In the Muslim period this area between the Alcazaba and the palace area was taken up by a large square and a drop off with a tower.
It is the space where the whole urban structure of the Alhambra was organised; here is network that was used to organise the medina. From the square you could choose which path you wished to take: enter the palace of Comares via the first courtyard, the palace of La Madraza de los Príncipes, or go via the ramparts of the lower wall to the Palace of Comares, in a subterranean passage, until the tower of the Peinador de la Reina in the Palacio de los Leones, or finally go up, after passing through another gate via Calle Real to the Puerta del Vino to enter the medina.
A rectangular great aljibe (cistern) with two naves was built into area beside the drop between 1492 and 1494 by the count of Tendilla, so the Alhambra could withstand a hypothetical siege of the large and majority Arabic Granada population in the Medina and the Albaycin. That is why today it is called the Plaza de los Aljibes (Square of the Cisterns).
Each nave was covered with a vault, measuring 34 metres long, 6 metres wide and 8 metres high. The cistern has eight access points but with only one of them is open where the famous well of the cistern of the Alhambra is, where the water carriers went as told by Washington Irving in his “Tales of the Alhambra”.
It happened in the Cistern Square
In 1922 the first “Cante Jondo Competition” took place, organised by Granada intellectuals, among them the poet Federico García Lorca and the music composer Manuel de Falla, as recalled on the plaque placed there in 1976 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the festival.
In the period of French domination, between 1810 and 1812 a new route to the Alcazaba was created for artillery on the southern wall. A commemorative plaque was placed on this route recalling the feat of the spanish soldier José García, a disabled corporal, who, by putting his own life at risk, saved a part of the southern wall, the Puerta de la Justicia, the Alcazaba and the Alcázares from the blasts ordered by the French General Sebastiani when he withdrew from the Alhambra. Unfortunately the whole southern part was blown up, from Torre del Agua until Torre del Palacio de Los Abencerrajes.