Comprehensive Patronato de la Alhambra project for Cuesta del Rey Chico

Patronato de la Alhambra y el Generalife (PAG) is currently undertaking works to shore up the embankments along Cuesta del Rey Chico (or Cuesta de los Chinos). Works involve fixing triple torsion wire netting over native rock abutments, hydroseed planting to improve visual aesthetics and the construction of a containment structure. Works were commenced after the drafting of a study, commissioned by PAG, by J.M Azañón Hernández of University of Granada and F.J. Roldán García of Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME), who analysed the pathologies and risk level of the embankments. The project was given the go-ahead by the PAG Technical Committee.
The works were commissioned in response to a petition submitted by the Local Council for the Albayzín district in July 2010, on foot of fears of possible rockslides prompted by the heavy rains in spring of the year. Moreover, the Alhambra and Generalife independent managing body has scheduled a comprehensive intervention along this historic access route to the site to improve it for pedestrians, highlighting its authentic heritage and landscape values by sowing autochthonous shrubs and ground cover at the foot of the towers to accentuate their height, and removing formerly-used lighting fixtures, replaced with a view to integrating the lighting infrastructure into the landscape.
The final phase will involve restoring the surface, for which a preliminary project has been drawn up by architect Victoria Mir; Fundación Albayzín is expected to collaborate in the final stretch.
However, the comprehensive PAG project for Cuesta de los Chinos also responds to the findings of the 1st Masterplan for the Alhambra 2007-2015, specifically with regard to its measures on pedestrian walkways in the site and the network of miradores and viewing points.
The works will also involve enhancing one of the three mediaeval access routes into the Alhambra, that from the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods, starting at the Aljibillo bridge over the Darro river at the end of Paseo de los Tristes.
The original name of the pathway, Cuesta del Rey Chico, originates in the well-known legend according to which Aixa, mother of Boabdil, the “Rey Chico” (Boy King), helped her son to flee in order to lead the rebels quartered in the Albaicín against his own father. The best-known of the many names given to the pathway is Cuesta de los Molinos, in reference to the gorge that runs between the Generalife and Alhambra hills. In the late 19th century it was also known as Cuesta de los Muertos, being the route taken by funeral processions from the town to the cemetery situated at the top of the Sabika hill. More recently, it became known as Cuesta de los Chinos, from when the lower part was cobbled with round stones (or chinos) in the early 20th century.

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