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Friday, October 2 • 09:00 - 10:00
Keynote - María Del Mar Villafranca Jiménez

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The Restoration of the Fountain of the Lions as a Knowledge Process

This important Congress is an opportunity to present in such a highly qualified forum a brief summary of the process of restoration of the Fountain and the Court of the Lions of the Alhambra.

The conservation and restoration of this important monument, the only surviving mediaeval Islamic palace, is grounded on a well-established tradition based around the following aspects:

  • Preventive conservation.
  • Maintenance of its materials and structures.
  • Conservation projects.
  • Restoration processes.
  • Maintenance protocols.

The general criteria that must be borne in mind are the values of authenticity and integrity, which form part of the commitment accepted by the Council of the Alhambra, as befits a place that has been a World Heritage Site since 1984. Restoration is a scientific process over a series of stages including:

  • Preliminary studies/reports.
  • Analyses of different kinds.
  • Suitable, reversible restoration work.
  • Respect for International Rules and Charters.

The restoration of the Fountain of the Lions was conceived as a coherent methodological process aimed at broadening our KNOWLEDGE of the fountain and its surrounding constructions.

  • The Fountain and the Court of the Lions are the best-known, most widely-recognized and most symbolic features of the Alhambra because of their unique qualities.
  • We were faced with the challenge of assessing the feasibility of restoring the whole or most of the Fountain in situ without sacrificing any of its authenticity and integrity.
  • Another important challenge was that the work had to be performed without closing off the space to the public. We wanted to try to make visitors understand both the need to conserve our heritage and on occasions to feel part of a historical process. A key element in this phase was a communication strategy to provide updated information on each phase of the process. The guides that show visitors around the monument were given training courses to enable them to explain the work that was taking place and were informed about new details and discoveries. Three educational exhibitions were organized to complete and present the knowledge acquired during the process. New contents were added to the website and a documentary film was made covering all the different phases of the intervention, all of them made whith tecnological resources.

The Fountain of the Lions is in the Al-Qasr al Sultan, the Royal House of the Sultans from the Nasrid dynasty. It was commissioned by the Sultan Muhammad V (during his second reign between 1362 and 1391). The Fountain is the central feature of the rectangular courtyard, which is organized into two terraces at different levels. Two pavilions jut out into the courtyard from the narrower sides, and a number of rooms are laid out around it. It is made of white marble quarried in Macael in Almeria.

The Fountain consists of 12 lion figures arranged in a circle. Resting on their backs is a large dodecagonal basin with a diameter of 2.52 m. The basin has a water spout in the centre and is decorated with epigraphic, geometric and plant motifs. It sits on a cylindrical stand made of limestone.

The water spout has eight jet-holes arranged in a circle from which the water spurts out. Just below, there are eight drainage holes, which allow the basin to fill without ever brimming over so achieving a smooth balance. The circuit is also connected with the Lions. Water jets out of their mouths and is then collected in the channels in the courtyard.

avatar for María Del Mar Villafranca Jiménez

María Del Mar Villafranca Jiménez

Former Director of the Council of the Alhambra and Generalife, Junta de Andalucía
Maria del Mar Villafranca Jiménez studied History of Art in Granada University in 1984. Her specialist researches of heritage was manifested in her Doctoral Thesis dedicated to the origin and History of the Granada's museums. She is a cultural management and museology expert. From... Read More →

Friday October 2, 2015 09:00 - 10:00 CEST
Parque de las Ciencias - Auditorio Avenida de la Ciencia, s/n, 18006 Granada

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