In my Alhambra Part 1 post I shared the beauty and magnificence of Generalife Gardens, one of four sites to visit in the ancient fortress of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. But the crown jewel of the complex is the Palace Nazare, also known as the Nasrid Palace, as it represents perhaps the finest Islamic architecture in all of Europe.
The Nasrids were the last remaining Muslim dynasty on the Iberian Peninsula and were responsible for the construction of the Palace Nazare, although many reconstructions and alterations were made over time by later Spanish royalty. In fact, the Royal Palace is actually a number of palaces built together, each with differently decorated and designed rooms and courtyards that were used by the Muslim rulers for various purposes.
Be sure to rent audioguides or take a guided tour so that you can learn and fully appreciate the delicate stonework, frescoes, tilework, exquisite art, and history of the grandest and most visited site in Spain. It is a truly fascinating cultural experience.
The first series of rooms you will enter in the Royal Palace is the Mexuar where the Sultan met with his ministers and the public. There are lovely views of the city below from here.
Next is the Mudéjar style Golden Room, with its beautiful three-arched portico, where the 14th century Sultan made his important military decisions and the officials and secretaries of the Muslim court took their orders.
|At the entrance to the Golden Room.|
Opposite the Golden Room is the entrance to the Serallo and its various rooms and courtyards. The Serallo was the official residence of the Sultan and its rooms surround the Patio of the Myrtles with its large reflecting pool.
|The Patio of the Myrtles, facing south.|
|The Patio of the Myrtles, facing north, to the Comares Tower.|
|The majestic façade of Comares, opposite the Golden Room.|
Notice the woodwork in the eaves.
At the north end of the Patio of the Myrtles, inside the Comares Tower, lies the luxuriously decorated Chamber of the Ambassadors, also known as the Throne Room, the largest room in the Nasrid Palace. The walls of this room are completely covered with artwork of tile, geometric plasterwork, and inscriptions, and the ceiling is a stunning wooden dome symbolizing the seven heavens.
|Chamber of the Ambassadors.|
|No water in the fountain when we visited -|
My favorite part of the Royal Palace is the Court of the Lions, named after its central fountain with twelve lions, built during the 14th century reign of Muhammad V. The fountain and courtyard are surrounded by an exquisite arched gallery supported by 124 marble columns of the finest Moorish artistic style. The Sultan's harem was housed in the rooms around this courtyard.
You will exit the Royal Palace through the Court of the Lindaraja but there is still so much to see.
|The Court of the Lindaraja.|
After walking outside a landscaped path you come to the Partal Palace and its gardens. The palace's portico, pavilion, five arches, and tower are the oldest (1302 - 1309) structure of the Alhambra.
|Partal Palace and its reflecting pool.|
St. Mary's Church of the Alhambra lies along the same path (which used to be the Royal Road to and from the Nasrid Palace) and was built in the 17th century on the site of the Alhambra's Great Mosque. Visit inside to view the outstanding Baroque altarpiece and several Spanish works of art. Then easily spend another leisurely hour strolling the stunning grounds.