The Aljafería Palace in Zaragoza

The Aljafería is a palace-fortress from Muslim times. Located in Zaragoza, it is A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.

Plan your cultural visit to the Aljafería

Al-Muqtadir, from the Hudid dynasty, and king of the Taifa Saraqusta, ordered the construction of the palace in the second half of the 11th century. The complex received the name of Qasr al-Surur (Palace of the Joy).

The Aljafería has been used for different purposes through history. It was an islamic alcázar from the Hudid first. Then, it was a mudejar medieval palace and the residence of the Catholic Monarchs in Zaragoza. It was a prison for the Inquisition. Furthermore, it housed the see of the Cortes de Aragón (Parliament of Aragon).

The architecture reflects the different usages of the building. Extensions, destructions and restorations have been carried out through the years.

Aljafería de Zaragoza
Exterior of the Aljafería.

The oldest construction inside the Aljafería Palace is the tower of el Trovador. It was built at the end of the 9th century. It was aimed to work as a watchtower. Hudids added it to the palace-fortress.

It is a defensive tower with a square plan. It has five floors and it is surrounded by a moat.

The Islamic Palace dates back to the second half of the 11th century. Perimeter is walled and it has semi-circular towers and the Tower of el Trovador. Entrance is through a horseshoe arch.

It also holds a private mosque for the monarch’s private use. Inside it, the oratory has a false octogonal plan with chambered corners.

Aljafería de Zaragoza
Decoration of the mosque.
Aljafería de Zaragoza
Top section of the mosque.

Within the palace it is also the Salón Dorado (Golden Hall). It was formed by a series of rooms  in which there were private bedrooms for royal use.

Coffered ceilings and the decoration with yeserias of arabesques are of great importance. The entrance porch has a fascinating mixtilinear cross-linked arches. This kind of arch is first used here.

Aljafería de Zaragoza
Arches of the Salón Dorado.

One of the most beautiful nooks within the islamic place is the Patio of Santa Isabel. It is surrounded by rooms and it unites the whole complex. The very decorative arches are the major attractive of this patio. They give the courtyard an unique personality.

Alfonso I the Battler transformed the Aljafería into a mudejar palace. There lived the monarchs from Aragón. The indoor decoration is stunning, especially that of the spandrels of the arches.

In this complex we can also find buildings such as the Church of San Martín, in a Gothic-mudejar style.

Aljafería de Zaragoza
Detail of the spandrel of an arch

At the end of the 15th century, Catholic Monarchs built a new factory on the Muslim palace. The palace had a staircase, a gallery and a series of rooms, that is the “pasos perdidos” (rooms of the lost steps), that ends in the Throne Room.

Throne Room is famous because of its stunning roof. It is a coffered ceiling richly decorated with caissons and octagonal shapes. In the middle of the caissons, there are small gold pine cones. The mixture of these elements makes an incredible result.

Roof of the Salón del Trono.

Location: Calle Diputados, s/n. 50003, Zaragoza.
Phone: 976 28 96 83

Opening times and admission fee: check them updated here.

If you would like to visit the city, here you have the best things to do and the best places to eat.

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