Legend of Patio del Cipres
This Patio has another name, that being the Courtyard of the Sultana. A legend
of romance and tragedy surrounds this splendid place. The wife of the last
sultan of Granada was a beautiful woman who was treasured by her husband. There
a time in their relationship when she became enamoured with a member of another
local and powerful family, called the Abencerrages family. This turned into
an affair as time after time and she secretly met him here. Unfortunately,
the sultan found out and in his wild rage of jealousy, had all the men of the
Abencerrages family murdered in a room in the Leones Palace. The place where
this happened is called the Hall of the Abencerrages.
Ponds and Waterfalls
Two ponds monopolize the patio’s space; the smaller one is in a square hedge box with a fountain in the middle, while the larger one shaped in a U surrounds it. Such a shape is not a Moorish design. Water is visible everywhere. Delicate and soft would have been how water sounded as it flowed through the canals and waterfalls during Nasrid times, but each pond now has jets of water to replicate the sound of rain falling.
Walk up the small stairway that leads up to the Upper Gardens. Just before
the pathway leading up the hill, you will come across a circle of 4 hedges
with bright colours surrounding a fountain. These gardens are laid out in three
sections, each one separated by a low wall. As you climb, a sense of symmetry
becomes noticeable despite the size of each section shrinking, because two
small clusters of trees, flowers and hedges populate them. You will be sure
to find places to sit and enjoy a few moments of tranquility.
The true treat of the Upper Gardens is the Water Stairway, a beautiful relic of Nasrid design. Thankfully, no one has had the temerity to remove it as it has mesmerized visitors for centuries. The stairway’s handrail has water flowing in it. The act was deliberate as the stairway was part of the palace’s watercourse called the Royal Waterway, which started in the hills around the Alhambra, through the Secano and under the Calle Real to the Alcazaba. As you walk up, you can not fail to notice small waterfalls that can be opened or closed to control the flow of water.
The stairway would have led to a place of prayer, but a mirador now stands in its place, which has been heavily criticized as lacking in grace and style in comparison to the main pavilions on the lower grounds, but not everyone can be perfect.
Why come to see Generalife?
Generalife, like the Alhambra, contains many architectural styles that do
not necessarily blend perfectly together, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thus it is really up to you to come, see and make you own mind up. I would
not ask you to make a decision as to whether or not this place is beautiful,
not on your life. Much more, I would like to ask, exactly how beautiful do
you think it is? From me it gets a 10 out of 10 worth a day or two and definitely
worth seeing more than once in a lifetime.