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On top of the Albayzin, near the Placeta del Cristo de las Azucenas, you can find the Carmen del Aljibe del Rey, which is host to the Fundacion AguaGranada. Blink and you could miss it, because when you are on the Placeta del Cristo, you will be all eyes on the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada. Still, the Carmen del Aljibe del Rey is hosting a piece of engineery worth seeing to understand the appeal and the technology of the Muslim kingdom of Granada.

Entrance of the Carmen del Aljibe del Rey
An "aljibe" is a water cistern used to collect and distribute the water in provenance from the springs in the mountains around Granada. They were used to collect and distribute this water equally in the old Alcazaba Qadima (the original location of the city of Granada, which will be later known as Albayzin). 

Inside the Aljibe
This water cistern of the Aljibe del Rey could store 300 cubic meters of water and dates back to the XIth century, when Granada started to become a major player on the Iberian peninsula, following the Taifas rebellion. 

Located near the Ziris walls which surrounded the core of the city, it was the most important of all the aljibe, due to its higher position, the nucleus of the system designed to oil the social and health life of the muslim city. It was receiving water from the canal of Aynadamar, whose source was in the mountain of the Sierra de Alfaguarra and can still be seen today.

The highlight of the carmen del Aljibe is of course the water cistern itself, under the building, where you can get down through steep stairs. The temperature is notably lower than above. The cistern was especially designed to resist the pressure of the 300 meters cubic water which could be contained there. There are several openings in the ceiling of the cistern, in order also to collect the rain water :

An ingenious model of the city shows how the water was brought to the city with the Aynadamar canal (top left of the picture) and then diverted throughout the Alcazaba Qadima with a system of canals and wells.

follow the lights to get an idea of the canals of water inside the Albayzin
Last but not least, you can enjoy the gardens of the Carmen.

You can visit the Carmen in groups every day by filling out the following form. Or, individuals can present themselves everyday at 12pm at the door and ask for a private (free) visit, from monday to friday.

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