When one mentions Granada, Spain the conversation usually centres around the magnificent Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, Yes these sights are historically significant and nothing short of must-see locations on any visit to Granada. Let me tell you there is more to Granada than the Alhambra. While walking along the Paseo de los Tristes (The Promenade of the Sad Ones) we came across Palacio De Los Olvidados. A Granada museum dedicated to the Spanish Inquisition instruments of torture.
This quirky Granada Museum is worth a look
For those that don’t know about the Spanish Inquisition, let us dive into a little history. In 1478 Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile asked the Pope for permission to cleanse Spain through an Inquisition. The main aim of the Inquisition was to punish, torture and execute Jews and later Muslims who had converted to Christianity but who were insincere about their new religion. People could be accused by the general population in a campaign of hearsay. If the person admitted to any wrongdoings and turned in other wrongdoers, they would be let out of jail or given a short prison sentence. However, if they refused to cooperate, then they would be either tortured, publicly executed or sentenced to life imprisonment.
Visiting a museum such as this is always requires thought when you have children along with you. What will the children see, how will the children react, is it educational and will it be a beneficial experience for them. We came to the opinion that its part of the history of Spain and travelling is learning. We are big on our kids knowing the history of places we visit. In saying this know your own kids and make the decision regarding what you want them to see, read and how comfortable you will be answering their questions about this Granada Museum.
The Spanish Inquisition Tortures Museum was not big by any standards just a few rooms with the torture devices, illustrations and descriptions in both English and Spanish. I must say the English translations were a bit skewiff in parts but you could certainly understand the history of these devices and their uses. There were some sick minds out there in the medieval days that designed these devices and the fact that it was a form of entertainment for the masses to watch the Spanish Inquisition tortures happen is unimaginable.
Let the torture begin
Below you will find some of the devices that they have on display in the Granada museum.
Torture Item: The Judas Cradle
Use: The victim would be stripped, bound with ropes. To ramp up the fear they would be suspended above the device. They would then be lowered, usually very slowly, onto the device, making the pyramid pierce the bodies openings. The amount of pain the device inflicted can be varied in different ways. The victim could be rocked, they could be dropped repeatedly onto the device. Legs could be lifted, olive oil could be spread on the pyramid. brass weights could be hung from the victim’s legs to add weight.
Torture Item: The Brazen Bull
Use: The victim was placed inside the brazen bull, a fire was lit underneath the metal bull to basically slow roast the victim to death. This was invented by the Greeks. The device gradually became more sophisticated with modifications added through time such as a complex system of tubes in order to make the victim’s screams sound more like an infuriated bull. It also made it so the smoke from it rose in clouds that came out of the bull’s nostrils. The victim screamed, suffered and ultimately died of the extreme heat.
Torture Item: The Iron Maiden
Use: The Iron Maiden is a German invention originating in Nuremberg. It was used to punish those who were not loyal to the king. It was also used to intimidate future wrongdoers. The prisoner would be locked into the coffin and made to stand on the grated bottom and spike-covered interior, sufficiently tall to enclose a human being. The Iron maiden would piece the body of its victims. The Chinese Iron Maiden, on the other hand, would enclose the victims and a fire would be lit underneath it. This would slowly steam the victims to death.
Torture Item: The Coffin Torture
Use: The victim was placed inside a metal cage roughly made in the shape of the human body. Much like a birdcage for humans. Torturers could force overweight victims into a smaller device, or even make the “coffin” slightly larger than a victim’s body to make him more uncomfortable. The cage was frequently hung from a tree in a prominent place to warn others of what could happen to them. The victim was placed under the sun to suffer from heat stroke. This allowed birds or animals to eat his or her flesh. Onlookers would throw rocks and other objects to further increase the pain and humiliation.
Torture Item: Guillotine
Use: One of the most notorious forms of executions, the guillotine was made of a razor sharp blade attached to a rope. The victim’s head was placed in the middle of the frame as the blade dropped, severing the victim’s head from the body. Since the decapitation was considered to be an instant and painless event (at least less painful than the other torture methods), it was often considered the most humane method of execution.
Torture Items: spikes and instruments of Spanish Inquisition tortures
Items such as the breast ripper, tongue tearer, pear of anguish, the Heretics Folk just to name a few of the small devices on display. Don’t be fooled into thinking only the large well know devices killed, mutilated and tortured people.
Where did we stay in Granada
We stayed at Hostal Atenas. Located a few hundred from the Granada Cathedral and the Albaicín. The Alhambra can be reached by foot in under 20 minutes. Hostal Atenas has a 24-hour reception with a tour desk. Amazing food options for breakfast lunch and tea can be found in all directions. We loved our stay and would be happy to stay at Atenas again
For more information and updated prices at Hostal Atenas click HERE
For more Granada accommodation option search HERE
How to get Granada Spain
- Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport is located 15km west of Granada Spain
- Granada-Jaen Airport is serviced by Iberia, EasyJet, Vueling, BA Cityflyer and Air Europe.
- Airports transfers are available from the airport to Granada and surrounding areas. Find out more HERE
- Pick up your rental car with AutoEurope at the airport
- We travelled on the Bus from Madrid to Granada. We used Budbud to book our tickets. Estacion de autobuses Granada is in the newer part of Granada. We also left Granada for Seville by bus.
- Book your train tickets from across Europe to Granda HERE
We enjoyed our time at this Granada Museum. If your looking for things to do in Granada the Inquisition museum will educate you and intrigue you with its displays and descriptions. Any tour of Andalucia should include a stop in Granada Spain.
For more great content on Granada from Wyld family Travel please click the images to read the articles