Patio del Ciprés
Courtyard in Granada
What does the Patio del Ciprés look like?
The patio is around a building which dates to the arcades there is an intimate landscaped courtyard of Baroque period. This patio has a central pond surrounded by a myrtle hedge and in the middle of the pond there is another little pond with a stone fountain, and the whole area is embellished with arcing fountains.
A big 19th century stone staircase with a portico and two lions made of glazed pottery of Granada leads to the high part of the gardens, which go from the Hill of the Sun (Cerro del Sol) to the street Rey Chico. These gardens are hanging gardens that include simple vegetable gardens, myrtle clumps, trimmed boxes or hundred-year-old cypresses.
One of the staircases that are in these gardens, the Escalera del Agua. It is the oldest staircase in these gardens and existed in the Muslim period. The staircase is divided in three flights, each with a fountain and handrails that are channels with running water. The staircase is surrounded by laurels that join their crowns and form a vault. The sun shines through this laurel vault and the light contributes to the extremely beautiful scene.
Where does the Patio del Ciprés get its name?
The Patio del Ciprés or Courtyard of the Cypress Trees is so called because of the old cypresses that are in the verandas.
The Legend of the Cypress of the Sultana
It is here that the trunk of a 700-year-old cypress tree, where the Sultan supposedly caught his wife with a knight of the Abencerraje clan, leading to the murders in the Sala de los Abencerrajes. We are not entirely sure of which Sultan and Sultana the legend refers to, but it was probably Muley Hacén with his wife or concubine Soraya, but could also have been his son Boabdil and his wife Morayma.
History of the Patio del Ciprés
The building around the courtyard is from 1584. Originally, the entire space, as we saw, was occupied by the Palace’s bathroom, of which there is apparently nothing left, except perhaps, the entrance to the flow of water from the ditch that must have supplied it before continuing to the adjoining Patio, which can be seen cascading through the gap in the side wall. In the center there is a swimming pool with a plan drawing in the shape of a “U”, in the center of which, in the 19th century, there was a small stone fountain.
The whole complex is surrounded by jets that release water, achieving a cool atmosphere that already in 1526 strongly impressed the Ambassador of the Republic of Venice Andrea Navaggiero on his visit to the Generalife.
Where is the Patio del Ciprés located?
If you have time and don’t mind climbing several stairs, you can visit the upper area of the Generalife estate, through the gate that centers the Patio in front of the gallery. Crossing the lateral alcove of the Sala Regia one ascends, at the level of an open corridor, to the so-called Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana.
From this patio you can follow the exit itinerary, through a small door located in the southern corner, which leads back to the Patio de la Acequia and the continuation of the visit to the Monumental Complex.
Other names of Patio del Ciprés
The Patio del Ciprés has the following names: Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana.
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Visiting Patio del Ciprés
For opening times of the Patio del Ciprés the Generalife see Alhambra Opening Times.