Great move at the Alhambra

It’s eight o’clock in the afternoon. Employees of the Alhambra closed the doors of Spain’s most visited monument. It will not reopen until 10pm, when visitors can enjoy a wonderful sensory and emotional experience of visiting Nasrid palaces by night. But for one thing, no one flocked through the Palatine for two hours, and another thing was that there was no activity. At 8:00 in the evening, more than a dozen workers from a Canadian company specializing in moving artworks entered the Comares Palace to carry out the largest moving work in the history of the Alhambra Palace. Transfer of a thousand objects of exceptional value from the Alhambra Museum’s warehouse to the new museum building, where they may be stored indefinitely. because? Well, basically because the board will begin repair work before the end of the year on the roof of the pavilion where the components are housed, where water leaks have been detected.

The gates of the House of Tina from Albayzin, which these days will be transported to the Neue Museum-Reserve.

Alfredo Aguilar

It was a massive operation overseen by Purificación Marinetto, head of the Museum’s Conservation Department, and Silvia Pérez, head of the Alhambra Reserve, which was carried out with great care throughout the week. “We start at eight in the afternoon and end after two in the morning … or whatever duration,” Marineto explained with a laugh. The effort had to be coordinated with an hour and a half of time, giving tourists the opportunity to tour the Alhambra at night, while also requiring the logistics of transshipment of real jewels, such as the lattices of the Salon de Bagno, through the Comares palace itself Work. Comares. The logistics worked perfectly.


  • 200,000
    Of the approximately 200,000 items in the Alhambra’s collection, only 300 are on display to the public, a small number that speaks to the need to expand exhibition space.

  • Chapter 1492
    The collection was organized in 1492. After the conquest, the Catholic Monarchs had realized the need to replace various parts of the fort.

But before going on to describe the extraordinary resources on display on the board, it is worth answering an earlier question: what are all these items in the Komares Palace doing? The explanation is simple. “The Alhambra Museum was located in the west wing of the Palazzo Comares until 1994, when the restoration of the ground floor of the Palazzo Carlos V was completed, when it was decided to move the museum facilities from one site to another,” Marineto explain. . These rooms – a total of fourteen exhibition halls – are located above the evocative Oratorio del Mexuar, then closed to the public, and are used to house the thousands of funds that these days are brought to the new museum complex, which is housed within the alhambreño.

Shipping source.

Alfredo Aguilar

At this point, it is worth remembering an important fact. The Alhambra Museum houses an impressive heritage spanning over 500 years, with 200,000 references, of which only 300 are on display. Small scale shows something important. A lot of space was needed to expand the exhibition area – all these jewels are hidden in NuevosMuseos boxes, a real luxury – and more square meters were needed for the renovation of another service line. For example, we’re talking about areas of research or doing outreach. Therefore, there is interest in relocating the Museum of Fine Arts, located in the Palace of Carlos V, to another part of the city.


But let’s go back to what’s happening now. All work is well organized, starting with the sorting of materials so that there is very clear traceability. That is, where the pieces were and where they will be from now on. Everything has to be found. Next comes packaging to ensure there is no spoilage of any kind. After wrapping with a padded lid, in some cases a traditional cardboard box is used, while in others a custom-designed container with an internal anchoring system is used so that the container is secured and withstands vibrations, for example. “The materials are always neutral and do not contain any type of acid, so the content is not affected,” explains Marineto.

Sort materials before shipping.

Alfredo Aguilar

Once everything was perfectly packed (the mission started in 2018 and an evacuation was expected due to the poor condition of the roof), it was time to transport it. The Canadian company has installed a mechanical lift with a platform in the courtyard of Machuca, through which the smallest packages can be lowered through the windows, after which they only have to be moved about thirty meters. Even the trucks waiting outside Carlos V’s palace. However, due to the large size of some of the items, transportation had to be carefully carried down via stairs connected to the Komares courtyard where the items were located. pond. From there to the vehicle, but exit through the Princes Gate. All of this must be done with extreme caution. Hence the competition from specialized companies such as Canadian companies in Granada.

“We made custom boxes for shipping some items”

Marineto purification

Director of Conservation at the Alhambra Museum

What are you carrying? everything. These stunning collections of white, blue and gold ceramics are now on display in the new museum. But there’s more. Eaves of the Komares and Generalife palaces, some exceptional doors, Nasrid, Coptic, Fatini, North African and Turkish silk fabrics – and other sources -, Villamena The stucco of a demolished house in the square, the tiled floor in the transept of the Royal Hospital of Granada, the pots, the latticed windows on the upper floor of La Rauda, ​​etc.

Stucco and latticework of a house in Villamena Square.

Alfredo Aguilar

The collection of the Alhambra Museum is really huge. “It started in the days of the Catholic Monarchs, when Isabel and Fernando had decided that certain elements of the Alhambra had to be restored,” Marineto said. Since then, there have been a series of entities tasked with safeguarding such a vast heritage. According to records, at the Barcelona Exhibition in 1914, the tombstone and timber finally ceded by the administrators of the Alhambra Palace were exhibited. This is the case with the cupboard doors of the Seti Merion Palace, which were removed from the Prince’s House when the Gran Via was built, and Gómez Moreno decided to place them in the Alhambra Palace.

Among the items being shipped is a fine collection of white, blue and gold Nasrid ceramics

The key date is 1940, when the Board of Trustees of the Alhambra and Generalife was established. Two years later, in 1942, one of the first projects undertaken was the creation of the Alhambra Archaeological Museum. For twenty years, until 1962, it kept that name. At that time it began to be known as the National Museum of Hispanic Muslim Art, under the Ministry of Culture. In 1994, under the sponsor’s design, it has adopted its current name: the Alhambra Museum.

The future of the Alhambra is being written in the present. Both in the seen and in the unseen.

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