Dig starts at Torres Bermejas

Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife (PAG) has given the green light to the first phase of a dig at the fortified complex of Torres Bermejas, on the Mauror Hill to the south-west of the Alhambra site. The dig aims to uncover further archaeological information, with a view to the later revaluation of this example of mediaeval defensive architecture, from the point of view of history, architecture, landscape and cultural and tourist use.
The dig is to be followed by a preservation project, as part of the Master Plan for the Alhambra (2007-2015), which contemplates its possible future opening to the public, the installation of a small multi-purpose exhibition room and its inclusion on tourist routes.
The Alhambra Preservation Service has coordinated the intervention, which was preceded by preliminary studies, with the collaboration of a range of experts, from architects, archaeological historians, landscape experts, among others, to throw light on this corner of the city, its peculiarities and topological characteristics, the chronology and history of its construction and its relation to the Alhambra site and the rest of the layout of the city.
The dig is also expected to uncover further valuable information on the organisation and evolution of the towers, for which purpose its first phase is set to include five prospective digs.
Torres Bermejas was an advance fortress for the Nasrid site and one of the main defensive structures of the city. It consists of three lime mortar towers, the largest in the centre. The towers were joined by a wall, forming a small, roughly rectangular parade ground.
Different construction phases can be distinguished throughout its history, the most ancient remains dating back to the late 8th and early 9th centuries. After the Christian conquest, constant renovation works were carried out, beginning with the reconstruction of the central tower, making use of earlier structures, and continuing with a series of extension and preservation works. In the 18th century two interventions were performed on the surface of the wall and on the lime plaster coat of the outside of the central tower. In the first half of the 19th century, Torres Bermejas was abandoned and fell to ruins, requiring further interior and exterior renovations in 1854.
In 1962 it was acquired by Patronato de la Alhambra and a series of works were performed to preserve and readapt its exterior areas. Over the years, Torres Bermejas has been used as a prison – from 1641 onwards – and later as an army barracks. From 1769 to 1875 it was used as a private residence, before becoming a military prison in 1876.

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