|Moorish Fountain inside the Corral de Carbon|
The Arabic Word bib means gate and rambla river bank. Until the end of the 19th century, there stood, at the plaza´s east end, a large Moorish gate which gave the place its name - gate of the strand, because it stood on the sandy bank of the river which now flows unseen beneath the Calle de los Reyes Catolicos. A bridge connected it to the the merchants´ inn on the other side, today known as the Corral de Carbon because, after the Moorish period charcoal vendors brought their wares down from the forests to be sold in its patio. This is one of Granada´s oldest and best preserved monuments, with the double-arched gate, inner flag stoned courtyard and central well typical of the Moorish fondaks. I once stayed in a very similar one in Fez, although it didn´t have the magnificent façade.
After the Christian conquest, the patio was used as a theater, and it is easy to imagine it, in the Edad de Oro, all decked out for a comedy for Lope de Vega, with its sunny and shady sections just like today´s bull rings, and subdivided into separate areas for men and women, to prevent licentiousness Later, it became a ramshackle tenement house but is now home to a tourist information office and several crafts and antique shops. An interesting vestige from the time when it was still necessary to cross the river in order to get to the bazaar is the name of the street which leads from it to the Calle Reyes Catolicos: Calle Puente del Carbon, ´´Coal Bridge Street´´.
This excerpt is taken from:
Granada, City of My Dreams - an artistic and historical guide for the curious traveler by Lorenzo Bohme
This book is available to buy now on Amazon Kindle.
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