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A worker finishes the painting work in one of the rooms on the upper floor of the Casa de los Guardeses. Ramón L. Pérez
Major restoration project commences on historic Granada monument
Restoration

Major restoration project commences on historic Granada monument

Work on a house adjoining the Palacio de los Córdova, which has spectacular views over the Alhambra, will be completed by the end of this summer to create a tourist information office

Jorge Pastor

Granada

Tuesday, 23 April 2024, 14:44

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Vicenta was the last caretaker of the Palacio de los Córdova in Granada city where she spent day and night looking after for this emblematic building which belonged to Hilda Fernández de Córdoba, Duchess of Montellano, and Carla Falcó. Vicenta retired at the beginning of this century and now Granada city hall, which has owned the estate since 1983, is restoring Vicenta's house, which is annexed to the palace, with funds from the Junta's Alhambra Plan.

The 120-square-metre building, which is distributed over two floors and boasts three patio areas, is to be converted into a tourist information office in Calle Cuesta del Chapiz, a popular tourist spot. According to Jesús García, head of Granada city hall's architecture service, the project is 70 percent complete and if there are no setbacks - there is no reason why there should be - they will be finished in four months' time.

Working on the future tourist reception hall.
Working on the future tourist reception hall. Ramón L. Pérez

The current building has no historical value beyond the fact that it was built on the 14th-century Nasrid wall itself. However, prior to the Casa de los Guardeses, as it is popularly known, there were other buildings that are clearly identified on maps from the end of the 16th century as can be seen in the famous engravings of Ambrosio de Vico and Alberto Fernández. It also appears in Alfred Guesdon's bird's-eye views from the mid-19th century and in the photographs of García Ayola taken at the end of that century.

The main conclusion is that this Casa de los Guardeses predates the Palacio de los Córdova in its current location on the Cuesta del Chapiz, which dates from 1965 - this area was always known as the Huerta de la Lechuga (the lettuce garden), which covered an area of around ten thousand square metres.

What we see today is a reconstruction of the early 15th-century palace that once stood in the Placeta de las Descalzas and was the home of Luis Fernández de Córdoba, the Lord Lieutenant of Granada, and Francisca de Córdoba. Hence the initials L and F that adorn some of the spaces.

The restoration of the Casa de los Guardeses, which is being undertaken by the city hall, is costing more than two hundred thousand euros, financed by the Alhambra Plan. The company awarded the contract is Bados Navarro which has been involved in a number of restoration projects in Granada including the Lavadero del Sol.

The project envisaged the installation of new wooden beams and floor similar to the original one

The Casa de los Guardeses was in a bad state of repair. One of the main problems was water leaking into the building due to the terraced layout of the whole area. A burst pipe in the bathroom had caused a flood that also damaged the two floors.

Demolition

The project contemplated the installation of new wooden beams, reinforcing the walls, replacing the lintels on doors and windows, installing a floor similar to the existing one - the typical hydraulic tiles of the early 20th century, installing the water, electricity and internet supply and a hot and cold air-conditioning system.

Image of the future tourist information office in the house next to the Palacio de los Córdova, in Cuesta del Chapiz.
Image of the future tourist information office in the house next to the Palacio de los Córdova, in Cuesta del Chapiz. Ramón L. Pérez

The Casa de los Guardeses is located on the wall of the Darro river, which means that the building is particularly damp, especially in winter. However, with all of the modernisation, the building is much more comfortable for both visitors and staff.

The transformation into a tourist office will breathe new life into a building whose main attraction is the spectacular views of the Alhambra and the Generalife. Furthermore, at the back of the building there is a viewpoint which also allows visitors to look out over the Darro river. People will enter a main reception room through the door leading to the Cuesta del Chapiz where there will be two members of staff to attend to the public.

On the job.
On the job. Ramón L. Pérez

The upper part of the building has several rooms that will be used as offices or for other uses determined by the city hall although it would probably be too complicated to hold even small-scale exhibitions and concerts.

Ramón L. Pérez
Imagen principal - Major restoration project commences on historic Granada monument
Imagen secundaria 1 - Major restoration project commences on historic Granada monument
Imagen secundaria 2 - Major restoration project commences on historic Granada monument

The gardens, where the almond trees have been preserved, will be resurfaced with a slope to allow rainwater to run off and prevent the formation of pools. From here you can go on to the Palacio de los Córdova and visit its beautiful gardens - the Municipal Archive of Granada is still housed inside.

The Casa de los Guardeses of the Palacio de los Córdova, which was a ruin, will be transformed after the summer into a facility for visitors, but the memories will always remain. Vicenta lived there.

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