Murphy, James Cavanah, 1760-1814. / The Arabian antiquities of Spain
Part II. A description of the Alhamra at Granada, pp. 7-21
A DESCRIPTION OF THE ALHAMRA AT GRANADA. PLATE XVII. A SECTION OF THE GATE OF JUDGMENT. THIS engraving will convey some idea of the solid masonry, with which the gate is constructed. After the copious elu- cidations already given, little remains to be offered respecting it. We may however remark, that A. is the niche in which the statue of the Virgin Mary is placed, which appears in Plate XIV. In B. Are placed the benches for the invalids to sit on, who mount guard at this gate. C. A door-way, opening into other parts of the palace, which is now covered with plates of iron. PLATE XVIII. ELEVATION OF THE PUERTA DEL VINO. THE position of this gate may be seen in Plate XI. No. 2. Whence its name, Puerta del Fino, or the Wine-Gate, is de- rived, we have not been able to ascertain. The door is of palm-tree wood, with iron bolts; and over the gateway is a dwelling, leading from the guard-house entrance to the palace of the Emperor Charles V. PLATE XIX. PLAN AND SECTION OF THE GREAT CISTERN. CONTIGUOUS to the Palace of the Emperor Charles V. is the Plaza de los Algibes, or square of the cisterns, which is thus denominated from the ancient cisterns constructed beneath it, and which are constantly supplied with running water, brought from a neighbouring hill, about one league distant. So abundant was the quantity thus conveyed, as fully to answer the demands of the numerous inhabitants who an- ciently occupied the Alhamra. The largest of these subterra- neous cisterns is correctly delineated in our Engraving; and, when the water is discharged from it, it is perhaps one of the most curious objects of attention in the whole palace. It has been formed at a considerable depth below the surface of the ground; is one hundred and two feet in length by fifty-six feet in width; and the whole is inclosed by a wall six feet thick, and arched over. This arch, marked A. in the plate, is forty-seven feet seven inches high in the centre, and seventeen feet five inches below the surface of the ground. B. B. Are two circular openings, twenty-five feet six inches asunder, from centre to centre of each, and strongly walled. They are three feet six inches in diameter, and are carried up three feet six inches above the surface of the ground, in order to admit both air and light. C. is a vault eleven feet square ; after passing which, the steps D. lead from the surface of the ground down to the bottom of the cistern. Four feet above the second landing place. IE. is the level of the vault C. through which the water passes, and enters the cistern. F. F. F. are three openings between the two landing places descending to the bottom. They are six feet in height by three feet in width. The descent of the steps from the surface of the ground to the bottom of the cistern is sixty feet. G. is a sewer, to carry off the water: for which purpose a man was let H. by a rope. The apparatus for discharging the water was extreme A4-___ c A-L .. 1 v, a fixed at the extremity of Slsting o t aDlnrass c oct wDItWt * ,.. . I. a narrow subterraneous corridor. This immense reservoir is supposed to have been con- structed with the design of keeping the water in a state of perpetual coolness,-a luxury, which in hot climates is re- garded of the utmost consequence. PLATE XX. THE HALL OF THE BATHS. THE further we advance towards the interior of the palace, the more costly and beautiful is the execution of the workman- hip, agreeably to the custom of the Moors; who to this day bestow little of external ornament on their edifices; while all that art can contribute to convenience or splendour, is pro- perly bestowed on the inner apartments.) The hall, delineated in Plate XX, derives its appellation from its leading to the baths of the Alhamra: its arches rest on very slight columns; which, as well as the floor, are of white marble. The mosaic tilings reach up to the cornices, and are exceedingly beautiful: the respirators or ventilators are of baked earth, with a green glazing: the form of these ventilators is represented in the upper part of our engraving; and the same shape is preserved in all the apartments be- longing to the baths. PLATE XXI. A SECTION OF THE HALL OF THE BATHS. THE solidity of the Arabian structure is here advantageously seen, together with the form of the mosaics. The columns are in a style of architecture, totally differing from that of every order to which the European eye is accustomed: not- withstanding their apparent slenderness, they have proved fully adequate to support the superior incumbent weight of the massive stone work above them. PLATE XXII. CIELING OF THE HALL OF THE BATHS. THE cieling of this noble apartment is one of the most superb that can well be conceived: its border is beautifully orna- mented; and the ventilators, which are here seen in different points of view, being glazed of a green colour, admit both light and air, and diffuse a most refreshing coolness through the hall.
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