Phase One of the restoration work on the roof of the Baño Real del Palacio de Comares in the Alhambra has concluded and the area reopened to the general public.
The building was ordered built by Sultan Ismail (1333-1354) and is one of the very few complete examples of a hammam of this type left in the West. During the project, which had a budget of 1,160,342 euros, medieval artisan works were discovered.
“The Alhambra continues to surprise us by revealing new keys that help us understand its history,” said the chief architect on site, Pedro Samerón, working with a score of other experts.
It is essentially a derivation of the Roman steam baths and is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra monument. It consists of the Sala de las Camas; i.e., the undressing and massage room (bayt al-maslaj), then the ante-sala to the main area with its cold-water taps (bayt al-barid), the warm room (bayt al-wastani) and finally the hot room (bayt al-sajún).
Rain water over the years, working its way into the structure through the roof of Los Baños Reales, was causing great concern so that it was decided to repair the roof and ceiling of this vaulted structure, preserving the natural ventilation system and small, star-shape skylights.
Over the centuries the roof has been repaired several times; the first time during the first half of the XVI Century (1538) when the glass in the skylights was replaced by the master builder, Arnao de Vergara, who also worked on the Cathedral of Granada.
Work was carried out again because of damage caused by the blast wave when the gunpowder factory next to San Pedro church went up in 1590. Not much was done after that until 1926.
The Sala de las Camas de los Baños de Comares will be opened from this month on, every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and is included within the general entrace fee.
(News: Metropolitan Area, Granada, Andalucia)