Patio de la Acequia - Water Garden in Granada

Governing a kingdom can be exhausting, so the Nasrid sultans built the Generalife to recuperate from its tedium. Gardens, patios and ponds populate the landscape. The sultan and his family could sit down, have tea and enjoy themselves. The Generalife overflows with layers, as you walk up, down and around the complex. Their love of water accompanies you as fountains, ponds and waterfalls create a calming atmosphere. After crossing the bridge that connects the Alhambra to the Generalife, make your way up towards the Patio de la Acequia, which means Court of the Water Channel or Water Garden Courtyard.



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To get to the Patio de la Acequia

you have to walk through the Lower Gardens, which were laid out in 1931 and contain the open-air stage used for concerts and festivals. These beautiful gardens are separated into 2 parts, the first of which is marked out by 4 ponds whose centre is the Carmen, a sedate fountain guarded by 4 tall cypress trees, while the second is a series of 5 green boxes with archways, and then paved in black and white pebbles from the Genil and Darro rivers. Once you exit this green paradise, you arrive at the Dismounting Yard.

This water garden is a delight any time of the year


As the name suggests, this area was where people left their horses to enter the buildings. Above the front door is the royal key. You can see the door to the next structure, which was probably the servants’ quarters. After a few twists and turns, you cross a doorway and pause as your senses adjust to the colours and sounds of the Water Garden.


You can as you enter see why the sultans used this water garden to relax in

Carefully and wonderfully designed, the courtyard is a feast for the eyes despite having undergone many changes over the centuries. Two long ponds with a fountain at each end dominate the scene. Directly in front of you is the North pavilion. The right side is a long wall covered in plants with a passage-way leading to another courtyard, while the left side is a long gallery with 16 arches overlooking the hill and gazing unto the Albaycin. Opposite the passage-way is a small mirador, through which you can step unto the hill itself.


In the Patio de la Acequia it is next to impossible to get the perfect photo but one must keep trying.

As with most Nasrid structures, the pavilions mirror each other, but we have to account for changes made by the Christian kings and queens. The pavilions are built in two parts; the exterior one has five arches, while the interior has three. In between them is a small space, but only the north one has small niches holding water jugs that were poured when guests came. The middle arch of each part is higher and wider, and you can clearly see the façade of the interior part through the middle arch of the exterior one. Mocarabe designs and a wooden ribbon-worked ceiling in the north pavilion emphasize its role as the sultan’s residence. The second floor with its balcony of 3 pairs of arches was built after the XVth Century. The last room on the ground floor is a mirador that was deliberately built on an odd angle to ensure a cool breeze circulated. Through its portico, you can reach the Patio del Cipres.