Puerta De La Justicia
City Gate and Tower in Granada
The Puerta De La Justicia or the Gate of Justice, is a city gate in the Alhambra Complex, in Granada, Spain. It was built by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada, in 1348 and was the main entrance of the Alhambra, which had three other gates. It is also known as the Puerta de la Explanada or Gate of the Esplanade because of the large space that extended before it. Above the gate stands the Torre de la Justicia or Justice Tower.
What does the Puerta De La Justicia look like?
Puerta De La Justicia is the largest and most impressive, it comprises two elegant arches – a larger and a smaller one – both made from white Macael marble.
The façade has a great horseshoe arch, set within an irregular quadrilateral made of bricks, with a vaulted lintel and a marble hand carved in the hole. Just behind the first arch, there is an open space, which had a clear defensive function, as it allowed soldiers to throw stones, oil and all kinds of material at potential attackers.
A second adoveled arch opens, on columns with cubic capitals and in whose abacuses it is possible to read the following legend: “Praise God, there is no other God than Allah, and Muhammad is his envoy. There is no force except in God. ”
The gate entrance has two bends in it forcing attackers to turn twice before reaching the other side, where they then have to climb up a ramp.
Look out for:
- In the center of the Esplanade is plaque honor of the writer Washington Irving, built to commemorate the centenary of his death.
- The Gothic figure of the Virgin and the Child, by Roberto Alemán, placed over the original Arab inscription of the Gate by order of the Catholic Monarchs.
- Just outside the gate is an artillery bulwark built in the Christian era by gunner Ramiro, the architect of other bulwarks throughout the compound.
- The Key and the Hand located in the keystone of each arch.
The Real Name of the Puerta De La Justicia
It was originally thought that the Puerta De La Justicia or the Gate of Justice was a translation of the Moorish name got its name from its arabic name Bib-Xarea or Gate of the Law long believed to refer to Islamic justice or law – charia. However it appears this was a misinterpretation for a similar-sounding word and that her real name was Bib-Xaria, Door of the Esplanade and referred to the space that was in front of her.
In the 19th century, the Guard corps was based in the Puerta de la Justicia and for some years the door this caused the door to be known as Puerta de la Guardia.
The Legend of Puerta De La Justicia
The Gate features one of the most significant symbolic icons of the Alhambra. The interior arch of the Porte de la Justice is decorated with a key and on the keystone and the exterior has an open hand with its forearm.
The hand is considered by some a charm against the evil eye or it is that of Fatimah, daughter of Mohammed and represents the five tenets of Islam: Shahada: Faith, Salah: Prayer, Zakāt: Charity, Sawm: Fasting, Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca. The key represents the key to Islamic paradise, for Allah was the opener of the gates of Paradise.
This has had numerous legends around it:
- The Alhambra being judged impregnable, legend has it that the day when the key and the hand meet, that is to say the day of the collapse of the Alhambra and the end of the world!
- Christian visitors would never enter this gate until the hand reached down to grasp the key.
- Other stories say that if a knight astride his horse could touch the hand then he would conquer the throne of the Alhambra.
Where is the Puerta De La Justicia located?
Other names of Puerta De La Justicia
The Puerta De La Justicia has the following names: Puerta De La Justicia, Gate of Justice, Bib-Xaria, Gate of the Esplanade,Puerta de la Ley .
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Visiting Puerta De La Justicia