Carlos V Palace
When Carlos V came to Granada on his honeymoon, he fell in love with the Alhambra and the city. He took up residence in the Arab palaces but decided to build his own larger, more spacious palace adjoined to the Nasrid Palaces so that he could continue to enjoy them.
He commissioned the architect Pedro Machuca to design a building befitting a Roman Emperor and work began in 1527. Machuca died in 1550 and his son Luis took over. The project was then continued but most of the major work had by this time been completed.
This Renacentist building is 63m2 square on the outside with a 30m diameter circular courtyard on the inside. Originally there would have been a well in the middle but this has now been covered over.
The project was partly paid for with taxes collected from the Moriscos (Muslims who had converted to Christianity) in return for being allowed to stay in Granada and continue with their traditions.
The building has two levels: the lower level of the patio has 32 stone Doric columns and the upper level has 32 Ionic columns. The building was to be covered with a domed ceiling like the Pantheon in Rome but was never finished and the roof on the superior gallery was only completed in 1957.
Carlos V Palace courtyard
Carlos V never lived here. When he died, Felipe II transferred his court to Madrid in 1561 and in 1607 Madrid became the capital of Spain.
Today, the building houses the Museo de Bellas Artes with exhibits from the Alhambra.
For more photos of the Carlos V Palace, please visit this page.
There are two parts to the Mexuar: the Sala de Mexuar and the Cuarto Dorado.
The Mexuar was completed in 1365 and this was the reception area for business and administrative purposes where members of the public were received. This was also where the Sultan’ listenend to his subjects’ requests and where he dispensed justice.
Sala de Mexuar
During the Nasrid dynasty, the room was square with four marble pillars and shorter but was later extended. The wooden ceiling at the entrance is original (picture) as are the columns.
After the Christan conquest, the room was converted into a chapel with the altar on the wall on the left of the entrance and the choir stalls directly opposite.
At the far end is the Oratory and this faces Mecca. Initially it was cut off from the Sala de Mexuar but the floor was lowered and an access to the Sala de Mexuar was opened.
Sala de Mexuar: decoration
Sala de Mexuar
Originally the room was covered with a glass dome but this was removed in 1540 to make way for an upper floor with additional rooms and windows and wooden shutters were then added to provide more light.
When Carlos V decided to take up permanent residence in the Alhambra, he commissioned the constuction of his living quarters with six new rooms around the Nasrid palaces to include bedrooms and his office. Years later in 1829, the North American author of Tales of the Alhambra, Washington Irving, would stay here.
The general visit to the Alhambra includes access to Carlos V’s chambers but during the month of January 2011, it will also be possible to visit the Salas de las Frutas (where Washington Irving stayed) .
These rooms can be visited during the month of January on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday between 8:30 and 18:00.