The Court of the Lions is the center of the sonamed Palace. The axis of this palace is different from axis of the Palace of Comares, due to the axis of the previous garden, from the 18th century, upon which the Baths of Comares was designed that has a north-south axis while the Palacio de los Leones has an east-west axis.
This perimeter portico would adhere more to the idea of a Christian cloister than the traditional Nasrid design of a courtyard with porticos on shorter sides, such as the one in the Palacio de Comares.
The original door was found at a south-east angle which provided entry with a diagonal view of the courtyard.
Distribution of the Court of the Lions
The courtyard has rooms on all four sides: on the two shorter ones, to the east and west, there is the Sala de los mocárabes and the Sala de los Reyes, and on the two longer ones, to the north and south, one finds two large residences, the Sala de los Abencerrajes and the Sala de Dos Hermanas.
A portico or gallery completely surrounds the courtyard. It is held up by pillars and arches in a marvellous combination of solids and openings: they are repeated in number and form, placed symmetrically. The gallery’s arches are not load-bearing because the sebka decorating them is hollow as can be noted when the sun shines between them.
On the shorter eastern and western sides, two wonderful pavilions stand out. A wide white border was added below the eaves, where Arabic plasterwork was reused along with the inclusion of the imperial shield.
The courtyard was divided by several platforms into four parterres which created a garden below with orange trees and flowers; the canopies of the orange trees could be reached by hand and the scent of orange blossoms filled the area, forming a cross, with the Fountain of the Lions built in the centre.