The Captive’s Tower
Opening time: from 8.30am to 8.00pm. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Access: with the General Admission ticket to the Monumental Complex of the Alhambra.
Capacity: 30 people.
Period: end of the 13th century, although it was restored and adapted as a dwelling in the reign of Yusuf I by the mid 14th century.
It is a Tower-palace or Qalahurra that combines the external defensive function and the internal dwelling function.
The tower has been given different names along the years: Tower of the Thief, of the Ladies and of the Sultana. From the mid 19th century it is known as the Captive’s Tower (Torre de la Cautiva) due to the literary romantic legend that Isabel de Solis, later a sultana with the name of Soraya, was captive here. The outside of the Captive’s Tower (Torre de la Cautiva) is very similar to the other towers. However, the inside is one of the most outstanding dwelling spaces of the Alhambra for its decoration. It is a tower-palace or Qalahurra, whose structure and distribution is similar to that of the houses and palaces of the Alhambra.
This space, together with the Hall of Comares, houses the most complex decorative programme of the Alhambra. A poem written in the hall and that starts on the left angle, gives us the key to understand the hall:
«Esta obra ha venido a engalanar la Alhambra;
es morada para los pacíficos y los guerreros;
Calahorra que contiene un palacio
¡Dí que es una fortaleza y a la vez mansión para la alegría!
Es un palacio en el cual el esplendor está repartido
entre su techo, su suelo y sus cuatro paredes;
en el estuco y en los azulejos hay maravillas,
pero las labradas maderas de sus techos son aún más extraordinarias….»
(Translation by Mª Jesús Rubiera).