Cities whisper ancient tales in our ears. They do it through their streets and their heritage. This treasure, even after centuries, remains with us. It belongs to us and is replete with history. One of these magical places can be found in Granada. The Calle Real Alta de la Alhambra, which was the main thoroughfare in the Medina.
Open once per year
This thoroughfare is not normally open to the public, in order to preserve it. But the Calle Real Alta has been maintained since medieval times. And once a year the Alhambra and Generalife Trust allows entrance, and then it is possible to walk its length. The visitor can recall the days in which our ancestors walked along it.
In those times it was the main route in the Medina or citadel of the Alhambra. As is common on the most important arteries of a city, public buildings, small factories and also houses can be found along its pavements. it was a residential area, and also the place where the artisan workshops serving the Nasrid court were located.
A street full of history
The layout of this central axis began at the Puerta del Vino. From there you can see the entrance to the Alcazaba in the background. It extended to the place, where we can currently find the Parador de San Francisco and the Palacio de los Abencerrajes, a collection of buildings that will attract the attention of the contemporary visitor.
The Nasrid house
One of these is the Nasrid house, which was ordered to be built by Muhammad III in 1304, and built in the final years of the 13th century or early 14th century. As was the tradition, the residence was organised around a patio and a central pool, which refreshed the hot Granada summers, improved the illumination in the closest rooms, and acted as a mirror, as the water reflected the decoration of the porticoes.
There were also lines of rooms on four sides, although the west and south rooms are all that remain. The main room still has its plasterwork, and for that reason it is well worth the visit. It is a very important legacy, as is one of the oldest buildings in the Nasrid complex.
Museo de Ángel Barrios
However, the Calle Real is much more than that. La Iglesia de Santa María de la Alhambra, built in the 17th century on the site of the Mezquita Mayor, is on the stretch next to the entrance to the Alcazaba. Here we can see the partially conserved baths of the house in which the musician Ángel Barrios was born and lived. Today this place is a Museum which pays homage to the man and the intellectual atmosphere that prevailed at the beginning of the 20th century.
Open once per month
In order to relive the stories concealed by the centuries in this street and in other places in Granada, the best way is to consult the programme of the Alhambra and Generalife Trust, as they often open what they call the area of the month. Let history take you by the hand and enjoy the tales whispered to you from its corners.