The millions of tourists who visit the Alhambra and the Generalife each year, and the protection and conservation requirements of this exceptional heritage site are serious considerations whenever work needs to be carried out. This is no different in the case of the renovation works being carried out by the Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife Conservation Service on the Casa de la Estafeta, or post office, which is now also to house the site’s visitor information office.
According to Francisco Lamolda, PAG’s architecture curator, works began in May and are slated for completion in early 2013. Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife is also in talks with representatives from the Spanish postal service to ensure that the mail service is resumed in the same location. This would mean not only maintaining the building’s historical use but also serving the needs of the many thousands of visitors who like to send postcards to their families and friends around the world.
The Casa de la Estafeta, in the Plaza de los Carros, opposite the Palace of Carlos V, was used as a gardeners’ residence up until 1928, when it was given new life by being situated at the front of a newly-created square. This was also most probably when it attained its current aspect, with the upper floor being replaced by the lookout tower it boasts today.
The building was first used as a post office in 1960, when it was awarded the mail service by order of Directorate General for Post and Telecommunications. This is where it gets its name, Casa de la Estafeta, although it has also had other uses, including as a Red Cross post in 1987 and as a Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife gift and bookshop from 1989 until 2010.
Also of historical interest are the post office’s two mailboxes. Cast in green bronze, in the form of two lions’ heads, they were moved to their current location from the old post office on Gran Via on the suggestion of Granadan academic Antonio Gallego Morell, and will be maintained on the façade after the renovation works are completed.