Nasrid Palaces

The Nasrid Palaces, known as Palacios Nazaries, were built in the 13th and 14th centuries by the Nasrid dynasty, 

It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984 and is now a top attraction in Alhambra Castle.

Visitors often call it a paradise on Earth for its extravagance and beauty. 

Its characteristics include perfectly proportioned rooms, detailed stucco walls, symmetrical layouts, colorful tiles, and wooden ceilings.

The palaces exhibit Moorish architecture with intricate designs, lavish detailing, gardens, and courtyards.

In Spanish, it’s called Palacios Nazaries. Muhammad V initiated their construction in the late 14th century, employing existing structures from his father Yusuf I’s earlier efforts. 

Today, the palaces offer visitors a glimpse into the luxury and artistry of Islamic architecture in Spain’s rich culture.

Highlights of the Palace Complex

The complex has three main palaces: the Mexuar, the Palace of Comares, and the Palace of the Lions.

Together, they blend ornate exteriors with intricate interior design.

They have courtyards that feature Persian and Muslim elements. Together, these symbolize paradise. 

Water, symbolizing purity and life, is also a key feature in their architecture and gardens.

Mexuar (Selamlik)

The Mexuar, an ancient room in the Nasrid Palace, was used for important meetings and legal proceedings. 

It had a raised area where the sultan sat behind lattice screens to listen without being seen. 

Designed initially with no side windows, Mexuar has a central roof that allows light in. 

A small room at the back provided views of Albaycín and served as a chapel. 

The Mexuar features ornate columns with muqarnas. Its ceiling displays Christian-style paintings and gold designs. Also, it boasts plaster friezes and intricate decorations.

Subsequent reservations added an upper floor, turning it into a chapel.

Now, the building stands as a restored piece of the palace’s history. It beautifully mixes Islamic and Christian influences.

Palace of Comares, Court of the Myrtles and Comares Tower 

The Comares Palace, also known as the Palacio de Comares, is a significant part of the Alhambra in Granada. 

Sultan Yusuf I started building it, and Mohammed V completed it. 

The Court of the Myrtles is the palace’s central part. You can enter it from the Court of the Golden Room.

The Sultan and his family lived in the Court of the Myrtles.

Comares Tower houses the Throne Hall. A rectangular courtyard is at its heart. 

It also has a central pool, with myrtle flower beds and porticos surrounding it.

This court owes its name to the myrtle plants. The unique fountain in the courtyard is designed to minimize noise. 

Water flows out forcefully, then slows down and disappears at the tip.

Palace of the Lions 

The Palace of the Lions, or Palacio de los Leones, is a leading Nasrid art piece built by Sultan Mohammed V.

It lies at the meeting point of the Baths and Court of the Myrtles in  Alhambra. The palace features a central courtyard, with galleries leading to various halls.

This palace is famous for its beauty and balance. It mixes Islamic and Christian styles, showing Mohammed V and King Pedro I’s friendship.

Visitors enjoy the shift from abstract to naturalistic designs, decoration, and architecture.

Key features include 124 marble columns around the courtyard and a fountain with twelve lions, which symbolize the tribes of Israel.

Golden Court and Room

The Golden Court and Room were vital in the Comares Palace of the Nasrid Palaces. There, 14th-century sultans met their citizens.

A single, narrow door controlled access. Inside, visitors found the Golden Room. It featured a painted wooden ceiling from the Catholic Monarchs’ era.

In the center, a replica of the Lindaraja fountain stood. The court had a portico with three arches. It led to the Comares Palace’s private area.

The sultan used the courtyard for special audiences. Guards would form a protective line, keeping visitors from the sultan.

Hall of the Boat

The Hall of the Boat, named “al-Baraka” for “blessing” in Arabic, was a place of divine help. The sultan used it before his coronation in the nearby Comares Hall. 

Each room’s entrance had “taqas,” which were detailed decorative elements.

Hall of the Throne

The Hall of the Throne, or the Comares or Ambassadors’ Hall, stands out with its “qamriyya” stained-glass windows. 

The ceiling features Islamic carpentry. It depicts a soul’s journey through seven skies to God’s Throne. 

Additionally, the viewpoint of the Wrought Iron Grille offers a breathtaking view of the Albaicín district. 

It overlooks the court of the same name and has a protected balcony.

Emperor Charles V Rooms

The Rooms of Emperor Charles V, constructed in 1528 for his residence within the Alhambra, include the Hall of the Fruits. Writer Washington Irving once stayed here.

Hall of the Kings

The Hall of the Kings has three sections. Each one has paintings on its vaulted ceilings.

