Torre de la Cautiva
Palace and Tower in Granada
The Torre de la Cautiva or Tower of the Captive is a tower/palace located in Generalife section of the Alhambra Complex in Granada, Spain. On the outside the Tower of the Captive is virtually indistinguishable from the other towers. The Torre de la Cautiva is a tower/palace or Qalahurra, combines the defensive structure of its exterior with lavish living quarters on the inside. Its interior has however one of the most richly decorated room spaces in all the Alhambra. Together with the Hall of Comares, this space has the most complex system of decoration in the whole of the Alhambra.
What can you see in the Torre de la Cautiva?
This Qalahurra has a similar structure and layout to the other houses and palaces in the Monument. It is possible to access the ground floor through a passageway that leads to a patio with galleries open by festooned arches on three of its sides, with imposts of mocarabes, which is a form of ornamented vaulting in Islamic architecture.
This patio is connected to a square hall through a double arch of mocarabes. This hall’s coffered ceiling dates from the 19th century and the dressing rooms have balconies to the exterior. The inscriptions on the wall show its defensive importance for the whole complex and its character of beautiful palace-tower.
Inscribed on a wall in the left-hand corner is a poem that offers clues to help understand the building and its functions:
“This work has come to bedeck the Alhambra;
it is a dwelling for men of peace and for warriors;
Calahorra with a palace within
tell us it is both a fortress and a mansion to be enjoyed!
It is a palace in which the splendour is shared out
Between its ceiling, its floor and its four walls;
with true marvels in stucco and in tiles,
while the exquisitely carved wood of its ceiling is even more wonderful…”.
(original translation into Spanish by Mª Jesús Rubiera)
The names of Torre de la Cautiva
During the 16th century it was called Torre de la Ladrona or Tower of the Woman Thief and Torre de la Sultana or Tower of the Sultana. The name of the tower was changed to Tower of the Captive because it was thought that Lady Isabel de Solís was held prisoner here before, converted to the Islam, becoming the Sultan’s wife and changing her name to Soraya
History of the Torre de la Cautiva
The Torre de la Cautiva was built at the end of the 13th century, although it was renovated and adapted for use as living quarters in the time of Yusuf I in the first half of the 14th century. It was restored between 1873 and 1876 after it had been used as dwelling of the Christian governors first and of other people later on.
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Visiting Torre de la Cautiva
For opening times of the Torre de la Cautiva see Alhambra Opening Times.