The Wine Gateway and The Water Cistern Square

Stop here, and reveal your goods. Do you have any silk, paprika, jewels or beads with you? Here, at this gateway known as the Wine Gateway, you have to declare your wares. You say you bring no goods to trade? Ah, then you really must be a visitor. That is why you look as if you had many questions to ask, and why you have allowed me, a street urchin from the Medina, to guide you!

This Gateway is one of the oldest in the Alhambra, and it stood at the end of the Medina where the military area began. I will accompany you to the Alcazaba, or fortress, but first, wait for me next to these benches while I, Hamed, go up to the guards on the upper floor and request the necessary documents. Meanwhile, have a look at one of our ancient customs: on the archway above the entrance there is a key, and on the other side, above the way out, there is a hand. Had you noticed?

On the outside, next to the key, there is a frieze in Arabic that mentions our 14th- century Sultan Muhammad V. This gateway is beautifully decorated in shades of red, but there are bad omens about the day that the key and the hand should ever come together. They say that on that day, the Alhambra will be destroyed.

Now, come along with me – I have permission to take you as far as the entrance to the Alcazaba.

This fortress was even protected from the enemy within, thanks to a deep moat that defended it from the inside of the Alhambra.

Are you wondering where the moat is? We are in fact going to pass over it. It is the little garden space that stands between us and the Alcazaba. The first Christian Captain of the Alhambra, the Count of Tendilla, ordered the moat to be covered over with soil. But before that, he had some enormous water tanks constructed that would serve to supply the city. The largest of them is still known today as the Tendilla Cistern. By the way, the Spanish word for a water cistern, Aljibe, is the same word we used here in the Alhambra under the reign of King Boabdil. It comes from the Arab word Al-Gubb.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Carlos Madrid (2012)

Source: Own work
Author: Julián Hernández Martínez (2013)

Picture: The Wine Gateway
Source: Wikipedia
Author: jjoquerollo (2007)
Licence:Creative Commons Attribution-Share 2.0 Generic