Sala de los Abencerrajes

Historic Room in Granada

“Honeycomb,” “stalactite,” Or “moçárabe” Vaulting In The Hall Of The Abencerrajes
CC BY-SA 2.0 / jvwpc

The Sala de los Abencerrajes or Hall of the Abencerrajes is a room in the Palacio de los Leones. The Palacio de los Leones is one of the palaces that make up the Palacio Nazaríes in the Alhambra Complex, in Granada, Spain. It is located to the south of the Patio de los Leones and was apparently the King’s bedroom.

What can you see in the Sala de los Abencerrajes?

The entrance to the hall is marked by two arches separated by a corridor, which is connected with the upper floor on the left and with the original entrance’s hall on the right. The hall’s central square has bedchambers on its sides, with arches exquisitely decorated, blue capitals and painted ceilings. The upper floor seems to have been dedicated to the Harem, and therefore it was an exclusively feminine space.

The Bedroom of the Sultan

The central square of the room has bedrooms to its sides, with exquisitely decorated arches whose columns have blue capitals, and painted ceilings. Being a private room there are no windows to the outside. The Hall of the Abencerrages is perfect for hot summer days. The high ceiling makes hot air go out on top while the fountain brings in cool fresh air from the bottom. The alcoves on the side were perfect to sit down in privacy with curtains separating them from the main hall.

Star-shaped muqarnas of the Sala de los Abencerrajes

The most spectacular thing about the Sala de los Abencerrajes is its impressive dome with star-shaped honeycomb or stalactite vaulting with eight points. The 16 sides are supported by stalactite vaulting and many lattices in the dome, allow enough light to make the place feel artificially illuminated. The ceiling design in Sala de los Abencerrajes is astonishingly sophisticated for its time.

The following inscription is written on the pendentives: “There is no other help than the help that comes from God, the clement and merciful One“.

Looking at it from below, it gives us the feeling of being in a stalactite cave hanging over a pool, which is the fountain.

The Fountain of the Sala de los Abencerrajes

The hall is centered by a beautiful twelve-dimensional marble fountain.  The water in the marble fountain reflects the image of the brilliant ceiling above. Note the red rust stains at the base of the fountain. The fountain feed the channel that takes the water to the fountain in the Patio de los Leones.

The Walls of the Sala de los Abencerrajes

The plaster-work remains original for the most part, as do the colors. However, in the lower part, it can be seen that the plinth is not original, but belongs to the Andalusian style and comes from the tile factory in Seville, and dates from the 16th century.

The Legend of the Sala de los Abencerrajes

The Abencerraje families original name was Banu Sarray, and they came from North Africa, they were a very important clan in the political life of the period 15th century. The Abencerrajes knights were very popular in the city and were mainly the personification of everything that is noble and chivalrous.

A rival family were jealous, the Zenetes, have invented a false and conspired love story between one of the knights of the Abencerrajes and Sultana  Zoraya, Sultan Abu al-Hasan’s favorite concubine.

This enraged the King and he invited thirty-six knights to the Alhambra to a banquet and killed them in the Abencerrages Hall. As each knight entered the hall they were beheaded and their head thrown in the fountain so as not to notify the others. The red stains on the fountain is the blood of the knights that cannot be removed.

The Sala de los Abencerrajes appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Granada!

Other names of Sala de los Abencerrajes

The Sala de los Abencerrajes has the following names: Sala de los Abencerrajes, Sala de los Abencerrages.

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Visiting Sala de los Abencerrajes


For opening times of the Sala de los Abencerrajes see Alhambra Opening Times.


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

Address: Sala de los Abencerrajes, Calle Real de la Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Telephone: +34 958 027 971
Duration: 10 minutes

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