First, the central area shows a painting of ten Alhambra kings. Then, the side rooms display images of men and Christian ladies. 

These paintings symbolize the kingdom’s relationships with neighboring kingdoms.

Hall of the Two Sisters

The Hall of the Two Sisters gets its name from two marble tiles on the floor. It was the sultana’s home and had a fountain. This fountain’s channel led to the Court of the Lions.

The dome, designed with muqarnas, looks like a flower. This design helps to bring in natural light.

Hall of the Abencerrajes

The Hall of the Abencerrajes was once the king’s bedroom. It has two sections, a bedroom and a living area, and it mixes luxury and tragedy.

A tragic event occurred here: the sultan, enraged by accusations of adultery, beheaded 32 Abencerrajes men over the room’s fountain. 

This dark act stains the room’s history, telling a story of betrayal and vengeance. 

History

The Nasrid Palaces, commissioned by Muhammad V in the late 14th century, were initially constructed by his father, Yusuf I, starting in 1335. 

Due to its varying construction periods, the palace complex showcases different architectural styles. 

The Palace of Comares has Muslim designs, while the Palace of the Lions has Christian touches.

After the reconquest, both palaces underwent changes and repairs. Carlos V added rooms and built the New Royal House.

The Nasrid Palaces were the homes of Granada’s kings. They represented the style of Al Andalus’ Nasrid rulers.

Opening Hours

The Nasrid Palaces are open for visits both day and night.

In summer, it opens at 8.30 am and closes at 8 pm from 1 April to 14 October.

The hours in winter are 8.30 am to 6 pm from 15 October to 31 March.

The ticket office opens at 8 am daily, like Alhambra Castle’s hours.

You can tour the palaces at night during the summer months (1 April to 14 October) from Tuesday through Saturday, between 10 pm and 11.30 pm.

And between 8 pm and 9.30 pm during the winter months (15 October to 31 March), keep in mind that there are no night tours on Sundays and Mondays.

April 1 to October 14Day VisitEvening Visit
Monday-SundayTuesday-Saturday
Hours8.30 am – 8 pm10 pm – 11.30 pm
Ticket Office Hours8 am – 8 pm9 pm – 10.45 pm
October 15 to March 31Monday-SundayFriday & Saturday
Hours8.30 am – 6 pm10 pm – 11.30 pm
Ticket Office Hours8 am – 6 pm9 pm – 10.45 pm

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Nasrid Palaces at Alhambra is during the first reservation of the day, around 8.30 am.

You’ll enjoy the beautiful morning light and avoid crowds and heat. 

Morning visits also offer great photo opportunities. Try to avoid midday as it’s usually the busiest and hottest. 

On the other hand, evening visits offer sunset views and a romantic atmosphere with glowing lights, making them perfect for couples.

Overall, both day and night visits provide different experiences—natural light during the day and a romantic mood with the play of light and shadow at night. 

Many people prefer both experiences to appreciate the palace’s beauty properly.

Tickets 

You can visit the Nasrid Palaces in Granada with different ticket options, such as basic entry tickets, skip-the-line passes with guided tours, day trips, and private tours. 

For an economical exploration, you can choose the entry ticket for Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces starting at €25.

It has access to Alhambra Fortress, Palace of Charles V, Partal, Alhambra Museum and Generalife Gardens.

Another option is to opt for a skip-the-line ticket with a guided tour. 

This will allow you to glide past queues, learn the palace’s intricate details and listen to stories from your guide. 

You can also choose a full-day trip to Granada with transportation and an official guide to unveil the site’s rich history and legends. 

When traveling with a group, you can select a private tour ticket to explore the palace complex with a dedicated guide who will personally share information about the castle and its history. 

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FAQs

  1. What are the three main parts of the Nasrid Palaces?

    The Nasrid Palaces in Granada have three main parts: the Mexuar for public functions, the Comares Palace as the king’s home, and the Palace of the Lions for private use.

    Each area served a unique purpose, reflecting the complex’s architectural and historical richness.

  2. Who lived in the Nasrid Palaces?

    The Nasrid Palaces were home to the rulers of the Nasrid dynasty, the last Muslim rulers of Spain, from the 13th to the 15th centuries

    These rulers, their families, and courts lived in the luxurious and intricately decorated palaces of Granada’s Alhambra complex.

  3. What is the story of the Nasrid Palaces?

    Built by the Nasrid dynasty, the Nasrid Palaces showcase their wealth and power through intricate Islamic art, including mosaics and decorative tiles.

Harshita
About the author

Harshitha’s heart lies where greeny mountains meet stretches of beach. She believes getting lost is the best way to explore

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