Torre de las Infantas
Tower in Granada
The Torre de las Infantas or Tower of the Princesses is a small palace-tower on the eastern ramparts of the Alhambra complex in Granada, Spain. The palace-tower is located on the, between the Torre de la Cautiva and the Torre del Cabo de la Carrera. Similar to the Torre de la Cautiva, it is called a Calahorra (New Qalahurra) in the poems of the time.
The Tower of the Princesses of Qalahurra is one of the most significant examples of the surprising contrast between the plain decoration found outside, with a plain wall with two window spaces, and the rich architectural and decoration of the inside, by means of tiles, plaster-works and covers.
What does the Torre de las Infantas look like?
The Torre de las Infantas is a two-floor building, with the moat and the walk by the ramparts, the access to which is possible through a passageway. The passageway with a triple bend, has a unique dome of mocarabes that was painted to give the impression of being brick.
The passageway leads to a rectangular central hall on the ground floor that has a veranda on the shorter sides and above this hall there is a lantern covered by mocarabes. Around this central hall there are three lateral narrow rectangular chambers with windows to the outside. The chamber that is parallel to the ramparts is the biggest of the three and has two festooned arches that connect the chamber with some bedchambers.
The upper floor was the private area, and on these four windows are opened four horseshoe arches that overlook the interior courtyard. We can also find twin windows that open the exterior. The interior decoration is typical of Nasrid art, a ceramic plinth and above this plaster-work decoration with inscriptions of praise to God.
Originally, the central space was closed with a muqarnas dome, which disappeared in an earthquake, today it is closed with a wooden dome built in the 19th century.
Other names of the Torre de las Infantas
In the 16th century this tower was called Torre de Ruiz y Quintarnaya or Ruiz y Quintarnaya’s Tower, for this was its inhabitant’s name. Its current name of the infantas, comes from the legend that Washington Irwing collected in his book in 1829, about three Muslim princesses: Zaida, Zoraida and Zorahaida who were locked up by their father to distance them from men. He could not avoid their fate and they would end up falling in love with three captive Christian princes and fleeing with them.
The History of the Torre de las Infantas
The tower was built around 1393-94 in the time of Muhammad VII (1392-1408), a period where the Nasrid decline period had already begun and this is noticeable in the decoration of this tower using very repeated solutions in other places in the Alhambra, Torres Balbás described it as having only ‘poor and repetitive’ elements.
Visiting Torre de las Infantas
For opening times of the Torre de las Infantas see Alhambra Opening Times.
Entrance to this building is usually restricted and cannot be visited during the ordinary visit of the Alhambra Complex.
Access is sometimes permitted with advance registration, through activities arranged by the Board of the Alhambra and the Generalife.
It may also be included in the “Space of the Month” program, which allows the visit of certain spaces normally closed to preserve their conservation and that do not admit a high number of visitors.