Salón del Trono

The Salón del Trono or Sala de Embajadores is the most gradiose qubba or room to be found in the palaces of the Alhambra’s medina, and is designed as a tower-palace.

It is the private hall of the sultan (maylis jass). Its layout is square and has nine bedrooms surrounding it. It is 18 metres high.

In this hall the sultan held splendid receptions setting himself up in central Northern bedroom and the guests, members of the court, and key Nasrid families in the rest of them. The hall would have been lit with beautiful lamps including oil lamps, and heated in winter with warming pans.

Salon del Trono: Heaven on earth

During Muslim times all of the openings were covered with leaded glass, decorated with geometric motifs, which offered protection against the bitter winter cold, as well as wooden lattices which avoided the blinding light of Granada summer. This technique, called Comaría, gives the hall its name and hence the whole palace as well.

Salón del Trono de ComaresThe rich decoration of the hall is extraordinary: there is not a single part which is not decorated with floral (arabesque), geometric or epigraphical themes, from the ceiling to the floor and done with a diverse range of materials, such as ceramics, stucco and wood. The floor was ceramic- wonderful tile and lattice work decorate its bases- with the walls covered in stucco which maintain some of their original colouring. In the tile-work on the bases, the Arabic artists experimented with diverse geometric designs which they later applied to the ceiling.

The ceiling is a great wooden dome, made up of more than 11000 pieces, which represent Islamic Paradise through geometric shapes: According to the Koran, paradise is made up of seven overlapping heavens and reaches its peak with the eighth heaven topped with the Throne of Allah, which in this dome is represented by a red shell, since red was the colour of the Nasrid flag.

The Throne room is the symbolic representation of Paradise, topped by the transcendence of Allah, who legitimises the power of the sultan on earth with his immanence. On the framework the whole Sura or chapter, LXVII called al-Milk (Kingdom or Lordship) was carved, spreading out its 30 verses on the four sides.

 

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