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The Palacio de Generalife or simply the Generalife (جَنَّة الْعَرِيف, Jannat al-‘Arīf) was a summer palace and country estate of the Nasrid rulers of the Emirate of Granada in al-Andalus. It is located directly east of and uphill from the Alhambra palace complex in Granada, Spain.


The Generalife is one of the oldest surviving Moorish gardens. Based on the oldest decorations studied in the palace, the Generalife was originally constructed by either Muhammad II (1273–1302) at the end of the 13th century or by Muhammad III (1302–1309) at the beginning of the 14th century CE.

The palace and the gardens were originally used as a private retreat and summer palace for the Nasrid rulers and their family, away from the official business that took place in the Alhambra. The grounds were originally enclosed by a long wall, no longer present.

Notable Structures


Northern Pavilion
The northern pavilion is preceded by a portico of five arches with a larger central arch. The arches feature richly-carved stucco decoration with a sebka motif and bands of cursive Arabic inscriptions. Behind the arches is a roofed gallery space, covered by a wooden ceiling of octagonal coffers, which leads to another chamber through another stucco-decorated entrance of three arches.

The chamber behind this, known as the Salón Regio (Royal Chamber), is covered by another wooden ceiling while its arches and upper walls are covered with more stucco decoration, including a frieze of muqarnas (or mocárabes) sculpting. On the middle northern side of this chamber is a tower incorporating a mirador (lookout) chamber with more intricate stucco decoration and views of the Albaicin from its windows.


Southern Pavilion
The Southern Pavilion (Pabellón Sur), was originally the main residential part of the complex where the ruler and his family stayed. It has been havily modified over the centuries, probably the most modified section of the entire complex.

circa 1585 CE

Court of the Water Channel
The core of the palace complex is centered on the Patio de la Acequia ("Courtyard of the Water Canal"), the largest structure. The Patio de la Acequia retains significant original elements alongside later modifications. Its gardens are modern replacements but they follow the original layout: a quadripartite division with a central water channel running down its long middle axis.

circa 1585 CE

Courtyard of the Sultana
The "Courtyard of the Sultana" or "the Courtyard of the Cypresses of the Sultana" (Patio de la Sultana or Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana), is located directly northeast of the "Main Water Canal Court". Occupied by pools, gardens, and paved paths, this courtyard's current design and construction date from after the Nasrid period. The arcaded structure on its north side was built between 1584 and 1586.


See Also


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