It only took about 4 weeks to receive the water flow information for the Alhambra and Granada, but I was able to track it down. In the 13th – 15th centuries, it made perfect sense to build a palace on a river with water sources originating in the Sierra Nevada. The cool water that flows as a result of high altitude rain and snow, is a cooling element that gives life to the Alhambra and the Albacyn. However, the drinkable water that once gave life is no longer drinkable. The amount of unsustainable water and irrigation practices demonstrated at the Alhambra and the Albacyn are concerning. I found where they have added other water sources to the original supply in order to keep up the ambiance.
The water flows as such:
From the Sierra Nevada in a river directly to the Generalife. From the Generalife to the Nasrid Palaces and exiting to the Darro River in Granada as a water resource for inhabitants.
To learn more about the 15th century water systems in Granada and the Albacin, we took a private tour through the Alijibe del Rey. Aljibes in Spain are the main water supply and storage “tanks” for the surrounding areas. For the more wealthy residents, the water supply could be routed to the palaces. As for the lower class residents, they would have to fetch their water from the port of the aljibe. Please see the attached video for a look inside of the Aljibe del Rey.
Last week we were able to tour the Torres Bermejas at the Alhambra. The Torres Bermejas is a military barrack just outside the wall of the Alhambra. It has not had any restoration attempts since the 1960s, so most of what you see in this video is about 450-500 years old. The aqua duct system was most intriguing to me (see pics). The system seemed so modern for such the time period. I am very grateful to Prof. Javier Gallego Roca and the team from the New York Institute of Technology for allowing me to be a part of this once in a lifetime opportunity!
My arrival to Granada was one that I will never forget. The people (for the most part) are kind and willing to help the often, directionally-challenged, tourists and students. The streets are steep, narrow and made of river rock. Now, imagine me carrying a 30lb back pack and a 45lb over-sized suitcase down/up the aforementioned streets and alley ways; you now understand why Arabic Baths will be on the site-seeing list in the near future!
On Monday afternoon, I met with my internship professor, Rafael Garcia. He’s one of the head professors for the school of Architecure here at the University of Granada. Pictured below is Rafael and our student assistant, Marisol. We discussed the importance of water and how Granada receives its water and electricity. I explained how important the use of water flow and velocity are in water recirculation and reuse. Both to determine pressure potential and energy conservation, as well as resource conservation. I also explained to them why we, in the southeastern United States, require water extraction from below ground aquifers – a concept they knew nothing about. Our second meeting went more in depth on the above mentioned topics. It was a learning experience for both sides!
This morning, Marisol took me to the library (bibliotheca) at the Alhambra to conduct research. The archivists were on hand to answer questions and help in any way possible. We found quite a bit of books and articles regarding water, its importance and how the systems at the Alhambra operate.
After I spent a couple of hours looking through books and articles for my final paper, we took a walk through the Generalife section of the Alhambra. Below, you will see a selection of pictures from the Alhambra and my experience here in Granada so far. Ciao!
This is obviously my first WordPress post, and I’m just trying to workout any and all kinks. Looking forward to documenting my highly anticipated internship in Spain in the coming months.
The topic for my research is, “Water re-circulation on evaporative systems. The Nasrid palaces of the Alhambra”. This research will check the importance of saving water, as well as an approach to thermal benefits in passive spaces. This research will underline the economic benefits in the aforementioned two lines on a water re-circulation system, saving water and saving cooling (energy).
I am over-joyed to announce that the final product will be published!
Please stay tuned for updates, pictures, and a glimpse into what will be – the best summer of my life!