Although this place seems to be a weapon museum, that is not true. It takes its name from the artillery pieces that still stand on its battlements. Some muskets can be seen protruding from the top of the building, but these are the only weapons in the building. In fact, the Shooting House is full of paintings, ceramics, and some objects that constitute a review of the history and culture of this Andalusian city.
This building was built in order to be a house, quite similar to the palace of this city in the 16th century. Probably it was built between 1530 and 1540, when became part of the wall of the ‘Los Alfareros’ quarter, which is why the building has the fortified appearance that it still has today.
The first owner of the building was the Granada-Venegas family, descendants of the royal Nasrid family. Once the Catholic Monarchs arrived in the city, the family had to convert to Christianity. However, in spite of the Christianity, this family could remain its power thanks to their marriages with members of the new Christian elite. Then, in 1929, this house was owned by the Estate due to a lawsuit with the descendants of the Granada-Venegas family, the Marquises of Campotéjar.
The external appearance of the building is based on a plain façade of earthy colours, built in ashlar. There are five sculptures, three at the top and two just below the balconies which are very representative. They are the images of Hercules, Theseus, Mercury, Jason and Hector, looking defiantly at each other.
Just above the façade, there is also a sword carved into the stone pierces a heart. Next to the relief is a phrase: ‘He rules’ (referring to the heart). This is the coat of arms and family motto of the Granada-Venegas family, the full phrase is: ‘The heart rules! People of war, exercise arms. The heart breaks like a knocker calling us to battle and knockers are those that God gives and the heart feels.’
Inside the building there are many rooms. Its interior courtyard, in the Muslim style, still preserves the original Nasrid columns. On the other hand, nowadays, the garden is closed to the public and it is opened just in some special events. It has a pond and a fountain, with trees such as orange and cypress trees and some sculptures. There are also some stairs, a little one of the 16th century and a newer one of the 18th century.
However, the most important room is undoubtedly the one known as the ‘Cuadra Dorada’, whose ceiling of carved and polychrome wood stands out. The Catholic Monarchs, Alfonso V and Carlos I are some of the figures that are represented and embedded in a set of beams crossed by the sword embedded in the heart, which is the family emblem.
It is necessary to mention that the museum consists of 12 rooms based on the culture and traditions of Granada. In the first room, there are different graphics and literally representations which shows different views of the city. The second and the third ones have many orientalist pieces, an artistic trend inspired by the Alhambra, which is very significant for this city.
The fourth room, known as ‘Los viajeros (The travellers)’, has different representations of Granada during the end of the 19th century, when it becomes as a must destination of the Romanticism period. The fifth and sixth rooms, meanwhile, present a sample of Granada’s craftsmanship, and the seventh room exhibits the more traditional side of Granada. All of this is on the first floor of the building.
In the ground floor, there are the rest of rooms. The ninth room is known as ‘sala Isabelina’ and it is an example of a room of that period. The tenth one is dedicated to a woman of Granada, the eleventh one shows the historical evolution of the city through the press and, finally, the twelfth room, the festival room, is a clear example of Granada’s most famous festivals, especially Corpus Christi.
Although this museum is not so popular in Granada, it should be considered a must, specially for those who want to learn more about the history of the city. Its collection accessible free to all residents of the European Union is opened from Tuesday to Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays and bank holidays from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. There is no doubt, that this building is still a treasure to be discovered.