Sunday, 8 January 2017

Granada - Part 3

The Gardens of the Alhambra

Sunday 6 November dawned cold, but with crisp, clear blue skies. A perfect day for our tour and exploration of the Alhambra in Granada.

My previous post describes the beauty and history of the palaces, fort and church, however the gardens, even in their fading autumn colour, were just as impressive and deserving of their own post.

The Alhambra, built on Sabika Hill and overlooking Granada, is surrounded by parkland. Within the Alhambra complex, the Moors created unique, luxuriant  gardens - 'an earthly paradise'. They combined tree plantings with vegetable gardens, water features, colourful and aromatic plants to ensure that beauty and harmony reigned supreme.

On leaving the Mirador Patio [enclosed garden], we took a path through the Cypress Promenade.

Looking through the arches created in the cypress, we had views to the Sierra's and the gardens of El Partal, the residence of Sultan Yusuf III.

We continued on passed the Tower of the Princesses, through the Alhambra Wall and entered the overseers gardens - orchards and vegetable plots to provide for the palaces.

View from the overseers garden back to the church and palaces, with Granada in the valley below.

View to our exit gate, Princess's Tower and church.

Panorama view.

Views walking to the Generalife - architects garden.

The Generalife fell into disrepair in the 1700's, but was placed under protection as an international monument in 1870. Between 1931 -32, the architect Torres Balbas, recreated these gardens using the Moorish theme. This area was also a 'one off tour area', with a huge volume of people and far too quick a passage. The Generalife garden is behind the cypress hedge of the above photo.

On entry, there was a very long rectangular garden, with a central water feature running its length. The water feature was bordered by a low hedge of myrtles and then higher cypress hedging. About every 20 m, this water feature was interrupted by a cluster of trees and a small fountain. Delightful side gardens were beckoning to be explored on either side of this central area. 

Oh, the frustration of too many people and lack of time to enjoy this exquisite garden.

The inner garden of the Generalife is called Patio de la Acquia and was built in the christian period. Its main feature is the criss- crossed water jets bringing music to the garden. The arches on the left give stunning views to the Alhambra and Granada.

At the far end, we walked through to the Patio of the Cypresses. Its central pond is surrounded by myrtle hedge and roses. In its centre is a smaller pond, with a stone fountain.

The tree trunk is that of a once 700 year old cypress. I'm not sure when it died.

Just outside the Patio of the Cypresses was this, I believe, 300 year old magnolia tree.

The latter part of the day was spent in the fort area, where the gardens still kept me captivated. What a massive task to keep the hedges trimmed.

I wonder how old this wisteria vine is!

Views from the ramparts of the fort.

Across the Palaces of the Nasrids to the Generalife gardens.

River Darro and Santa Ana Church.

This is where I stood a week ago, taking my photos across to the Alhambra. A very popular spot in the Albaicin.

At the southern end of the fort, one looks down onto the old city and the size and majesty of the Cathedral.

Closer to the fort is the Plaza de Santa Ana.

Smiling on a perfect day in a perfect place.

Our leafy descent from the Alhambra was a continuation of the beauty of the day.

At sunset I dragged Frank back up to the Darro River to capture these evening shots of the Alhambra and a rising moon. I needed my tripod.

A perfect farewell to this amazing city. The following morning saw us on another Alsa Coach for the journey to Cordoba. I hope you can come along, as the Moors also made a great impact on this city too.
I would love to read your comment.


  1. What lovely gardens! A pity it was so crowded but at least you got to visit them. Love your night shots too.

  2. Thanks so much for this post! The pictures were lovely, and they showed me the inspiration for one of my favorite classical pieces, Manuel de Falla's "Nights In the Gardens of Spain". I got my first LP version of that in 1959, and still listen to that recording at least once every couple of months. Thanks again.

  3. What fabulous gardens, Helen!
    They do look like a paradise. It's easy to understand why water features and the refreshing shade offered by the trees were appreciated in the Mediterranean climate already a very long time ago.
    The wisteria is truly stunning.
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos!

  4. Wow! I will probably never get there, but I feel like I tagged along with you. What a beautiful place!

  5. Happy New Year Helen!
    What an amazing garden you have shared with us. I would so love to visit. The wisteria must love where it is growing to have such a thick stem!!!
    Have a wonderful Wednesday :)

  6. I knew the Alhambra and its gardens were large and stunning but really no idea just how magnificent. Wonderful photos and a magical tour, thanks for taking me round! :)