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Home / Virtual tour / Charles V Palace and surrounding areas

Justice Tower

The Justice Tower (Torre de la Justicia) is located on the southern rampart of the fortress, next to Charles V Pillar and it is one of the the main entrances to the complex of the Alhambra. As indicated by the inscription on the arch of the inner gate, the tower was built by Yusuf I (1333-1353), it was finished during the Month of the magnified Christmas in the year 749 (that is, in June 1348 of the Christian era) and it was called "Bib Axarea" or esplanade's gate. 

The façade has a great horseshoe arch, set within an irregular quadrilateral made of bricks, with a vaulted lintel and a marble hand carved in the hole. This hand is considered by some a charm against the evil eye and by others the symbol of the Koran, because its five fingers represent the five basic precepts: unity of God, prayer, fasting, alms giving and pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. 

Behind the open space that we find on the other side of the arch, we see, on the inner gate, another stone horseshoe vaulted arch, just like the first one, with shells on the keystone and with arch scallops. In the capitals' abacuses of the columns the following sentence is written: "Allah is great. There is no other God than Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. There is no force but in God ". On the central voussoir of the lintel appears a key with a cord, the meaning of which is not clear, although it is said that it is the symbol of the power of opening and closing the gates to heaven granted to Mohammed, according to the Koran. On this arch appears an inscription that refers to the date of construction of the gate. Above the inscription there is a niche with a sculpture of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, which is a copy of the original, dating from 1501 and kept in the Fine Arts Museum. 

The exit gate, which also has a horseshoe arch, is decorated with tiles and styled vegetal forms on its extremely beautiful left arch scallop. 

Before the exit of the tower, in one of the holes for the guard, there is a retable with the following text:

«The most high, Catholic and powerful persons, Sir Ferdinand and Lady Isabella, our King and Queen, conquered by force of arms this kingdom and city of Granada, which, after being laid siege to for a long time, was surrendered by the Moorish king Muley Hassan at the same time as the Alhambra and other fortifications on the second day of January of the year one thousand and CCCCXCII. On the same day Thier Highnesses placed Sir Yñigo López Mendoça, Count of Tendilla, their vassal, in the Alhambra as governor and commander. On their departure they left him in the said Alhambra, with five hundred knights and a thousand foot soldiers and they ordered that the Moors remain in their houses with their lackeys too. This Count ordered by Royal Decree the construction of this water cistern»

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