Puerta del Vino
City Gate in Granada
The Puerta del Vino or Wine Gate is an inner gate within the Alhambra Complex, in Granada, Spain. It is thought to be one of the oldest constructions of the Alhambra, dating back to the period of Sultan Muhammad III (1302-1309). It was the main entrance gate to the Medina, which was a residential, administrative and religious area, of the Alhambra and serves to enclose the residential and artisan district within the walled fortress. Because it was an inner gate, it provided direct access to the fortress, as opposed to the outer gates, which required more protection and were built as L-shaped passageways. Inside, however, there was room enough for benches for the guards that controlled all access to the fortress.
What does the Puerta del Vino look like?
The decoration of both sides of the doorway pertains to different periods, and look quite different.
The door on the east side, carved in sand stone, probably belongs to the 13th century or the beginning of the 14th century. This east façade was the outer side of the gate and, therefore, the traditional Islamic symbol of the key with a cord and a plasterboard was engraved above the arch key. The tombstone over the door lintel has the following text “Glory to our Master the Sultan Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Gani Billah” and refers to Sultan Muhammad V, who ruled the fortress in the second half of the 14th century.
The door on the west side, even when it follows a similar structural pattern, was decorated during the second mandate of Sultan Muhammad V, more specifically after 1367, the date of the military campaigns of Jaen, Baeza and Ubeda. Remarkable are the beautifully decorated spandrels hanging from the arch, made up of dry-rope manufactured tiles, and the composition of the stucco walls that frame the upper floor’s window, and the rest of well-preserved polychromatic painting on the right side of the arch. On the back façade visitors may admire an arch with scallop with polychrome brick decoration. On the arch there is a lintel with voussoirs, which gives support to the second body, where the twin balcony is and on the crossing of its arch is the coat of arms of the Nasrid kings and the following text “Only God is Victor”.
Where does the name Puerta del Vino come from?
There are two theories regarding the origin of the name. Originally the gate was called, Bib al-Hamra, meaning Red Gate or Gate to the Alhambra, it is thought that this got confused with the similar sounding Bib al-Jamra, meaning Wine Gate. An alternative theory is that since 1556, during the years of Christian occupation, the residents of the Alhambra could purchase wine tax-free. The wine would be delivered by the residents of Granada and left at this door.
Where is the Puerta del Vino Located?
It is located in the south east of the Plaza de Los Aljibes or Square of the Cisterns and south west of the Palacio de Carlos V.
Visiting Puerta del Vino