The Mirador of Lindaraja in the Alhambra of Granada, Spain, dating to the 14th century

A mirador is a Spanish term (from Spanish: mirar, lit.'to look at')[1] designating a lookout point or a place designed to offer extensive views of the surrounding area. In an architectural context, the term can refer to a tower, balcony, window, or other feature that offers wide views.[1][2] The term is often applied to Moorish architecture, especially Nasrid architecture, to refer to an elevated room or platform that projects outwards from the rest of a building and offers 180-degree views through windows on three sides.[1][3]: 248–255  The equivalent term in Arabic is bahw (Arabic: بهو) or manāẓir/manẓar (Arabic: منظر/ مناظر).[3]: 248 [4][5]

In Moorish architecture the mirador is typically situated on the perimeter of a building and is aligned with its central axis.[6][1] It is particularly characteristic of Nasrid architecture in al-Andalus (late 13th to 15th centuries), most notably in the palaces of the Alhambra.[7][3]: 249  Scholar Arnold Felix traces the development of this feature to the combination of two pre-existing features in the architecture of al-Andalus and western North Africa: halls with views over gardens in earlier Moorish architecture, such as the 10th-century example of ar-Rummāniya (a palatial country estate outside Umayyad Cordoba), and rooms projecting from the edge or rear of fortified palaces, such as in the 11th-century Castle of Monteagudo (near Murcia) and Qal'at Bani Hammad (in Algeria).[3]: 248–249  The earliest true examples of the Nasrid mirador are found in the Generalife Palace and the Palace of the Convent of San Francisco.[3]: 248–255  The pinnacle of mirador design is the ornate Mirador of Lindaraja in the Palace of the Lions in the Alhambra.[1][7]


  1. ^ a b c d e M. Bloom, Jonathan; S. Blair, Sheila, eds. (2009). "Balcony". The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Oxford University Press. p. 257. ISBN 9780195309911.
  2. ^ Harris, Cyril M. (1983). Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture. Courier Corporation. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-486-24444-0.
  3. ^ a b c d e Arnold, Felix (2017). Islamic Palace Architecture in the Western Mediterranean: A History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190624552.
  4. ^ Boloix-Gallardo, Bárbara, ed. (2021). A Companion to Islamic Granada. Brill. p. 399. ISBN 978-90-04-42581-1.
  5. ^ Ruggles, D. Fairchild (2000). Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain. Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 101. ISBN 9780271018515.
  6. ^ Dickie, James (2021). "Space and Volume in Nasrid Architecture". In Jayyusi, Salma Khadra (ed.). The Legacy of Muslim Spain. Brill. p. 624. ISBN 978-90-04-50259-8.
  7. ^ a b Fairchild Ruggles, D. (1997). "The Eye of Sovereignty: Poetry and Vision in the Alhambra's Lindaraja Mirador". Visual Culture of Medieval Iberia. 36 (2): 180–189. doi:10.2307/767237. JSTOR 767237. S2CID 192839637.