Rooms of Carlos Quinto
After visiting the Palace of the Lions, we pass through a Christian addition to the Alhambra, known as the Rooms of Carlos Quinto - los apartamentos de Carlos Quinto. No one could reasonably expect the royal palace to be completed during the King's life time, so a lodging place had to be prepared for his subsequent visits to Granada, presumably to view the progress of the work. But since there were no such visits, Carlos never had need of his pied-à-terre, and the rooms have always been as bare as we now see them, with only the woodwork of the coffered ceiling and the monumental fireplace to suggest their intended purpose.
In fact, the only person of renown to stay here, in the last room we pass through, was novelist Washington Irving, who - on the crest of the Romantic wave, with its fascination for crumbling ruins and lurid tales - had taken leave from his job in the American Consulate to spend three months in the Moorish palace, soaking up the local legends.
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His main sources were the gypsies who had camped there, and who entertained the foreign visitors with the tales of passion and treachery which, over the centuries, had taken root in the popular imagination. The result of this highly unscientific piece of research was one of the world's best-selling books, Tales of the Alhambra.
At the end of the suite is a tower overlooking the city, built for the King's wife, called El Peinador de la Reina. The arches and columns of this exquisitely proportioned loft, unlike other Christian additions, blend in perfectly with the Moorish architecture.
The massive building in the upper background of this photo is the Abbey of El Sacromonte, famous for its pilgrimages and its boys' school.