Online Encyclopedia

ALHAMA DE GRANADA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 656 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALHAMA DE GRANADA, a town of southern Spain, in the province of Granada, 24 M. S.W. of Granada. Pop. (1900) 7679. Alhama is finely situated on a ledge of rock which overlooks a deep gorge traversed by the river Marchan or Alhama; while the rugged peaks of the Sierra de Alhama rise behind it to a height of 6800 ft. The town is largely modern; for over one thousand of its picturesque old Moorish houses, which formerly rose in terraces up the mountain side, were destroyed, together with five churches, the hospital, the theatre, the prison, and 800 of the inhabitants, in an earthquake which took place in 1884. Subscriptions were received from all parts of Spain, and the present town was built at a little distance from its predecessor. Few vestiges of antiquity survived, except the baths from which Alhama (in Arabic " the Bath ") derives its name. These are situated near the river, and appear to have been used continuously since Roman times (c. 19 B.C.—A.D. 409). The temperature of the hot sulphurous springs is about 112° F.; and, as the waters are considered beneficial in cases of rheumatism and dyspepsia, many visitors come to Alhama in spring and autumn, attracted also by the fine scenery of the district. In the 15th century Alhama, and the neighbouring fortress of Loja (q.v.), were generally regarded as the keys of the kingdom of Granada, and their capture went far to insure the overthrow of the Moorish power. Alhama was taken by the Spanish marquis of Cadiz in 1482; and its fall is celebrated in an ancient ballad, Ay de mi, Alhama, which Byron translated into English.
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