Puerta de las Armas
City Gate in Granada
The Puerta de las Armas or Gate of Arms is a gate entrance to the Alhambra Complex in Granada, Spain. It was is one of the four great exterior and official doors of the Alhambra. It was entrance which was usually used by residents of Granada as until late in the fourteenth century, it was the only access point that opened within the city walls of Granada, the other three opened up outside the city walls.
What does the Puerta de las Armas look like?
It is one of the most complex gates in the entire Alhambra and was the main entrance for citizens who came up from the Cuesta de Gomérez. The main entrance would have been ornate, the Albanega would have been decorated with plasterwork and tiles, although currently there are no remains of them, but small pieces of green, white and blue tiles that decorate the
alfiz that borders it. Next to the main entrance attached to the main defensive wall is a “Postern Gate” which leads to the Patio interior, next to the Stables.
The entrance had a portcullis mechanism which was controlled from the upper floor. After passing the entrance door, for defensive purposes, the wide corridor twists to the right and leads up a ramp. As you go up the ramp these is a small alcove to your left, probably for guards. After this is a T junction – you could either turn left to exit the tower and head to the Nasrid Palaces or to the right to the lower walk by the ramparts of the Alcazaba, both through pointed horseshoe arches.
This door is very similar to the inner door of the Tower of Justice, both for its arch, its bricklayer and its alfiz, although this one does conserve a large part of the plasterwork of its bricklayer, conserving different pieces in the Alhambra Museum.
Look out for the different ceilings within the Puerta de las Armas.
What can you see from the Puerta de las Armas
There are a number of spectacular viewpoints at the Puerta de las Armas, located outside the door, we can see an extraordinary view of the Albaycín neighborhood , over the San Pedro Forest, which descends towards the Darro river.
Look for the remains of the Puerta de los Tableros or Gate of the Boards by the river. The two points would have been connected by a coracha which is a defensive that protects the route between a fortress and a specific point which is usually a water supply.
Where is the Puerta de las Armas
It is located on the west face of the Torre de las Armas, of which it is a part, covering the entire lower floor of it. It is the main gate to access the Alhambra, and lies on its northern ramparts allowing access to the interior walled area after crossing the Forest of San Pedro. Due to its unique strategic position, Puerta de las Armas could control the path leading to it right from the Albaycín neighborhood. We must think that in the times in which the aforementioned gate was built, the aforementioned forest did not exist, so that the people who ascended the path to the Gate of Arms were easily visible; in addition to controlling practically the entire slope that descends to the mentioned river and part of the Albaycín neighborhood.
The name of the Puerta de las Armas
Originally the tower was called Bib al-Medina or City Gate since after its construction it was the main access from Alcazaba to the City, through the current Churra neighborhood. Its current name Bab al-Silah or Gate of Arms comes from the fact that in order to enter the walled area, visitors should leave their weapons there if they wanted to access its interior.
History of the Puerta de las Armas
The Puerta de las Armas is older than the Torre de la Justicia or Justice Tower, and was built by either Muhamad I’ (1195 – 1273) or Ismail I (1279 – 1325). During this period Granada grew extensively and expanded to the west, and extended beyond Puerta Real and Plaza de Bibarrambla. This lead to the necessity of building a new gateway to the Alhambra on the northwest side.
Visiting Puerta de las Armas
For opening times of the Puerta de las Armas see Alhambra Opening Times.