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The Palacia de Generalife is an exciting feature in Spain and is currently on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This estate was actually the summer home of the Nasrid Emirs of the emirate of Granada. They were a palce where the kings could escape, with their harems, and relax from the stresses of the world. Today, the home is located just outside Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. The name, Generalife, literally means “Architect’s Garden”. This is also one of the most mis-pronounced gardens as well, it is not said as “General Life”, but as “Henerel Liffy”. 

The gardens and palace were built under the rule of Muhammad III, and then reconstructed and decorated under Abu I-Walid Isma’il. The grounds are beautiful, featuring a Water courtyard complete with a water channel. The water channel is a long pool with fountain rising up and into it. The pool is framed with flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades, and pavilions. There is also the Sultana’s Garden, also known as the Courtyard of the Cypress, this garden is considered to be the best preservation of the medieval Persian style of garden art. 

The garden is one of the oldest surviving examples of a Moorish garden. The palace was once linked to the Alhambra, another palace, by a covered walkway over the ravine that now divides them. The gardens and water features are, by far, the most beautiful and exciting part of the gardens. The waters, with their continuous play that mixes with light, as well as the soothing and exciting sounds, are as impressive in form as they are in beauty. The gardens were actually designed with the intent of tranquility. There is trickling water everywhere on the grounds, creating a cooling sensation for the senses. The fountains create water arches, long streams of flowing water, with fragrant flowers adding to the exotic and soothing experience of the gardens. 

Today, the gardens are open to visitors, which began in 1931. The present gardens were completed by Francisco Prieto Moreno in 1951. The walkways feature traditional paved Grenadian style, with stunning mosaic of pebbles. The white pebbles come from the River Darro and the black pebbles come from the River Genil. The gardens, including Alhambra, feature a general admission of 13.00 Euros and the gardens only are 6.00 Euros. There is a superb team of gardeners that keep the gardens and fountain running in perfect condition!

These gardens are considered to be paradise on earth. These gardens are one of the only examples of Arab Art that gives an historical example of how the gardens would have been used during the time of the kings who lived here. They feature all of the Arab spirit, construction, and sensuality. This style encompasses a wide range of secular and religious styles. The gardens are still a place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and literally be transported to an entirely different time and place. It seems like a sultan would just come strolling through the gardens at any point!