COMUNICACIÓN Y PRENSA
The Alhambra and Generalife site enjoys a rich heritage that goes beyond its architectural, structural and decorative features. The site itself and the surrounding area boast a series of natural wonders, in which water, the source of life, plays a key role.
The establishment of the Nasrid court in the palace-city of the Alhambra was possible thanks to complex hydraulic works which distributed water throughout the site and parts of the surrounding territory. The Alhambra’s functional and ornamental ponds and fountains are part of its landscape and ecosystem, where the role of water is not just topographic and technological, but also cultural and aesthetic, handing down to us a unique and varied heritage.
Water remains ever-present in the Alhambra, as an essential element in the preservation of this heritage and an inseparable part of its identity. The management of water resources forms part of the agricultural, ethnological, environmental, urban and rural heritage of Granada. Its diversity defines the personality and characteristics of each space of the site.
The challenge for the Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife (PAG) is to balance the requirements of mass tourism with the preservation of cultural values, and to transmit these values in the right framework. In this case, the perfect instrument is to hand: the Cuadernos de la Alhambra journal. The current issue opens with a chapter on The water route, one of the most important sections in the Master Plan of the Alhambra, in operation since 2007. This is followed by three studies, one on the use of water in mediaeval farming practices in the Mediterranean region, specifically in al-Andalus; one on the symbolic meanings of water in Islam; and one on the Roman gold mines at Cerro del Sol, which involved complex hydraulic engineering. A series of instruments are used to evaluate the use of water, some of which are outlined in the chapter on the Río Darro Water Board, promoted by PAG. Finally, the journal also features the results of three interventions conducted in the Alhambra by the site’s technical preservation services, on the Royal Water Channel, the Alhambra, and the baths of the Nasrid palace converted into a Franciscan convent in the 16th century, respectively.
With this monograph on water, looked at from different angles and from different approaches to the history and heritage of the Alhambra, PAG hopes to contribute to the presentation, debate and understanding of the role of water in the Alhambra.
María del Mar Villafranca, general director of Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife