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The Majesty of Generalife, Andalucia

The Majesty of Generalife, Andalucia

Issue 64 January 2010

For the first in our series of international gardens, emel features the magnificent gardens of Alhambra, Granada.

 

Gardens have always been an enduring feature of Islamic culture. Motivated by the Qur’anic descriptions of the ultimate Garden, caliphs and sultans, emperors and amirs, princes and regents were invigorated enough to recreate a distant resemblance of that final Garden. The poet Sa’id composed for the caliph al-Mansur, “And the gardens reveal the splendour/of the daisy’s smile/and the tender narcissus gazes/at the anemone’s cheek/while the gentle wind bears/the scent of sweet basil/may you pass an eternal lifetime here/in happiness and peace.”

Popularly known as the Generalife, the palatial gardens in Granada, Spain were originally known in Arabic as the jannat al-areef (the architect’s garden). The gardens were the ultimate relaxation spot for the 12th century Sultan of Granada, Muhammad III. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, the Palace was designed as a rural villa in the vicinity of the Alhambra, with decorative gardens, fruit and vegetable patches, courts and other structures to aid courtly contemplation and royal relaxation.  

After the expulsion of the Muslims from Spain, the Catholic monarchs had assigned a keeper to watch over the Palace and its gardens and make improvements. In 1631 the keeper’s charge was given to the Granada-Venegas family until 1921, when the state was awarded custody of the premises. Today, the Generalife consists of the High and Lower gardens, two Grand Courts, a water stairway, two promenades, numerous water ponds and the Generalife Palace, which was originally linked to the Alhambra by a covered walkway across the ravine that now divides them.

 

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Comments

1 Comment

1

mathew

6 Jan 10, 07:34

Nice post. The word “Generalife” can be translated as garden of paradise, garden of feasts. In garden there are Fruits as well as flowers,plants are selected for their aromas and color.Garden has abundance of cool breeze due to open terraces.The Water-Garden Courtyard has a long pool framed by flowerbeds, fountains, and pavilions. In a year 2 million visitors are visiting garden. Alhambra is a popular tourist atrraction. surrounding the Alhambra can be viewed without a ticket. For more details refer http://www.theearthtraveler.com/the-gardens-of-feasts.html

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