The Muslim West
Seats of Power: Palaces
Palaces, the real seats of power.
As a whole, palaces were the real place of representation where power was exercised, with the sovereign publicly imparting justice or receiving administrators or ambassadors according to strict protocol. They consisted of sumptuous monumental spaces where state business was carried out in large, richly appointed rooms around garden courtyards. These spaces were accessed via long and complex routes, not just to improve security, but also to symbolise the inaccessibility of power.

Hegira 4th century / AD 10th century
Umayyad of al-Andalus, Caliphate period
Silves Municipal Archaeology Museum
Silves, Faro, Portugal
While the sumptuous decoration of the palaces symbolised the sovereign's power, the beauty of the courtyards, gardens, fountains and pools created a harmonious and elegant environment that resembled paradise.