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Andalusian Gardens
ca. 1275 20th century
Antonio Almagro;
Luis Ramón-Laca


The well-known al-Djannat al-‘Arif (Generalife) was built during the reign of Muhammad II (1273–1302), and was later enlarged by Muhammad III (1302–1309) and Isma‘il I (1313–1325). Its construction therefore predates that of the Alhambra. The Generalife was more a country house than a palace, and its orchards (the Colorada, Grande, Fuentepeña, and Mercería) remain in cultivation. The original access route is a narrow and sloping alley that begins in front of the Torre de los Picos (Tower of the Peaks). The French writer Théophile Gautier saw this entrance in use in the nineteenth century. The route terminated at the Patio del Apeadero (Dismounting Yard), where the podiums used to help riders step down and the drinking trough for the animals are still present. In the Patio de la Guardia (Guard Courtyard), a narrow staircase led to the Patio de la Acequia (Acequia Courtyard), which followed the same layout seen in other courtyards of the Alhambra but was more elongated. According to Navagero, the acequia was surrounded by myrtles and orange trees and had a gallery with more myrtles below. According to Navagero (Viaje, 47–48), there was another courtyard “surrounded by hedges with a large and beautiful fountain that threw water more than ten fathoms into the air.” Crossing the Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana (Sultaness’ Cypress Courtyard), which was transformed in the Baroque era, there still stands the Escalera del Agua (Water Stairs). Its Spanish name was documented in 1572 when they were repaired: “las fuentes que dizen la escalera del agua.”


Théophile Gautier, Viaje por España, 1:81–82.

Antonio Orihuela Uzal, Casas y palacios nazaríes, 199–220.



  • Travel Account, 16th century
  • Archaeological Analysis, 20th and 21st centuries