The Keep

Watch out! I can hear troops! Something must be up... Let’s carry on along here to the right. It sounds like the Christians are laying siege to Granada! Let’s follow the watchmen on patrol!

Don’t worry… It is literally impossible for troops to get through and attack along this narrow passageway. Believe me, I, Hamed, have been wandering between these walls ever since 1492.

If we go up these steps in front of you, we can take a look at the Torre del Cubo, or Bucket Tower.

I will come up with you, if you like.

This is one of the Alcazaba fort’s strategic points.

From up here, we can look out over Granada. Can you see the busy Albaicín district, opposite us, on the other side of the steep slope? This is the Sabika hill, and at the bottom is the River Darro, lined with trees and bushes. You see, nobody can attack the Alcazaba from here either!

Now, let’s take a look at the enormous tower standing behind us. It is the Keep. It is six storeys high, and is the tallest point in the whole Alhambra.

Three rows of fortress walls protect the compound from this side. The two outer walls were added under the Nazrid Dynasty, whose last ruler was my own king, the Sultan Boabdil. Can you see how the narrow passageway between the two walls below us slopes down towards a humble doorway? That leads to the Bailey, where the inhabitants of Granada entered the Alhambra. Building it on an angle like that meant that groups of attackers could not pass through; only orderly lines of people.

Which reminds me, we must continue! Let’s go down the stairs again and carry on.

In 1586, the widespread use of artillery meant that this tower had to be given a semi- circular shape, to make it more efficient in the new times. As you know, military technology makes incredibly fast progress.

Now we are going to walk around the bottom of the great Keep. It’s a bit of a narrow passage, isn’t it? This circuit was designed to oblige people to go around a few times in order to enter the fort. This meant that the main entrance could not be charged with a battering ram.

The watchmen’s patrol is waiting for us at the Candle Tower. Let’s go!

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

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