Plaza de Los Aljibes

Square in Granada

Plaza De Los Aljibes, Alhambra Grenada
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Jebulon

The Plaza de Los Aljibes, or the Square of the Cisterns is a square in the Alhambra Complex, in Granada, Spain. The Plaza de Los Aljibes is a public space located in the Alhambra complex but free to access. Looming over the cypress trees in this square are crenelated towers. There’s a busy snack stand in the middle. The square’s a handy place to take a seat on one of the walls before or after walking up and down the cobbled paths and towers of Alcazaba. The square forms a vast esplanade between the towers and the defenses of the Alhambra on one side and the Puerta del Vino or Wine Gate, the Palacio Nazaríes or Arabic palaces and the Palacio de Carlos V on the other side.

Where does Plaza de Los Aljibes get its name from?

In Arabic, an aljibe is a cistern or well and the square gained ts name after Spanish nobleman Íñigo López de Mendoza y Quiñones, the Count of Tendilla, commissioned the building of the cistern system in 1494, after the conquest of Granada. It is now buried beneath the esplanade.  The cisterns were 34 meters in length, 6 meters wide and 8 meters high. When these cisterns were buried, it formed a large esplanade between Puerta del Vino, Palacio de Carlos V, and the palaces.

What can you see from the Plaza de Los Aljibes?

From this elevated vantage point, you can drink in views of the city and Albaicín, the old Muslim neighborhood.  These are part of the massive defensive wall built to protect the Alhambra from invaders. Behind them is the triangular Alcazaba. This Moorish military complex was constructed in the mid-13th century by the Nasrid dynasty on the foundation of a Roman fortress and a late-9th century citadel. The Alcazaba is well worth visiting.

History of the Plaza de Los Aljibes

Before the Christian conquest, where the Plaza de los Aljibes is now located, there was a large ravine that separated the La Alcazaba from the residential area.

In 1494, Iñigo López de Mendoza, Count of Tendilla decided to pave the land, and build a large cistern , which ensured the water supply for both the palatine enclosure and much of the city.

In 1800 a bullfighting arena was built in Plaza de los Aljibes. With the money raised from the shows, it was intended to pay part of the restoration and conservation works of the Alhambra. In 1805 the arena built on the Plaza de los Aljibes was dismantled and its wood sold.

In 1922 it was the site of the Cante Jondo Contest sponsored by Lorca, Falla and other intellectuals. The contest consecrated the Plaza de los Aljibes as a social meeting place in Granada. For the 1922 event, spectators were even suggested to come with costumes from the years 1830-1840. It was suggested that the women come dressed in “tight jackets, ruffled skirt and sleeves, hairstyle with stripe in the middle, mantilla on”, and the men with Andalusian hats; dress suits and top hats were expressly prohibited. Various councils were also issued demanding “rigorous punctuality”, absolute silence, avoiding “conversations, comments, and even applause until the couplets are finished singing”, refraining from “intervening on the basis of the fairness of the trial”, and “complete silence in the ambiguous “

The medieval square was found in 1955 excavations.

The Plaza de Los Aljibes appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Granada!

Other names of Plaza de Los Aljibes

The Plaza de Los Aljibes has the following names: Plaza de Los Aljibes, Square of the Cisterns.

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Visiting Plaza de Los Aljibes


24 Hours



Address: Placeta de los Aljibes Plaza Algibes Alhambra, 1T 18009 Granada Spain
Duration: 20 minutes

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