jueves, 13 de noviembre de 2014

The Corral del Carbon, one of the oldest arab monuments in Granada

Located in Calle Mariana Pineda, in the heart of Granada, Corral del Carbon is the oldest monument left us by the Arabs. 

The "Corral del Carbón", formerly called "Alhóndiga Gigida" was constructed in the early 14th century 
by Yusuf I and was used as a type of warehouse for merchandise and also as a shelter for merchants.

It is of special interest because it is the only remaining Moorish caravansara or fundak that still remains as it was in Spain.

The building has a quadrangular shape, with an entrance pavilion which has a large horseshoe arch that gives access to the vestibule which is covered with a cupola embellished with "muqarnas" (decorative motif characteristic of the Muslim architecture, based on vertically juxtaposed bows or prisms). Above the entrance door there is a small twin window. From here we enter the "'ostowan" or waiting vestibule with arches on its sides, that leads to the courtyard surrounded by galleries that open onto the three floors of the building. At the center of the courtyard we find a stone made fountain with two spouts.

The yard is laid out in typical Islamic design, with a symetrical courtyard, mosaic floorings, and a central water trough, which is the original drinking trough.

The paving of black and white stones indicates that this is a prosperous area, with the function of keeping down the dust from the floor. The black stones were gathered from the River Genil and the white from the River Darro

There is a government run craft/ Art shop housed in one of the buildings surrounding the courtyard, these were originally stables, used to house the mules of the merchants.

The upper galleried rooms were originally used by the merchants for making buisness deals, socialising and sleeping.

In Christian times it was used as an accommodation for coal merchants, from where it gets its name. Later, it became a playhouse for comedies, and finally, a neighbourhood until 1933 when the State acquired it and the architect "Leopoldo Torres Balbás" restored it.

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