The Charles V fountain, Pilar de Carlos V, is a structure that reflects the conqueror’s desire to Christianise the Nasrid city emphasising its importance as an imperial city. It was designed by Pedro Machuca on the orders of Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, third count of Tendilla and the second marquis of Mondéjar, and it was built in 1545 under the mandate of the third marquis of Mondejar, Iñigo Hurtado de Mendoza.
The fountain rests on a large five-section wall divided by Renaissance pillars, three of which take up the frontispiece of the great pillar.
Charles V fountain sections
The first section with three nozzles or pipes carved with human heads representing Granada’s the three rivers: Genil, Darro and Beiro; although there are those who say that these represent the seasons symbolised by the decorative vegetation: the ears of Summer, flowers of Spring and grapes of Autumn which are baroque additions. At the sides the coat of arms of the House of Mendonza is featured.
The second section is centred by a cartouche where one can read in Latin “Imperatori Caesari Carolo Quinto Hispaniarum regi” (Emperor and Caesar Charles V, king of the Spanish).
A curved pediment rounds off the frontispiece with the imperial crest.