"El Banuelo - The Arab Baths" Top 5 Page for this destination Arabic Baths Tip by suvanki

Arabic Baths, Granada: 8 reviews and 19 photos

  star shaped sky light, Arab baths, Granada
by suvanki
  • star shaped sky light, Arab baths, Granada - Granada
      star shaped sky light, Arab baths, Granada
    by suvanki
  • Arab Baths Granada - Granada
      Arab Baths Granada
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  • Stone columns, Arab Baths, Granada - Granada
      Stone columns, Arab Baths, Granada
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  • Markings from where stucco panels were previously - Granada
      Markings from where stucco panels were previously
    by suvanki
  • Arab Baths, Granada - Granada
      Arab Baths, Granada
    by suvanki

Built in the 11th century, and carefully restored, this is one of the oldest public baths in Spain, and one of the best preserved examples of an Arabic Bath. (Not to be confused with the nearby Baines Arabes, which was opened in 1998)

During Moorish occupation, there were many bath houses in Albaicin, maybe as many as 60. (The city of Cordoba had around 800!!)
These served a religious, and social purpose.
Cleansing of the body, particularly prior to prayer, was of great importance to the Muslim religion. Cleanliness of the body = Cleanliness of the soul, and a stain on the skin = a stain on the soul.
To tell someone that they smelt like a Christian, was a favourite Arab insult of the time.

These public baths were a place to bathe, chat, conduct business, have massages, shaves and beauty treatments.

The style of bath was copied from the Roman thermal baths, but on a smaller scale. There is evidence of Roman Baths in the area, when water was drawn from the River Darro. Inside this bath house are stone columns from Roman and Visogoth periods.

I visited these baths as part of the Granada Guided tour (See my tip for more info).

Our guide explained the history of the baths, and described the purpose of each different room that we passed through.
Originally, the baths would have been quite ornate, with coloured glass covering the star shaped ceiling decorations.
Ornate tiles, stucco panels etc, would have adourned the floors and walls. We were shown some marks on a wall, where a stucco panel had originally been.
The first room was for undressing, and putting on wooden platform style sandals, before entering the heated room, where impurities could be sweated out. Water from the river, was heated by fires, under the floor. Horse hair was used to scrub the body! The cold room, was where the bodies' pores closed, after which, treatments such as barbering and nail care could be carried out, while copious amounts of tea were drank.

Open Tues - Sat 10.00 - 1600
Admission Free

Address: Carrera del Darro 31
Directions: Located on Calle del Darro in the Albaicin area. opposite the Espinosa bridge.

Bus 31 and 32 stop nearby

Phone: + 34 958 02 78 00

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 20, 2007
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