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Granada City - Puerta Fajalauza

Puerta Fajalauza

by Lawrence Bohme

The Albaicin is on an outcropping which stands above the city, and behind it the mountain rises even higher, to the northermost limits of the old Moorish wall.

This even-higher quarter is contiguous and similar in every way to El Albaicin, but is usually referred to separately for its most famous landmark, the medieval Fajalauza Gate.

Fajalauza - pronounced fa-ha-LOU-sa (lou as in "house") comes from the Arabic words for "almond grove".

This area was - and still is - famous for its traditional pottery factories, so it ended up giving its name to the typical granadino ceramics painted in blue, green and white, which you can see at the bazaar in the city.

Here you can see the Fajalauza Gate from its outer, northern side...

...and from its inner, southern one.

Nearby, an "aljibe" - one of the many medieval water cisterns built by the Moors to supply the city with fresh water, channelled into the town by a network of "acequias".

The Calle San Luis snakes from west to east, with the Sierra Nevada in the background. There go Wijjie and Valentino, down the hill...

The church of San Luis was burned down in the Civil War and, unlike other churches which suffered the same fate, was never restored, although the bell tower standing behind it remains intact. Here too, the Moorish water cistern still remains.

Another "aljibe", in ruinous condition.

An unrestored stretch of the medieval Moorish wall. The rows of holes were for the braces - long poles secured at the ends - which held together, from either side, the wooden moulds into which the mixture of mortar and gravel - "argamasa" - was poured. This was the unique method used by the Moors for pouring cement. The holes were sealed up with mortar after each section of wall set, but erosion has laid most of them bare.

A forgotten gate of the old wall, Puerta de San Lorenzo - my gate, you might say! It is popularly known as Postigo de San Lorenzo, to be precise.

This sturdy, L-shaped gate, like many others, was used as a bomb shelter during the Civil War when Franco's planes attacked the Albaicin, a stronghold of Republic resistance. Afterwards, tramps slept here and made their fires, blackening the walls.