The first room right after the entrance of the Nasrid Palaces is the Mexuar, the name derived from the Arabic term Maswar. It is divided into two courtyards: the royal chancery where citizens’ pleas were heard, and the vizier council.
The decor in here is quite modest so I wasn’t particularly astounded by it.
It felt slightly businesslike and toned down but still beautiful nonetheless. I guess when you want to do state administration and business, you wouldn’t want people to be too distracted by the room! 😛
Looking around the room, you can see that it is a mixture of elements. It was only later did I find out that much of the room had Christian influences infused into it.
The ceiling, from the Christian period, is a coffered ceiling with interlacing decoration. The wall, on its higher part is decorated with plasterwork, golden elements and paintings. The skirting boards are covered with tiles and have Alamares’ motto, Charles V coat of arms and Mendoza’s arms because Mister Iñigo López de Mendoza, Count of Tendilla was appointed as the governor of the fortress by the Catholic Monarchs. There are also some boards with the columns of Hercules and a border of Moorish bows from the 16th century.
Aesthetically, I loved the contrast between the dark wood of the ceilings, floors and trims with the white plasterwork. Very soothing to the eye!
Notice the inscriptions on the walls? It says “Wa la ghalib ila Allah” (There is no conqueror except of Allah). This was the Nasrid sultans’ slogan and is used for decoration all over the Nasrid Palaces. It covers nearly every surface in various calligraphy styles, transforming the words from ritual praise into geometric pattern.
Two centuries after it was built, the Mexuar was converted into a chapel, with an oratory at the back.
As I progressed from the main room of the Mexuar into the inner palace, I couldn’t help but notice the progression of the intricacy of the plasterwork. It seemed like the more inaccessible to the public the room is, the more finely-detailed it becomes.
Spot the inscriptions!
I liked the gradual progression. I knew that somewhere along the way, I was going to be absolutely blown away…. and I was.
Utterly, completely and without warning.
I’ll share that tearful experience soon, inshaAllah!