Travel all the way back to the age of the Nasrid Sultans during your visit to the stunning, tree-lined Generalife Gardens. Feel at peace as you stroll through courtyards with beautiful stone fountains, orchards lined with orange trees, myrtle hedges, and water channels. There's plenty of water at the Generalife Gardens and the recurring element remains a lasting presence against the breathtaking elements of Islamic architecture. A definite must-visit when you tour the Alhambra, Generalife Gardens are strikingly beautiful and unlike anything else you would see in the rest of Spain. While the gardens have undergone quite a few changes over the years, the essence has been retained. With medieval palaces, pavilions, courtyards, and patios against soothing greenery, the Generalife Gardens make for the perfect way to end your day in Alhambra.
Major Highlights of the Generalife Gardens
Patio de la Acequia
Patio de la Acequia translates to Patio of the Irrigation Ditch and is amongst the most important parts of the Generalife. An ornamental addition to the main canal that brings irrigation water from the Alhambra, the Patio de la Acequia is a beautiful blend of Islamic and Spanish style of architecture. The patio connects the lower and upper gardens and includes a high pavilion that doubles as a vantage point from which the patio and gardens beyond can be observed. It was designed as an interior garden, with the exception of the small lookout point on the west.
Palace of Generalife
Partially hidden by an undergrowth and embedded with traces of marble, the entrance to the Generalife Palace is through a tiny door. with a tiled lintels and the arch-key marking. The entrance leads to a narrow stairway that is connected to the residences and rooms, and also the Patio de la Acequia. The patio is further linked to an arcaded gallery with five arches and bedchambers, and then on to the Royal Chamber.
Jardin de la Sultana
History has it that the wife of the last Nasrid ruler Bombadil used to have an affair in this courtyard with a knight of the Abencerrajes family. Dating back to 2584, this arcaded structure features old cypress trees, stone fountains with jets, and trimmed myrtle hedges. The courtyard has a tiny door to the south that connects to the Patio de la Acequia and the rest of the Historic-Artistic Monuments Complex.
Escalera del Agua
Escalera del Agua or the water stairway is one of the most innovative and ambitious features of the Generalife Gardens. The stairway was constructed during Islamic rule and designed in three flights with water channels for handrails! The stairway is flanked by laurel trees on either side, forming a canopy and making for a stunning visual. You need to take the Escalera del Agua to get to the highest part of the Generalife Gardens.
In 1952, the Festival of Music and Dance of Granada was organised, which led to the construction of a theatre. The symmetrical outdoor theatre was built by extending the gardens towards the south. The gardens feature a central seating area and boxes on either side, which is generally thought to be a western style of theatre. Recently, the Generalife theatre was restored and its installations and acoustics were improved.