Work began last summer at a bar in Seville, southern Spain, illuminating a perfectly preserved 12th-century hammam. Guests can now enjoy a drink while admiring Islamic paintings and motifs.
The star-shaped porthole appeared after the first hammer blows. Alvaro Jimenez, the archaeologist assigned to help start work on this protected area due to its proximity to Seville Cathedral, said he did not expect this “at all”.
This was followed by 87 lighthouses, stars, and other eights drawing a starry sky at this Arabic-style bar called Giralda – like the old minaret of the Seville Mosque – which has been undergoing a renovation.
After the amazement and “smut words” of Alvaro Jimenez, workers discovered many paintings in this 202-square-meter room and a bathroom with a cold room, and a lukewarm and hot room.
More than 800 years of thermal baths whose paintings, sculptures and wall decorations were frozen in time thanks to the architect at the beginning of the 20th century, Vicente Traver, who concealed these decorations and skylights in 1928, when he built two more floors.
This legacy “we thought he destroyed it, and we must realize that he saved it,” Alvaro Jimenez continues. “Find it and save it for the future.”
In the twelfth century, the Almohads conquered Seville in 1147, and it was one of two capitals of their empire, along with Marrakesh.
“The Cathedral of Seville was built on the ruins of the Al-Mouhad Mosque, built between 1172 and 1198,” and “These baths are located directly in this area of the city that the Almohads made monumental and transformed it into a political, religious and economic center,” recalls Alvaro Jimenez.
Above the mosaics already in place before the restoration now show decorated walls, carved white vaults.
The bar, which should reopen soon, has become a living museum, completely rebuilt in a refined style, highlighting the history of the place and where customers can rejuvenate themselves, as we already did in another way eight centuries ago.