A Carmen is a traditional villa from Granada. These villas are usually located in the historic districts of Granada and are related to the holiday villas of the Arabs. They had these properties in the surroundings of the city during the Al-Andalus period. Nowadays, these villas are domestic gardens that maintain their traditional function as pleasant retreats for its owners.
University of Granada acquired Carmen de la Victoria in 1945. As mentioned previously, it stands in an area in which there are still villas from Arab times. This area is in Albayzín Hill in the Arab suburb previously known as Axaris. This district bordered the city and during Arab times it was already full of orchards, villas and gardens.
The present-day Carmen dates back to the last century. It was created after the demolition of the namesake convent because part of the land of the Carmen was linked to the convent land. Therefore, the Carmen is the product of merging the original Carmen de la Victoria-Huerto del Olivarillo with Carmen del Pencal. The Arab wall called Muralla del Chapiz separated the two buildings and the wall trail can still be observed in the gardens. Several houses and part of some streets joined to these two villas in order to form the terraced gardens that surround this residence.
This villa is the only public Carmen that keeps its original purpose as garden-villa. At first, this Carmen was the residence of Moroccan students of the School of Arabic Studies. Thereafter, it was a residence hall and nowadays is the University of Granada’s Guests Residence, open for all University members.
Despite the enlargement of the buildings throughout the time, the gardens have not changed in over a hundred years. This is the reason why this Carmen is one of the best-preserved villas, maintaining the traditional gardens of Granada from the 19th century.