The Alhambra

Monumental de Grenada Monumental Guide



The “Abencerrajes” Hall(Alhambra)


Short description of the monument

The “Abencerrajes” Hall is located in front of the “Dos Hermanas” Hall. The popular tradition says that this is where “Abencerrajes” Knights were assasinated, although the sources do not agree in the name of the monarch who ordered these murders.

History of the monument

This room was the alcove of the sultan, and since it was a private space, there are no windows looking on to the exterior. The walls are richly decorated, the stucco and the colours are original, the tiled socle dates from the 16th century, from the Seville factory of tiles and the cupola is ornamented with “muqarbas” (decorative motif based on vertically juxtaposed bows or prisms). On the floor, in the middle of the space, there is a small fountain that reflected the cupola of “muqarbas”, which with its rich decoration, created a magical and charming illumination, since the light that entered through the upper part of the room gave a different light according to the different hours of the day. From this low fountain comes out a narrow channel through which the water flows to the Lion’s fountain.

The “Abencerrajes” hall has a fantastic history; it is said that 36 Knights died here when Boabdil killed them. The “Abencerrajes” were very popular in the city and they were the personification of all that is noble and chivalrous. Although it is probably a false story, it is true that in between the floor slabs at this hall there are red markings, the colour of the blood.

The entrance to the hall has two arches separated by a corridor that communicates to the left with the upper floor and to the right with the hall of the primitive entrance to the palace. The central space of this room has lateral alcoves, with arches finely decorated and columns with blue capitals and painted ceilings. The walls are covered with plaster works and a socle of blue tiles from the 16th century, of the Renaissance style. Above eight projecting “muqarbas” vaults an impressive cupola is placed, also decorated with “muqarbas”. On these projecting vaults, there is a carved inscription, that reads: <>. Through the windows, placed at the base of the cupola, a tenuous light comes in, illuminating the “muqarbas” ornamentation giving this cupola a magical aspect.

The upper floor was apparently used as the Harem or “harim”, and therefore it was a space only for the women. An extraordinary “mirador”, opened to the courtyard by three arches, which must have had at the time a lattice window, allowed the sultan the contemplation of the concubines that lived there.

The “Abencerrajes” hall could have been the building used for having parties in winter, since it was well isolated with thick wooden doors and heated up with ceramic or stone braziers. The concubines would come down from the Harem when the sultan called them.


• “Granada en tus manos. Alhambra y Generalife”. Author: Carlos Vílchez Vílchez. Ideal – 2006.

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