An Abandoned Hotel
Walking through the lower Albaicin, historic quarter in Granada you can see fabulous views across to the Alhambra. Carrera del Darro is often referred to as the prettiest street in the world. Next to the river, this cobbled street is directly below the Red Castle on the hill.
You may have noticed an abandoned building on the end of the street beside the river. The Carrera del Darro changes it name someway along to Paseo Padre Manjon. Officially named this way but known by locals as Paseo de los Tristes. (Walkway for the Sad) It got this name as grieving relatives would walk along this street to a nearby cemetery.
Paseo de los Tristes
Along this part of the street many stop to notice the abandoned building known as Casa de los Espejos. (House of the Mirrors) It´s also referred to as Carmen de Santa Engracia, Carmen del Granadillo or even by locals as Hotel Reuma !
Another name given by locals is the Casa de la Maleta. The Suitcase House. As it looks like a little suitcase when you see it from a distance. Some call it the dolls house. It seems to be small, dwarfed by the perspective when you see it from the Albaicin.
(seen on this photo below on the right)
Casa de la Maleta
Many locals and visitors question how this building can be abandoned and in a state of disrepair when it occupies such a wonderful location in Granada. Directly below the Alhambra Palace itself.
I wanted to find out more about this mysterious building so I begin investigating.
First we´ll deal with all those names!
The estate was originally Carmen de Santa Engracia. On one side there was another property called Carmen el Granadillo which made up part of it. These were separated and owned seperately. The area has almonds trees, fruit trees, land as well as the Hotel Building which grabbed my attention.
Carmen houses are typical in Granada, especially around the Albaicin neighbourhood. Find more about them here: Typical Carmens in Granada
Hotel Bosque de la Alhambra
This elegant building on the bank of the Darro River was built in 1908 just below the Comares Tower. It opened on the 20th May 1910. The name of the Hotel at the time of opening was the Alhambra Woods Hotel. In Spanish Hotel Bosque de La Alhambra.
Designed as a luxury hotel and described by the first visitors in the opening week as a ´Delightful Mansion´. It was a time in which the city was attracting it´s first tourists. In the same year the Hotel Alhambra Palace was opened too.
Many visitors were looking forward to visiting the Alhambra Woods Hotel for the first time for the Corpus Christi festival in June that year. To get to the hotel entrance you accessed it by crossing the Chirimias bridge. (seen above)
The hotel was well received initially, but not long after its opening months the guests began to leave. Nicknamed by the locals as the Flu hotel. (Hotel Reuma) this name is still used even today. The damp problems in the guests rooms, the chilliness from the river and the dark shade of woods didn´t suit the guests at all. It is understood that 1912 it stopped operating as a hotel. Just two years after its inauguration. The hotel closed defintively in 1916 although details are sketchy. The hotel was owned by D.Manuel Antonio Reyes Clavero a Building Surveyor whose wife had owned the land.
Carmen de Santa Engracia
Since the closure of the Hotel Bosque de la Alhambra the building has been used for different purposes. It´s said that the Composer Manuel de Falla was living on the estate of Carmen de Santa Engracia during the summer of 1921. During this time he was often visited by Granada poet Federico Garcia Lorca.
During the war in 1936 the building was used as a Hospital for the city.
Later in 1940 it was used as a base for a Masonic Lodge, named Alhambra. At the time there were three masonic groups in the city, Federico Garcia Lorca is rumored to have been a member. It was even used as dressing rooms for theatre performers and artists at one point.
Then around the years 1950 to 1960 it has been documented that part of the building it was used as a factory for making ropes from cannabis plants. It was also known to have housed a soap factory too.
Up until the year 2000 the building was in a state of abandon, that year it was taken over by the Alhambra management comittee and now destined to be used as a centre related to the monument.
The recent plans drawn up by the Granada council and the Andalucian local government promise to improve the general aspect of the area and recover the bridge of Chirimías, so that it regains it´s original appearance, as well as renovating the building in order to offer cultural activities related to the Alhambra Palace and offer temporary or permanent exhibitions.
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