The Hairdresser of the Queen of the Alhambra in Granada is a charming space whose work was based on a Nasrid tower belonging to the defensive wall of the Granada monument. Its objective was to become an exclusive space for the new Spanish queen Isabella of Portugal, who had arrived in Granada after her wedding with Carlos V.
The construction of the Peinador de la Reina
With the arrival of Carlos V to the Alhambra, many were the reforms that were undertaken in the Nasrid palaces. Among them, the best known is the construction of the Palace of Carlos V by Pedro Machuca. This palace should be the new entrance to the whole complex and the visible face of the new power.
But Some interventions were also carried out inside the existing palaces. This is the case of the so-called rooms of Carlos V or Washington Irving, so called because they were both rooms at different times.
Due to these reforms, in 1637 the construction of the marvelous Peinador de la Reina was undertaken, whose entrance is made from one of the rooms of Carlos V and that was destined to be the private rooms of the Empress Isabel.
However, it seems that He held them for a short period of time. The continuous tremors suffered by the Alhambra hill caused the empress to prefer to move to the monastery of San Jerónimo in Granada.
the Nasrid tower
The Queen’s Hairdresser is located on the tower of Abu l-Hajjay. It is a Muslim tower that has nothing to envy to the spaces of the Christian era. It was built in the 14th century by Yusuf I and Mohammed V on the walkway of the wall that protects the entire area of the Comares tower. It was accessed through a passageway or from the Daraxa patio area.
This is a place made for the delight of the senses with an impressive decoration of plasterwork, tiles and carved wood that joined the wonderful views of the Albaicín hill. It also had an important stove in which incense and aromatic plants were burned to provide a relaxing aroma throughout the space.
The Christian Hairdresser
In that tower was built the dressing room that stands out, above all, for the fresco paintings made for the Empress by two of Raphael’s disciples, the Italians Julio Aquiles and Alexander Mayner. Made between 1539 and 1546, they represent several of the emperor’s exploits in his war campaigns.
This dressing room has two spaces. The first of them is an alcove that overlooks the Muslim tower through an arch. The other space is an exterior corridor or viewpoint in the form of an ambulatory through which the entire exterior space of the tower could be visited and views of the Generalife and Sacromonte, the Darro and Albaicín and Granada.
And all of this is covered by a central armor of Muslim origin. In its arrocabe or beams that join it to the walls you can see the following inscription:
… Divine help, dominion and clear victory be to our lord Abu I- Hayyay, prince of the Muslims, exalted be his triumph.
On the floor there is an incense slab made by Oliver Hurtado in 1540as a complement to an incense burner that had been placed in the lower rooms and through which the aroma of aromatic plants that we mentioned earlier would penetrate.
The Italian paintings of the Queen’s Peinador
In both spaces, the paintings are the protagonists. A) Yes, we find represented scenes of the campaigns of Carlos V in Tunis in 1535. Both artists represented from the departure of the squadron from the port of Cagliariel to the withdrawal of the troops and their return to Sicily, passing through scenes that show us the development of various military operations.
Likewise, we can find other paintings that represent the allegorical figures of the Virtues of Temperance, Faith, Charity, Justice, Strength and Hope. There are also scenes depicting the fable of Phaethon, while the central room is covered in flower garlands interspersed with animals and other figures.
Nowadays, the Queen’s Hairdresser is a limited visit space by the Board of Trustees of the Alhambra and the Generalife due to its conservation needs. However, it can be seen from the emperor’s rooms.