Palacio de los Leones

Palace in Granada

Patio De Los Leones, Palacio De Los Leones, Alhambra
CC BY-SA 3.0 / rheins

The Palacio de los Leones or Palace of the Lions is one of the palaces that make up the Palacio Nazaríes in the Alhambra Complex, in Granada, Spain. It was built in the second half of the 14th century, by the command of Muhammad V. This palace comprised of private rooms which belonged to the royal family. Lion’s Palace is built at an angle between the Patio de los Arrayanes and the Baths.

The palace is built around the Patio de los Leones  or Lion Courtyard, with its marble fountain channeling water through the mouths of 12 marble lions.  It is enclosed by several beautiful galleries which give access to different rooms.

At the north of this courtyard, you can find the Sala de Ajimeces, Sala de Dos Hermanas and the Mirador de Daraxa. On the east is the Reyes Hall, on the west is the Mocarabes Hall and on the south is the Harem and the Sala de los Abencerrajes.

The Legend of the Harem

We mentioned that above the Sala de los Abencerrajes was the Harem, you may be imagining a place where the sultan kept his wives isolated, under the constantly vigilant eyes of scimitar weilding eunuchs. The reality was that a Harém was simply the king’s home without official receptions or protocol, the place where he could spend time with his family.

A legend tells a story of Mohammed, who was often visited by friends and the faithful. One day he was playing with his grandchildren when a group of the faithful arrived to his house and, without asking for permission came into the room where Mohammed was playing on the floor with the children. Neither the prophet, nor his disciples enjoyed the scene and after that Mohammed started telling his followers that it was important to fit out a part of the house for the exclusive use of the family, a place visitors would not be allowed to enter.

What to see in the Palacio de los Leones

  • Sala de los Mocárabes: It is the entrance to the palace of the lions and it was so called because of the vault of mocarabes that covered it, but which was pulled down due to the explosion of a powder magazine in 1590.
  • Sala de los Abencerrajes: The southern Sala de los Abencerrajes is a spectacular room with a mesmerizing octagonal stalactite ceiling. This is the legendary site of the murders of the noble Abencerraj family, whose leader, was caught in the Generalife with Zoraya, Abu al-Hasan’s favourite concubine. The rusty stains in the fountain are said to be the blood stains of the victims!
  • Patio de los Leones: This patio was built by order of Mohammed V, its ground plan is rectangular and it is surrounded by a gallery in the style of a Christian cloister. The gallery is supported by 124 white marble columns with fine shafts. It is so called because of the twelve lions that throw jets of water and which are part of the fountain in the middle of the patio.
  • Sala de los Reyes: This place is called Hall of the Kings because of a painting on the central dome. It was also called Justice Hall and Court (Tribunal) from the 18th century.
  • Sala de Dos Hermanas: The hall of the two sisters was so called because of two big twin marble flagstones that are part of the floor. The hall connects with the Emperor’s Chambers and, through a balcony, with the Gardens of the Partal.
  • Mirador de Daraxa: From the Hall of the Ajimeces you enter into Daraxa’s Mirador. The inside of the mirador is a rectangular little room, with two lateral arches and a double arch at the entrance looking at Daraxa’s Patio.
  • Jardín de Daraxa: Daraxa’s Garden was also called Garden of the Orange Trees and Garden of the Marbles. The patio is demarcated by Daraxa’s Mirador and the Hall of the Two Sisters to the south, by the Emperor’s Chambers to the north and by the galleries built by the Emperor to the east and the west. The big central marble fountainwas made with the big basin that was in the Patio of the Gilded Room. To the south of the patio, there were the basements of the Hall of the Two Sisters, which form a series of rooms surrounding the Hall of the Secrets.
  • Patio de la Reja: bThe Patio of the Wrought Iron Grille is so known because of the wrought iron grille that is on the southern wall.

The Palacio de los Leones appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Granada!

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Visiting Palacio de los Leones


For opening times of the Palacio de los Leones see Alhambra Opening Times.


The Palacio de los Leones is part of the Alhambra Complex and access it you need to purchase Alhambra Tickets or a Alhambra Guided Tour.

Telephone: +34 958 027 971
Duration: 1 hours
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