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Gardens fit for a sultan in the Generalife in Granada

  • Gardens in the Generalife in Granada

    Gardens in the Generalife in Granada


"Like a sultan in the Garden of Eden: this is how you will feel in southern Spain, strolling around the Generalife Palace in Granada. ..."

Like a sultan in the Garden of Eden: this is how you will feel in southern Spain, strolling around the Generalife Palace in Granada. No visit to this city in Andalusia is complete without a visit to these famous Moorish gardens: a unique, luxuriant place which was designed to be an earthly paradise. This was, at least, the idea behind it. In Moorish culture the notion of heaven was closely linked with the concept of the garden.

What is for sure is that beauty and harmony reign supreme at the Generalife. Everything seems to delight the senses as you explore: the whisper of running water, the reflections of light, the perfume of aromatic plants, the delicate décor of the palace, the colour of the flowers… There is no hurry. Take your time to enjoy every corner, to savour the sensations and let the evocative atmosphere of al-Andalus surround you.

With the mountains of Sierra Nevada providing a spectacular backdrop, the Generalife was a holiday estate used by the kings of the Nasrid dynasty. Its vegetable gardens also supplied the kitchens of the Alhambra with produce. This was where the monarchs came in search of peace and privacy. Even the simple ornamental décor of the palace seems to underline this desired atmosphere of retreat.

Visits to the Generalife are included with entrance to the Alhambra complex, although it is really an independent area whose construction began in the 13th century. The Cypress Promenade leads from the Alhambra to the area of the Generalife Palace. On the way you pass the Lower Gardens and the open air theatre which is now venue for the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance, to get to the Generalife's most emblematic site: the Acequia Patio. This is a real fairy-tale setting where you can stop and listen to the music provided by criss-crossed water jets, and stroll down the long corridor that runs alongside: it was built in the Christian period and its arches offer stunning views. From the palace viewpoint there is a different perspective. You may well be surprised by the low level of the windows. They were designed in this way to be able to admire the view while sitting on the floor, as is the norm in the Arab world.

Nevertheless, this is not the only place you should see here: you have yet to see the beautiful capitals and plasterwork of the Palace rooms; the legendary, charming, hidden La Sultana Patio; the rose bushes and jasmines that scent the Upper Gardens; the unusual Water Staircase, with its relaxing sound; Las Adelfas Promenade, with its beautiful views of the Alhambra.

When you finally leave the gardens of the Generalife you may be surprised to feel happiness and nostalgia at the same time. Don't worry, this is to be expected: you have just left an earthly "paradise" - but you can come back whenever you want.

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