In the Alhambra, this elegant patio is the central courtyard of the Palacio de Comares, the palace built in the mid-14th century as Emir Yusuf I’s official residence. It takes its name from the myrtle hedges that surround the rectangular pool and fountains. Finely carved arches atop marble pillars form porticoes at both ends of the patio.
The southern end of the patio is overshadowed by the walls of the Palacio de Carlos V. To the north, in the 45m-high Torre de Comares (Comares Tower) is the Sala de la Barca (Hall of the Blessing), whose name derives from the Arabic word for blessing, al-baraka, which is endlessly carved on the walls. This room leads into the square Salón de los Embajadores (Hall of the Ambassadors), where the emirs would have conducted their negotiations with Christian emissaries. The stucco work on the walls again contains repeated inscriptions in praise of God, and the marvellous domed marquetry ceiling contains more than 8000 cedar pieces in a pattern of stars representing the seven heavens of Islamic paradise, through which the soul ascends before reaching the top, where Allah resides.
Admission is included in the Alhambra ticket.