This south-facing gate is opposite the medina and was built in the middle of the 14th century for military and ceremonial events. Following Boabdil’s surrender, Christian troops entered the Alhambra through this gate on the morning of 2nd January 1492.
Legend has it that Boabdil left the Alhambra through this gate as he fled Granada for the Alpujarras and that out of respect for him, the gate was then blocked off so that no one else could pass through it. It now appears, however, that it was only filled in in the mid-18th century.
It was only reopened in 1812 when Napoleonic forces attempted to blow it up. The gate was rebuilt in the 1970s.
The Puerta de los Carros is not one of the original gates but was built in the 16th century so that building materials for the construcion of the Carlos V Palace could easily be brought in to the Alhambra.
There are seven gates in total. There are four exterior gates: the south-facing Puerta de los Siete Suelos and Puerta de la Justicia, and the north-facing Puerta de las Armas and Puerta del Arrabal; and three interior gates: the Puerta del Vino (opposite the Carlos V Palace), and Puerta de Hierro. There is also an additional gate (Puerta de los Carros) which was built later.
There are two main types of gates in the Alhambra: exterior ones for defence such as the Puerta de la Justicia on the outside walls of the fortresses and interior ones to control access to different parts of the complex. As exterior gates provided points of weaknesses, they were built with right angles inside. The interior gates, meanwhile, like the Puerta del Vino, were built with benches inside on either side for the guards.