The Irrigation Ditch Patio de la Acequia

The small canal is surreound by orange trees, cypresses and roses with little jets of water and stone basins on either side are an oasis of calm in the heart of the Alhambra distributing water to many parts of the palace.

The Patio of the Irrigation Ditch

The Irrigation Ditch (Patio de la Acequia) is a canal that distributes water from the irrigation ditch in Alhambra. The small canal is surreound by orange trees, cypresses and roses with little jets of water and stone basins on either side.

Two pavillions close of the patio to the north and south. It is on the southern pavillion is where you will find the main entrance.

Through the central arch it is possible to access a mirador with three little arches on each side, which have been decorated like the rest of the hall. A little arch at the right end leads to a staircase that is connected to the basements and the lower gardens. On the opposite wall in the patio there is a similar arch that leads to the upper gardens.

The northern pavilion was lower, as it was only formed by the portico that lead to a hall and a tower at the back, but in 1494 two floors and other constructions were added to it. The portico has five arches and leads to a hall through three completely decorated arches that rest on columns with capitals of mocarabes. There are bedchambers at its ends and on the front wall there are three arches. The middle arch leads to a mirador-tower, which probably dates from 1319 and from which there is a view of the gardens and of the valley of the river Darro. Its hall is covered by terrace decorated with interlacing patterns.

During the Christian period, two chambers were added on the sides. Collections of portraits of the royal family and of the Granada family were there kept and they are now in the Casa de los Tiros and in Italy respectively. These chambers were pulled down in 1926 and the building therefore recovered its original appearance.

 

Court of the Sultana’s Cypress Tree

The chambers already mentioned are to the left and to the right is the Court of the Sultana’s Cypress Tree (Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana). 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. The patio is so called because of the old cypresses that are in the verandas, the most famous of which is the Cypress of the Sultana (Ciprés de la Sultana) in which, according to the legend, Boabdil’s wife used to meet a knight of the Abencerrajes family. This triggered the death of the people of this noble tribe, whose throats were slit.

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 Water Stairway, is especially beautiful because of its beauty and originality. It is supposed to be the oldest staircase in these gardens (it already 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.

Two regal pleasure palaces, Palace of Dar al-Arusa and Palace of the Alixares, stood on the lands covering the area between the valley of the river Darro and that of the river Genil. They were abandoned and the passing of time has ended up destroying them. Recent excavations discovered them and showed their richness and magnificence, as well as the beautiful decorative elements that have been found.

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