixa sold it to the Catholic Monarchs, who ceded it to the Dominican Order with the aim of founding the future convent of Santa Cruz la Real. The qubba was preceded by a portico with a fountain and an octagonal pool, a layout that remained practically unchanged, according to the various graphic and literary testimonies that have survived until the mid-19th century with the disentailment of Mendizábal. Its acquisition by private owners after the disentailment meant that the building suffered innumerable losses, especially due to the construction of private dwellings inside, which led to the destruction of the portico and fountains. The old garden was covered with a more modern garden and the qubba was modified and reused as the living room of the house. During the 20th century, some remodelling work continued, such as the replacement of an open terrace with a covered gazebo and, since 1966, with a concrete pergola.

Finally, the Granada City Council acquired it from its owners in 1990 and five years later the first works began to discover the original layout of the palace. These excavations revealed the foundations of the portico, the pool and the garden platforms. In 2001, restoration work began on the roof, which was reconstructed due to the great deterioration it had suffered since it was last restored in the 18th century. The building was also reinforced with wooden straps anchored to the walls to restore the original layout of the monument. The rich 13th-century plasterwork underwent an elaborate and painstaking restoration process in which thick layers of lime and additions from the early 20th century were removed, while the missing parts were protected with plaster. This restoration project was directed by the architects Antonio Orihuela Uzal and Antonio Almagro Gorbea, in which the 19th century building that concealed it was also partially removed.

Built on the parapet of the wall that surrounded the El Realejo neighbourhood, it is one of the few examples of 13th-century residential architecture in Granada. From an architectural point of view, it was the model followed by the palaces of the Alhambra (Comares, Generalife), and others such as the Alcázar Genil. In works by James Cavanagh Murphy, illustrations of the palace appear, specifically of the portico that preceded the Salón Regio (Royal Hall), which had five arches separated by paired columns. Of the pond or pool in front of the portico, only the fountain has survived.

The building has a tripartite floor plan, with a central hall and two side alcoves. The entrance is through a large semicircular arch with eight-pointed stars. The jambs are covered with marble, tiled plinths, lustre tiles and a muqarnas frieze. The alcove on the left-hand side has a window to the outside and a flat masonry ceiling, while the right-hand alcove, with identical characteristics, still retains the dais on both sides, and is connected to the rest of the house by a door.

When the property passed into private hands in the second half of the 19th century, the qubba was surrounded by the new buildings of a house, which led to the disappearance of the portico, the fountain and the pool. The old garden was buried and its level raised to make way for a new one.

Today the tower or qubba remains, with a double-height room similar to the Hall of Ambassadors in the Alhambra, with an entrance arch with muqarnas imposts, above which there is a twin window. It has side arches with wooden balconies, plasterwork arches at the front, with latticework and a base of glazed tiles in green and blue.

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