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Granada City - The River Darro and its bridges

The River Darro and its bridges

by Lawrence Bohme

The Romans called it the River of Gold - aurus - because of the panners who, until recent times, made their meager living searching for the precious mineral in its bed. The Moors pronounced it Hadarro, and it came down to us first as Dauro, later transformed to Río Darro.

The walk along the river's right bank, from Plaza Nueva to Paseo de los Tristes - known as the Carrera del Darro - is graced by the picturesque ruins of a Moorish bridge, a Moorish bath, two stone footbridges, two convents and a church, as well as several palaces - all in the shadow of the Alhambra's mighty towers.

The two bridges called Puente de Cabrera and Puente de Espinosa were built by the Christians in the 16th century, and are still used by the inhabitants of the half-forgotten quarter called La Churra, on the left bank of the river.

The Albaicin was directly connected to the Alhambra by a fortified bridge called Puente del Cadí - the "bridge of the judge". All that is left of it today is the stump of a tower on the left bank and part of its single arch.

A horseman could ride down the hill from the old fortress atop the city wall, gallop across the bridge and then make his way up the ramp-like staircase on the left bank to the main gate, the Puerta de las Armas, in the tower (highlighted) shown below. The grooves inside the arch were fitted with a grid of iron bars, which prevented enemies from penetrating the citadel through the river bed.