The city of Granada is located near the southern tip of Spain, on the hills at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. An important city during the period of Umayyad rule (756-1031 AD) and under the Almohad and Almoravid dynasties of the twelfth and thirteenth-centuries, Granada is most famous for the palaces within the palatine city of the Alhambra.
Founded by Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Nasr, who escaped to Granada after the Castilian conquest of his native Zaragoza, Granada was the capital of the Nasrid Sultanate, and as such became the last Islamic kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula following the Castilian conquest of al-Andalus in the thirteenth-century.
The medieval city was composed of separate quarters, each with its own mosques and baths. Granada's suburbs developed along the banks of the Darro River, on the plain and hills below the Alhambra. The government functions of the Nasrid rulers were concentrated in the Alhambra, while commercial, religious, and civic institutions were concentrated in Granada proper.
The Albaicín, a walled suburb on the hill opposite that of the Alhambra, is the best-preserved section of the medieval city, but retains only a fraction of the mosques and celebrated courtyard houses that once existed there.
Dickie, James. 1992. "Granada: A Case Study of Arab Urbanism in Muslim Spain." In The Legacy of Muslim Spain, edited by S. K. Jayyusi and M. Marín. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill, 88-111.
Hermann, Elizabeth Dean. 1996. Urban formation and landscape: symbol and agent of social, political and environmental change in fifteenth-century Nasrid Granada. Harvard Univ.: PhD. Dissertation.
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Roca Roumens, M., Moreno Onorato, M. A. & Lizcano Prestel, R. 1988. El Albaicín y los orígenes de la ciudad de Granada. Granada: Universidad de Granada.
The New Funduq (Arabic al-funduq al-jadida) was constructed in the fourteenth-century, and is the only surviving example of this building type in Spain. The funduq, or khan, was a common feature of medieval Islamic cities, and was usually composed of at least two floors of rooms arranged around a central courtyard. Funduqs provided traveling merchants with accommodation and storage space for goods and animals.
The entrance façade of the Funduq al-Jadida is elaborately ornamented with a monumental portal and richly carved stucco surfaces. The richness of the façade ornamentation probably reflects its royal patronage - first owned by the Nasrid rulers and then by the Castilian crown following the conquest of Granada in 1492. The monumental entrance also advertises the building's presence at the end of a narrow alley that branches from one of Granada's main thoroughfares. The projecting bay of the portal creates a shallow vestibule, ornamented with a muqarnas vault, which leads to the interior courtyard. In contrast to the conspicuous decoration of the façade, the interior courtyard is characterised by unornamented brick, wood, stucco, and stone. Brick and stone piers support galleries that permit access to rooms on three floors. A stone water basin is located in the center of the courtyard.
Later in its history the Funduq al-Jadida was used to store grain, and in the seventeenth-century was used as an office for weighing coal. This latter function is commemorated in the name by which the Funduq al-Jadida is known today: the Corral del Carbon. It is now used for cultural events and is preserved as a cultural landmark.
Orihuela Uzal, Antonio. 1995. "Granada, Capital del Reino Nazarí." In La Arquitectura del Islam Occidental. 204-206
Robertson, Ian. 1980. Spain, the mainland. In Blue guide. Chicago : Rand McNally, p. 490.