martes, 2 de diciembre de 2014

The Royal Hamman of The Alhambra of Granada

The Alhambra's Royal Baths are situated between the Tower of Comares and the Courtyard of the Lions. These are the only remaining baths of the eight which originally served the 2,000 or so inhabitants of the Alhambra.

The baths are perfectly preserved, again left by the Christians as an example of Islamic heathenism. The royal bath is still functional but is not ornamentally decorated, as bathing was a religious and sanitary requirement, not a luxury. 

The bath house is set out in accordance with the original Roman specifications, with a cold, warm and hot room. The bath house has the same star-shaped vents in the roof, and when the heat in the bath chambers became unbearable, slaves were sent up to the roof to open them, allowing the steam to escape.

As part of the Roman model used to design the Royal Baths, the bath house had to be situated adjacent to the apodyterium - an antechamber where the sultan could rest after his bath - and the baths of the harem -
Room of the Beds or  bayt al-maslaj - , a chamber of two tiers, the first tier surrounded by alcoves and the upper tier by a balcony. 

After his bath, the sultan would go to his apodyterium where his harem would be waiting naked after their baths, hoping to be chosen to spend the night with the sultan. He would indicate his choice by throwing an apple to his selected companion.

This room is considerably more decorative than the bath house, likely because of its suggestive and seductive nature, and also because it was intended for the sultan to relax in pleasurable surroundings- this area was not part of the religious process. 

Unfortunately the room does not retain its original decoration. The chamber was ´restored´ in the 19th century when it was on the brink of collapse, but sadly in this restoration much of the chamber's original charm and beauty was lost, and the redecoration has left it looking less than luxurious.

The rooms of the Royal Bath of The Alhambra, because of the conservation and the special nature, are normally closed to the public visit but during the month of December of 2014 it could be possible to visit them through this room.

Timetable: from 8:30 to 18:00 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday
Access: with the general ticket of the Alhambra
Capacity: maximum 15 people

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