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Al-Munyat al-Na‘ura, Toledo

 
Catalogue
Andalusian Gardens
City
Toledo
Country
Spain
Dates
ca. 1050 17th century
Authors
Antonio Almagro;
Luis Ramón-Laca

Description

Al-Munyat al-Na‘ura (Waterwheel Orchard), also known as the Huerta del Rey (King’s Orchard), is one of several orchards around the walls of Toledo known from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the seventeenth century. This is where al-Ma’mun b. Di l-Nun (1043–1075) had his estate, now usually known as the Palacio de Galiana and undoubtedly corresponding to an old Muslim palace. According to Ibn Sa‘id, “in this beautiful place there was a luxurious vaulted pavilion built by the King of Toledo.” Other authors mention a pavilion of colored glass embellished with gold on an island within a pool in the garden.

In 1084, Alphonse VI of Castile occupied the King’s Orchard and established himself in this Muslim palace. In 1090, the Almoravids felled all the trees in the valley and, in 1110, devastated the orchard and destroyed the palace. It was again sacked in 1196 by the Almohads at the command of the sultan of Seville, Ya’qub al-Mansur. The palace was restored in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, but was abandoned in 1525 when Andrea Navagero saw it. However, he described the King’s Orchard as a plain irrigated by river waterwheels and full of trees and fruits, “with everything farmed and made orchards” (Viaje, 25–26). In the mid-sixteenth century, many orchards and groves were still to be found in the Tagus valley, and there were two large, beautiful woods with “plenty of refreshments and fruit-trees” (Medina, Libro de grandezas, 87). Two river waterwheels are seen in the view of Toledo drawn in 1563 by Anton Van den Wyngaerde, one of which seems to be placed exactly in front of the palace. At the end of the seventeenth century, there were still several waterwheels in the Huerta del Rey: one called de Raçaçu, another called de la Alberca, one known as de la Islilla, those in the Palacio de Galiana, and one in the orchard of Laytique. In the nineteenth century, Gautier recorded an animal-drawn waterwheel in a group of trees close to the Palacio de Galiana.

The palace was restored in the 1950s under the supervision of Fernando Chueca Goitia and Manuel Gómez Moreno.

 


Théophile Gautier, Viaje por España, 230–31.

Richard Kagan, Spanish Cities, 132–34.

Francisco de Pisa, Descripción de la Imperial Ciudad de Toledo, 25.

 

 

Sources

  • Court Chronicle, 11th century
  • Archaeological Analysis, 19th and 20th centuries
  • Travel Account, 16th, 17th, and 19th centuries