17 May 2009

Stars of light

The Salón de los Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors) is the largest in the Alhambra and occupies all the Torre de Comares (It is so called because of the stained glass windows in the balconies that light the big inside hall, which are called «comarías»). It is a square room, the sides being 12 m (37 ft) in length, while the centre of the dome is 23 m (75 ft) high. This was the grand reception room, and the throne of the sultan was placed opposite the entrance. It was in this setting that Christopher Columbus received Isabel and Ferdinand's support to sail to the New World. The tiles are nearly 4 ft (1.2 m) high all round, and the colours vary at intervals. Over them is a series of oval medallions with inscriptions, interwoven with flowers and leaves. There are nine windows, three on each facade, and the ceiling is decorated with inlaid-work of white, blue and gold, in the shape of circles, crowns and stars. The walls are covered with varied stucco works, surrounding many ancient escutcheons.