Sala de los Reyes
Historic Room in Granada
The Sala de los Reyes or the Hall of the Kings 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 believed that it could have been a council or meeting room of the sultan, where he would meet his ministers and generals to discuss matters of state or justice.
Where is the Sala de los Reyes located?
The Sala de los Reyes is located to the east of the Patio de los Leones. You enter through three porticoes with triple arches of mocarabes, which have been decorated with carved rhombuses and supported by fine columns.
The Rooms of the Sala de los Reyes
The hall is divided into seven parts: three square rooms, separated by two rectangular sections and two bedchambers at the end of them. In the square rooms there are domes of mocarabes, double arches lead to the rectangular sections. These sections and the bedchambers also have domes of mocarabes. This layout and this decoration bring out the light that enters the hall. The heavy arches of the hall contrast with the walls’ delicate decoration, made up of inscriptions and a tile skirting board, which surrounded the hall and from which only two original fragments are left.
The center room is most likely the room of the sultan, since it give a perfect view on the courtyard where the pillars resemble palm trees and where the fountain is the masterpiece in the middle.
The Paintings of the Sala de los Reyes
The paintings were made on lambskin, applied to the three ellipse-shaped wooden domes support using the paste technique and bamboo nails . This fixing system avoided the damage that could be caused by the oxidation of normal iron nails.
The middle painting represents the first ten kings of the Nasrid dynasty. If you look closely you will see that two of them have red beards. Beards were frequently dyed either red with henna or black to make them more imposing. Their dresses are ceremonial as witnessed by the swords they carry, the belts and the characteristic Nasrid turban.
The paintings in the side rooms could have suffered from Christian influences, especially regarding the themes they contain: Christian knights and ladies. The lateral vaults depict scenes of chivalry, especially hunting scenes and romantic scenes, so they possibly tell legends or adventures of the Muslim kings. In one of them, two characters are seen, a Christian and a Muslim, performing a series of feats and similar acts to win the love of a Christian lady. In another painting, a Muslim is seen taking down his rival with a spear at the pleading gesture of the lady, who watches the tournament from a tower. According to the clues from the painting about the kings, these paintings could correspond to the reigns of Mohammed VII (1395-1410) or Yusuf III (1410-1424).
This mix of Christian and Muslim influences is perhaps due to the good relations between Muslims and Christians that existed during the reigns of Muhammad V and Don Pedro I of Castilla – “El Cruel”. Don Pedro I went so far as to request the help of the Moorish King of Granada to restore his palaces of the Reales Alcázares in Seville.
Where does Sala de los Reyes get its Name?
The Sala de los Reyes or the Hall of Kings gets its name because of a painting on the central dome. The ceiling shows a painting where ten men are sitting. It’s believed that these are the first ten rulers of the Nasrid Dynasty. It was also called Sala de la Justicia or the Hall of Justice and Tribunal or Court from the 18th century.
Other names of Sala de los Reyes
The Sala de los Reyes has the following names: Sala de la Justicia, The Hall of Justice.
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Visiting Sala de los Reyes
For opening times of the Sala de los Reyes see Alhambra Opening Times.