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The Tower of the Captive in the Alhambra

a large white building

The Tower of the Captive one of the most beautiful and mysterious places in the whole monumental complex of the Alhambra. It was built at the end of the thirteenth century, but it was at the time of Yusuf I, when it was renewed, and adecuated to be a house, in the first half of fourteenth century.

a close up of a stone building

On the outside, it appears to be any other defensive tower of the rest of the fortified area, a Qalahurra, or castle. Nevertheless, its outside defensive nature contrast with its richly decorated interior.

The Tower of the Captive has received different names has received different names throughout its history: Tower of the Thief, Tower of the Ladies or Tower of the Sultana… From the mid-nineteenth century is known as the Tower of the Captive, as the romantic literary legend says that inside it was imprisoned in Ms. Isabel de Solís, who later became sultana of the Nasrid Kingdom under the name of Soraya.

a close up of a stone building that has a bridge over a river

Its rich decoration inside makes it one of the most impressive and prominent areas of the Alhambra. Its structure and distribution are just the same as the ret houses and palaces from the monumental complex.

This space, along with the Hall of Comares, boasts the most complex decorative program of the Alhambra. A poem inscribed in the room, beginning at the upper left corner of it, gives us the key to understand :


“This work has come to decorate the Alhambra

are home to the peaceful ones and the warriors

Calahorra containing a palace

Say that it is a fortress and also a mansion for joy!

It is a palace in which the splendor is spread

between its  ceiling, its floor, and its four walls

in the stucco and tiles, there are wonders,

but the carved wood ceilings are even more extraordinary….”

It is open from 8.30am to 18 hours, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays, and anyone with the  General Daytime Visit or the  Garden visit may get in.