The Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol is located on one of the slopes of the Alhambra and looks out onto the Vega – the fertile plain which stretches to the south of Granada – and towards the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It stands on the upper fringe of the medieval Jewish Quarter, now the Realejo district.
A “carmen” is a traditional Granada house whose origins date back to the Moorish period. It comprises the house and a terraced garden with an orchard and is fully integrated within the particular layout of the area. The “alcubillas” were used as an element of the distribution system for irrigation waters from the Acequia Real (the Royal Canal) in the Alhambra or from the local Acequia del Sultán (the Sultan’s Canal). One of these water distributors, known as “alcubilla del caracol”, for a long time lent its name to the upper section of what today is called Cuesta del Realejo (Realejo Hill).
The garden, with its water troughs and terracing, is separated into clearly defined areas each with its own vegetation and features ranging from a Roman shrine with Tuscan columns covered by a leafy glicinia to a traditional Granada cobblestone area with orange and lemon trees via the impressive outline of a centennial cyprus tree which features in a landscape painted by Sorolla in 1910.