The Bailey (The Dungeons And The Military Quarters)

Great castles that are destined to live forever, are not built just once. That is why in the Alhambra’s Alcazaba, we can find several fortresses built one on top of the other, on the remains of the one before. This redoubt is the oldest part of the Alhambra. It was built around the year 860 over a castle dating from the Zirid period, which in turn was possibly built on the ruins of an old Roman fort. If you look at the stones in the walls, which have different shapes and colours, you will see that they date from different periods.

The Alcazaba could only fall if faced with an indefinite siege, like the one it underwent at the hands of Queen Isabel of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon, in the year 1492. That is when my spirit began to wander the Alhambra, eternally standing guard...

The stones you see scattered around this Bailey courtyard are all that is left of the soldiers’ barracks and quarters. It is the Qasba, or military district. Only the foundations have been recovered. We had baths, bread ovens, food stores and weapon stores…

But let’s hurry along, before the constable catches us chatting! Did you know that the Spanish word for constable, Alguacil, was originally an Arab word? Al-wazir. If he has us arrested he will lock us up in one of the dungeons we passed back there… Believe me, it’s not easy to live inside one of those. The only way in is through a round hole dug into the ground.

At the end of this path, you can go either towards the left, to see the Wall-Walk Garden, or right, to look at the Bailey Gateway from above. What time are you scheduled to enter the Nazrid Palaces? Remember, you are not permitted to be late for your visit!

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

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