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Get to know the Generalife Palace in Granada and its orchards

The Generalife and its orchards form one of the most idyllic spaces you can find in Granada. It is a Muslim palace with white architecture in which gardens and orchards were the delight of the sultan and which can be visited today, in addition to the fact that these orchards continue to produce. Do you want to know what they were? Here we tell you everything you need to know about this historic place.

The Generalife Palace in Granada

The Generalife is a Muslim palace that is located near the Alhambra. It is an almunia or palace with a garden that it was intended exclusively for the sultan of the Kingdom of Granada. He stayed there to rest from the affairs that concerned the kingdom.

It is made up of a series of structures made up of access patios that give way to the famous Patio de la Acequia.. This is a huge interior garden through the center of which runs the Acequia Real, which brings water from the Darro River. It is a beautiful corner sheltered within the walls of a palace of exquisite taste.

From this patio we can access the so-called Patio de la Sultana. This is a Renaissance space in whose subsoil the remains of an old royal bath are hidden.

From it, a staircase surmounted by Venetian lions takes us to one of the most charming spaces in the entire Generalife: the Water Staircase. This is a beautiful staircase along whose railings the water flows as in waterfalls, which is covered by a vault of laurels.

 

At the top of this staircase await the Romantic Viewpoint and a series of flowerbeds where the vegetation blends with the views of the upper galleries of the palace, which can be seen in the background.

The orchards of the Generalife

All this incredible palace would be nothing without its orchards. They are hectares of land in which fruits and vegetables are still grown today, as well as aromatic and medicinal plants. There are four historical gardens: the Huerta Grande, the Huerta Colorá or Colorada, the Huerta de Fuente Peña and the Mercería.

These orchards were in the hands of expert farmers. At least since the 16th century they were leased to the so-called settlers, responsible for getting the most out of this rich land. These lived in small houses inside the orchards. We still have some of these houses, such as the ones called La Mimbre, today the headquarters of La Alhambra Educa.

On the other hand, they are orchards formed thanks to the transformation of Cerro del Sol into a set of terraces and divided by means of rammed earth walls or ditches of which we can still see remains. Irrigation was carried out since the Nasrid period with water from the Darro River.

All this was possible thanks to the impressive infrastructure of the Acequia Real, essential for both the Generalife and the Alhambra. The water of the river goes through the entire north slope of the hill to reach the palace and open into various sources to irrigate these rich orchards.

From there, the canal goes around the ravine of King Chico or Cuesta de los Chinos and continue to the Alhambra to supply their bathrooms and cisterns.

The visit to the palace and orchards

To be able to see this beautiful palace of Nasrid taste you have to buy a ticket. This can be an exclusive visit to the Generalife or a ticket for the entire Monumental Complex of the Alhambra and the Generalife. And if you are from Granada or live there, you can enjoy free admission on Sundays with prior reservation online.

Also you can benefit from one of the guided tours by experts. But these are not continuous, so you must access the website of the Patronage of the Alhambra to find out if they are taking place.

If you are not so lucky, take a few minutes to walk the street that takes you from the ticket office area to the Nasrid Palace, as the orchards are to the left of that street. From there you can see the various crops and fruit trees that populate them and with an incomparable backdrop: the walk of the Towers and palaces of the Alhambra.

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