Comares Palace in the Alhambra Granada Andalucia Spain

Make sure you keep your eyes down if you are to succeeded in navigating the three steps to one of the Comares Palace’s door.

Many have fallen over these in amazement of its beauty. Best to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. The Comares Palace is a sight to behold. It was the centre of all political activity in the Alhambra. All were drawn to it like moths to a flame.

Everything here revolves around the Courtyard of the Myrtles with its long pond. The Palace was built during the peak of Nasrid culture by Yusuf I and Mohammed V in the first half of the XIVth Century.


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We strongly recommend taking your time when visiting the Comares Palace. There is a lot to see. Apart from the Courtyard of the Myrtles, the Hall of the Boat and the Hall of the Ambassadors should be your next stops followed by the Bath House.

As you leave the Mexuar Palace, you step into a large open space sealed off by two galleries, in the centre of which is a long pond. Time seems to stop here as the Comares Tower shimmers in the water.

Courtyard of the Myrtles

Courtyard of the Myrtles or Court of the Blessing was named thanks to the multitude of goldfish swimming in it. It measures over 40 metres or 140 feet in length. The galleries were built to enclose it as a private courtyard, and the hedges on each side amplify this desire. All along the edges of the walls rising to a height of above 4 to 5 feet is alicatado tiling, whose style is remarkable for its lively colours and repetitive forms.

Picture of the Courtyard of the Myrtles

The building on the courtyard’s east and west sides all have two floors and lead to small rooms. The best place to take a picture is from the south gallery. Everything just comes together here there are even chairs available for you to sit and admire. The south gallery has three floors; its lower one is made of three arches, the middle of which is higher than the others, while the second floor was used by women to watch the events in the courtyard and the third floor enclosed a long room. The pond functions as a mirror reflecting the galleries on each other, because each one closely resembles its brother. Destroyed by fire in 1890 but carefully restored, the north gallery opens unto the Hall of the Boat or Sala de la Barca. Its wooden ceiling is a masterpiece of woodwork. Look carefully at the verses written on the walls for all the symbols they contain.


The south gallery is where cues of people line up to take pictures

The north gallery is the first step into the Comares Tower, the seat of power. The sultan ruled from here. Its rooms and walls emphasize this purpose. The Hall of the Boat is the last room before entering the Hall of the Ambassadors, which was the throne room. The term ‘boat’ alludes to a ship being here, but naval fans are sure to be disappointed. The wooden ceiling is in the shape of a boat. Alcoves guard its sides, above which are arches that are gorgeously decorated and gilded. Small niches were carved into them containing drinking water. Marble slabs carry you further.

Any visitor coming into the Hall of the Ambassadors would have easily been seen by the sultan sitting in the central alcove on the north wall, but they would have difficulty seeing him. The effect was deliberate and meant to impose fear and respect. Gilded in gold, this room is the largest in the whole complex; it is perfectly square with sides of 12 metres or 37 feet long. Each side has 5 windows and three alcoves. The clear and vivid colours of the tiling and stained glass were elements of power as they emphasized who sat in this room and why. Enter the room when it is a beautiful sunny day, as the light would bounce around the room. Arabesques, epigraphs and stucco populate corners and edges. Made of over 8000 individually carved pieces of wood in 7 concentric circles, its ceiling is breathtaking. Covered in blue, gold and white circles, crowns and stars, each circle represents one of the Islamic heavens. The dome is 23 metres of 75 feet high


The first door on the eastern door leads to the Bath House. How often have you heard or read that a major decision was unexpectedly made in a room not designed for political purposes? Well, the Bath House is a wonderful example. Bathing was central to Islam, because one had to wash prior to doing many things, the most important of which could be touching the Koran. Anyone familiar with Ancient Roman baths will recognize them here. There are multiple rooms, each one designed for a different stage of the bathing process. Lantern windows pepper the ceilings and walls to air the room and control temperature. The walls have deep blue, green and red coloured tiling.


A small historical digression: you are walking in the steps of Christopher Columbus. This is where he was granted his request to sail to the New World. The Comares Tower has five floors; the third one contains the private rooms of the sultan with a clear view of the Alhambra and the countryside. The tower’s red roof is easily visible from above if you are able to fly over the Alhambra.