Patio de Comares

Palacio de Comares -Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Through the door to the left of the Fachade of Comares there is a double door with a bend giving way to the heart of the palace: the Patio de Comares or the Patio de Arrayanes.

The Courtyard was an orchard-garden planted with low lying fruit and aromatic trees, such as pomegranate and orange trees, and myrtles.

The large water tank is a mirror, like a glass floor where the architecture of both the southern nave and the tower of Comares are reflected.

On the longer sides of the patio there are the residencies of the four legitimate women of the sultan, comprised of lower and upper floors which are not connected on the inside; one must go out to the courtyard in order to go up the appropriate stairs which lead to the small doors.

Distrubition of the rooms of the Patio de Comares

The ground floor was used more in summer and the upper floor in winter. The lower rooms, which are accessed through a wide arch with niches or small openings in the walls, which are lengthened with bedrooms on both sides, marked by a small step and an arch above, and cupboards built into the wall. The natural light came in in through the latticework windows which are on the entry arch, which also provided airflow and kept the rooms cooler inside. These are the typical female lodgings where daily private and family life occurred. On the flooring of the bedrooms there is a wooden structure to insulate the bed, and cushions and rich fabrics were placed on it. Cooking was done on clay stoves, and heating was done using ceramic and stone braziers. Artificial lighting was supplied by elegant clay or bronze oil lamps.

The southern nave is made up of three floors: a portico with columns which hold up seven arches and a back room, two intermediate rooms with latticework and above there is a small portico and another back room. This was the area where the Arab and Christian palaces came together, and in order to build the latter one the back rooms had to be partially demolished. This is the only part lacking due to the construction of the Palacio de Carlos V in the 16th century.  The sons of the sultan lived in these lodgings along with their teachers; they were separate from the sultan’s lodgings yet controlled by him.

This main area was the focus of the architects involved in conservation efforts: José Contreras from 1841-1842, Juan Pugnaire in 1872, Mariano Contreras in 1899 and 1901 and Leopoldo Torres Balbás between 1925 and 1936.


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