These Moorish houses were built in the 14th century. Inside there is a mural which was painted in the first half of the 14th century and which is important as being the only figurative Nasrid painting conserved in situ. The painting was discovered in 1908 when plaster was stripped away and provides important information about daily life during the days of the Nasrid dynasty.
This is now taken up with souvenir shops but it was once a great bazaar where silk was made and sold. Alcaicería literally means either the “house of Caesar” or “belonging to Caesar” in recognition of the fact that Emperor Justinian granted the Moors permission to sell silk. Traditionally these bazaars were situated in the centre of a city, with inns where the merchants could stay, and with gates at all the entrances to guard against looting and which were closed at night. The narrow streets inside were then patrolled by watchmen.
On the night of the 19th July 1843, a fire broke out in one of the shops making matches in nearby Calle Mesones and consequently the entire original bazaar burned down. It was soon rebuilt but never regained its importance as a bazaar.