Palacio del Generalife
Palacio del Generalife or Palace of Generalife is a palace within the Generalife in the Alhambra Complex, in Granada, Spain.
The entrance to the Generalife building presents a curious duality. On the one hand, its external appearance has an unquestionable rural character that makes it more like a farmhouse than a palatial enclosure, responding to Ibn Luyun’s description of the Hispanic-Muslim community in his Treaty of Agriculture. On the other hand, access through the succession of two courtyards at different levels clearly links it with access to the Alhambra palace itself.
The first patio, modernly called Patio del Descabalgamiento because it has benches to get off the saddles, offers two side naves, perhaps used by stable boys.
The second is located on a higher level, originally it was surrounded by galleries with arches on all its fronts except the central one, through which one climbs inside the palace.
The entrance to the palace itself is made through a small door with marble elements and a tiled lintel, in whose key of the arch the key motif is repeated. A staircase introduces us into the domestic space, distributed by the Acequia courtyard and dominated by the North Pavilion. This opens with the usual arcaded gallery, with five arches and alcoves at the ends, giving way to the Royal Room and the Ismail I viewpoint.
In the Royal Hall, the plasterwork, the tacas and the precious capitals of muqarnas take center stage. Likewise, the interior distribution of the room responds to the usual scheme, with lateral alcoves framed by arches. The cantilevered cornice of muqarnas under the roof truss is very remarkable.
The Generalife, built between the 12th and 14th centuries, is the palace used by the Muslim kings as a resting place.
The Almunia del Generalife was an ideal hacienda for agricultural exploitation and rest, with a nucleus of residential building and a vast extension of land for cultivation and pasture, compartmentalized in parades or terraces by four large orchards, taking advantage of its orographic profiles.
These orchards are delimited by thick retaining walls, some of which can still be seen. Its Castilian names, preserved and transmitted from very old are: “Colorada”, “Grande”, “Fuente Peña” and “Merceria”, whose current limits must coincide approximately with those of the medieval period. A pastureland surrounds the estate, where horses, farm animals are screened and even served as a hunting ground for the use of the sultan.
The Generalife denomination has received various interpretations throughout its history, from “Garden” or “Huerta del Zambrero”, “the highest of the gardens” or “house of artifice and recreation”, to “Mansion of pleasure or recreation large “and” Garden of the citarista “, being today commonly accepted the one of Garden or Gardens of the Alarife, that is to say, of the builder or architect.
After the conquest in 1492, the Catholic Monarchs granted the estate to a warden for their custody and use. This alcaidía passed in perpetuity, from 1631 to the Granada-Venegas family, until, after a long lawsuit started in the 19th century, it joined the State in 1921.
There were several accesses that it had at its origin, leaving evidence of at least three of them. The most direct communicated the Almunia del Generalife with the Alhambra, through the orchards. Another access was the entrance through the gate, where the huertanos lived, which is still preserved next to the Entrance Pavilion. And the third, by the Postigo de los Carneros, in the highest area of the farm. However, today the official itinerary is accessed between a series of cypress walks, drawn up on the occasion of Elizabeth II’s visit in 1862.
The Generalife, built between the 12th and 14th centuries, is the palace used by the Muslim kings as a place Rest. It was conceived as a rural villa, where ornamental gardens, orchards, patios and buildings are integrated in the vicinity of the Alhambra.
The entrance to the Generalife building presents a curious duality. On the one hand, its external appearance has an unquestionable rural character that makes it more like a farmhouse than a palatial enclosure; on the other, access through the succession of two courtyards at different levels, as previous steps to the palatial space, clearly links it with access to the Alhambra palace itself.
The orchards located to the south of the palace, between the Camino de los Cipreses and the Paseo de los Nogales, began to be transformed into gardens around 1930.
Visiting Palacio del Generalife
For opening times of the Palacio del Generalife see Alhambra Opening Times.
The Palacio del Generalife is part of the Generalife of the Alhambra Complex and access it you need to purchase Alhambra Tickets or a Alhambra Guided Tour.