Friday, 29 November 2013

Jannat Al-Arif, (generalife) Gardens of the Alhambra

When we came to Granada to visit the Alhambra I did not understand what the term Generalife meant, what was that exactly? It referred to a garden area, a summer palace next to the Alhambra.

Only after doing some research did I understand that it was a distortion of the name Jannat Al-Arif
or Garden of Paradise or of the Architect, the architect here being God, as creator.  In Islamic thought water is the element that gives life to all matter. The Generalife is just East of the Alhambra on an adjoining hill. Summer residence of the Emirs, the relationship between the architectural and the natural has been reversed here, where gardens and water predominate over the Summer Pavilions used as living quarters. The massive boxwood trees, rose, carnation and gillyflower bushes, shrubs, oleanders, willows and cypresses comprise an absolute masterpiece of the art of Horticulture by following the Koranic image of paradise.

The generalife follows a strict description of how to plan and build a garden, the Emirs and their gardeners carefully landscaped this huge area so that water flowed and watered the plants, trees and flowers while providing a peaceful and pleasant view. It is a summer residence and you will find remnants on the South side of 4 different vegetable plots surrounded by walls and then as you walk further the terrace gardens with different themes in their composition.

We visited in November but it was still lovely to see, in must have a very different look in the Spring or Summer.

The Alhambra above Granada with the Sierra Nevada mountains behind.

Patio de la Acequia (main channel)

View of the Alhambra from the Generalife

View of Granada from Generalife

View of the Sierra Nevada

Courtyard of the Sultana or Cypress

 Terraces of the generalife



  1. I'm loving these posts and the pictures! Brings back lots of memories.


  2. I agree with Herr Anonymous.