The water ponds of the Alhambra
The Alhambra is alive, almost 10 centuries after its foundation due to the excellence of the hydraulic system that its first inhabitants built. The Sultan’s Canal carried then, and does it also now, water from the Darro River to the Generalife, and from there, by an aqueduct to the Alhambra city and palaces.
The Nasrid sultans who once ruled in the kingdom of Granada left diverse areas for agriculture and livestock breeding inside the Alhambra monumental complex. The Generalife, with its large vegetable gardens and a palace, was nearest to the royal palaces and official residences of the Nasrid nobility.
The irrigation channels ran parallel to the walls of the vegetable gardens. Water was conducted through a perpendicular underground gallery, a deep well, a waterwheel, and a large pool, to reach the highest cultivation area. The underground gallery finishes in a well below the Tower of the Ladies, which was built to protect it and to support the waterwheel. Brick platforms surround the pool, a stairway to a terrace that must have been an observation point or a pavilion over the Water Pond, complete the highest part of this hydraulic complex…
In 1926, the come back of the Alhambra splendor made necessary the construction of a new Water pond was built beside the Nasrid structure in order to increase the water pressure along the entire circuit. With the increase of tourism in the 1960s, a third Water pond (Albercón) was built, as it remains now.