The Lonja is an open civil building established by the Granada City Council in 1518, and designed for banking and commercial transactions: it was the contracting office, and the bank for the silk business of Granada, the best silk in the world according to the German traveller Münzer. It was built with stone from Alfacar, a small town close to Granada. In the lower arches, hang shields of the city, and in the higher arches there are flamboyant parapets decorated with the Catholic Kings’ emblems. Early ornaments in the new «Roman» style contrast with the predominant Gothic appearance of the building.
In the angle formed between the Royal Chapel and the Tabernacle the building is erected on the stands’ remains. It is divided into two tiers of galleries, the lower arches being rounded, the upper segmented. These arches rest on twisted columns decorated with balls studding them.
The lower floor is decorated with wall paintings, portraits of the Catholic Kings, and The Surrender of Granada, a copy of the painting by the 19th century artist Francisco Pradilla. Among other furnishings, there are two hand litters which were used to administer communion to sick people.
THE MAIN DOOR
The Lonja Main Door, work by García de Pradas (1521), contains arches with horizontal surfaces, and slender baluster columns, and a peculiar plant-shaped triangular end. On the frieze the visitor can see an inscription in Gothic characters, saying:
«…DON ANTONIO DE LA CUEVA GENTLEMAN OF THE GOLDEN GRANADA ORDAINED TO BUILD.»
D. Antonio de la Cueva was Mayor of the city of Granada for six years, from 1516 to 1522.
The woodworks used to cover both floors are remarkable. In the lower tier, there is a magnificent coffered ceiling in the purest classic style, made up with a succession of octagonal coffers with chiseled inclination; work by Francisco Hernández.
The upper tier is covered by a rectangular armor with eight-angled ends. Its central point is filled with eight-shaped lines and ceiling roses linked together, leading toward the centre to two cavities prepared to contain groups of adornments that were unfinished.