Alhambra – Partal Gardens: Oratory interior showing the mihrab (a prayer niche facing Mecca)

Interior of the Oratory situated in the Partal Gardens, Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Oratory interior showing the mihrab

An inside view of the Oratory
The image shows the interior of the Oratorio del Partal (Oratory of the Partal), a small building next to the Torre de las Damas (Tower of the Ladies), located in the Jardines del Partal (Gardens of the Partal). Attributed to Yusef I (1333 – 1354), the seventh and one of the most prominent ruler of the Nasrid dynasty, the Oratory was a house of prayer, which was used by the sultan for namaz (prayer). It was first restored in the 1930s, then again in 2017 to the present form.

As you can see from the image, the highly decorated wall has a niche, known as mihrab, oriented towards the Kaaba of Mecca. The upper part of the mihrab has a beautiful arch surrounded by a square border carved with Islamic calligraphy. Beautifully carved arabesques fill the space between the arch and this border. The wall above the mihrab has two decorative windows, and surrounding it are arabesques and Islamic calligraphy.

Note: Arabesque is a repetitive pattern of foliage or geometrical designs found in decorations of Islamic architecture.

Also seen in the image is part of the ceiling, which is ornate with finely-carved wooden panels. It is an example of Mudéjar art, a style of decoration originated in Moorish Spain and is a fusion of Islamic and Christian art. There are many rooms in Nasrid Palaces and Generalife with ceilings decorated with Mudéjar art.

Mudéjar art flourished in the Christian areas too. Built by Christian King Don Pedro of Castile, the Pedro I Palace in Real Alcazar Seville is a masterpiece of Mudéjar art and arcitecture. To build this magnificent palace, he invited artisans from Granada. Check Pedro I Palace for more info.

Related Images
Torre de las Damas
Viewing windows of the Torre de las Damas
Ceiling of the Portico of the Torre de las Damas

Related Pages
Alhambra – Discover the magic of Alhambra
Palacios Nazaríes – Nasrid Palaces – A Shining Example of Moorish Art and Architecture
Los Jardines del Partal – The Gardens of the Partal
Alcazaba – A Formidable Fortress of the Nasrids
Medina, the Bustling City
Alhambra – Christian-Era Monuments
Alhambra – Outer Monuments
Generalife – Heavenly Gardens of the Nasrids
Real Alcázar of Seville: Pedro I Palace – A masterpiece of Mudéjar art and architecture

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