Mexuar Palace - Granada Andalucia

Historical records tell us that there were 7 Moorish palaces in the Alhambra, although time has taken four of them from us.

Thus, we will have to be satisfied with the three that remain, but what a beautiful trio they make. The modern visitor will litterally be stunned and amazed at what is all around them.

When you exit the Puerto del Vino, you will need to turn left and walk across the front of Charles V Palace towards the entrance of the Mexuar Palace, the oldest of the trio.

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The Mexuar Palace was a council chamber built by Ismail I around 1319 when the Nasrid sultans were consolidating their hold on the region and building fortresses, mosques and palaces that would befit their ideals and realm.

Befitting their origin from the deserts and oasises of North Africa, they built their palaces around open courtyards and fountains. Windows are everywhere permitting cool air to enter the rooms.

The Mexuar Palace is in two parts

The principal Nasrid building, which you enter into and the Machuca courtyard, which can be reached if you go towards the gallery and arches of cypresses just before the entrance. Let us deal with the latter fairly quickly.

It was here that the architect of the Charles V Palace stayed when he was building it. Moving on to the main attraction, the entrance leads down a long open hallway to a small door, which opens unto the main hall. Here sat the royal court of justice. The room has undergone many changes over the centuries, the last of which was the building of a chapel in the early XVIth Century whose balustrade is towards the rear. Doors were added, walls were torn down or pushed back, and decorations moved around. There used to be 4 columns in the middle where the court sat.

Ceiling in the Mexuar Palace part of the Alhambra

Keep looking above and around you while in the Mexuar

The artesonados in the ceiling are attractively and softly done. Around the walls, a dado made up of multiple coats of arms from the Moorish to Christian eras tops the wall tiling.

Facade of the Comares in the Mexuar

At the end of the hall is the oratory overlooking the Albaycin district. It was badly damaged by an explosion in 1590. Its entrance used to be where the Machuca courtyardís gallery currently is.

Make your way to the mihrab, a small beautifully decorated space. On exiting, the courtyard beckons. A fountain commands the centre. The north side leads to the Golden Chamber, while the south one is the facade to the Comares Palace.

Let us go north through the three arches stepping up to a portico and walk into a room whose ceilingís colour shouts out its name. Some say that this was the visitorís waiting room before being brought to the sultan.