Tuesday - 09| 2|2014

The Moor’s Chair. Alhambra of Granada

It is also known as Santa Elena’s Castle.

The Moor’s Chair

The so-called Moor’s Chair was a Generalife guard outpost. Its vegetable gardens lie in an area where water from the Royal Canal was channelled to the rest of the Alhambra.   

Until the second half of the 20th Century, when the main tower and walls were restored, the Historical-Artistic Monuments site was in a state of ruin and abandonment. It was not until 1929 that a decision was made to do something about it.  Torres Balbás was put in charge of excavating the remains of the plaster stairway and the door to the high tower, which at the time was in complete ruins.

The site probably served a military purpose, it being located in an area that was particularly vulnerable to enemy incursions. It is thought that the zone had strategic importance, a belief reinforced by the fact that the French occupational forces held it for a time.

The name Santa Elena was given to the church. Its Arabic denomination is unknown because it is not referred to anywhere in relation to the Grenadian sultan’s domain.

The state of abandonment that followed upon a series of uses put to it during the Christian era has left the site degraded, with little decorative or epigraphic remains left.  

The history and descriptions remaining pertain to periods well after the Nasrid reign, and provide little information leading to an understanding of the role the site may have played in the defence strategy of Granada.

Moreover, taking into account the defensive role of the area, it would be reasonable to suppose that the remains of a wall or some other type of structure exist linking the site to either the Generalife the constructions located higher up the Cerro del Sol Mountain, or even to the irrigation channel.