Arab Baths of Granada
Baths in Granada
The El Bañuelo de Granada or the Moorish Baths of Granada are 11th Century baths in Granada, in Spain. The 11th-century Moorish or Arab Baths which used to be part of the Mezquita del Nogal or Mosque of the Walnut Tree. One of the oldest and largest baths of the kind in Spain, this was once a popular place among locals who frequented the baths to get a haircut or a massage. Brides-to-be would also come here before their weddings. Today, this historic site is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Albaicín and it is certainly worth the visit for its exquisite architectural style. The highlight are the octagonal holes in the roof that acted as a natural ventilation system.
History of the Arab Baths of Granada in under a Minute
El Bañuelo, or the Arab baths in Granada was built in the 11th century during the reign of the Zirid King Balis (1038-1073) and financed by his Jewish vizier, the philosopher and poet Samuel ibn Naghrillah. This is the oldest and best preserved Arab public bath, or hammam, in Andalusia. The baths date back to the 11th century during the Moorish conquest. At the time, this was an important place to wash up, but also to maintain social contact.
The Bañuelo of Granada is one of the few such establishments that were saved from destruction by the Catholic Monarchs, as among the Christians Moorish Baths had a reputation comparable to that of brothels. Most public baths were demolished after the reconquering by the Christians, however, this public bath was built above a house and it was used as a public washing place, which saved it from demolition, which makes this building unique.
In 1918, The Bañuelo was declared a National Monument and was restored by the architect Leopoldo Torres Balbás. At the time the baths formed part of a Christian home that was built at a later date, Balbás removed the washing facility from the main hall and installed marble floors, among many other restoration efforts.
What can you see in the El Bañuelo?
he facility, which has a rectangular shape, is made up of several rooms that comprise the classic Arab bath model and consist of three rooms. The entrance, is where people relaxed and left their clothes and leads to the ‘cold chamber’ or frigidarium, next to that the slightly larger and arched ‘warm chamber’ or tepidarium. The most important room is the ‘hot chamber’ or caldarium with the real baths. This room is beautifully decorated with arches, pillars and marble. Another striking feature are the star-shaped apertures in the ceiling for light and ventilation in the El Bañuelo baths.
Highlights of the Arab Baths
- The warm chamber which usually appears in photos due to its stunning dome with octagonal star-shaped skylights that allow light to come in and create a magical atmosphere.
- The room is surrounded by three galleries topped with horseshoe arches perched above columns.
- The hole in the wall shows the original location of the water heater that made it possible to reach high temperatures. The water conduits below the floor required visitors to wear wooden sandals to avoid burning their feet.
Tours of Granada’s Arab Baths and its Environs
If you were wondering which tickets and tours are the best ones to explore Granada’s Arab Baths? Check out these popular options:
Other names of the Arab Baths of Granada
The Bañuelo, also known as Aammim Alyawza or Baños del Nogal or Baños de los Axares (‘of health’), after the neighborhood where it was located.
How to find the Arab Baths of Granada
To reach El Bañuelo, take the C1 or C2 urban bus line and get off at the ‘El Bañuelo’ stop. On foot, it is a five-minute walk from Plaza Nueva. Walking along the street you can easily miss the door of these impressive and well-preserved Arab baths. The Bañuelo baths are located at the bottom of a private house in the Carrera del Darro, at the foot of the Alhambra.
Visiting Arab Baths of Granada
September 15th – April 30th: Daily from 10:00 – 17:00
May 1st – September 14th: Daily from 9:30 – 14:30 and 17:00 – 20:30