The Generalife, Granada

Adjacent to the Alhambra is the Generalife, the summer palace of the Nasrid rulers of Al-Andalus with its splendid gardens, and this is the subject of part 3 of my Alhambra photo-series.

The Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Long Pond) at the Generalife

Fountains in the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Long Pond) at the Generalife

Flowers in the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Long Pond) at the Generalife

Archway carving at the Generalife

Gallery at the Generalife

Fountain and pool in Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana at the Generalife

Looking out from the Generalife towards the Alhambra

As with the Alhambra palaces, patience is key when visiting the Generalife; it seems near impossible to access it at a quite time so the best advice is to go in (you can only enter once by the way, multiple visits are not permitted) and to simply wait for breaks in the crowd.  In one of these rare moments you can then view and fully appreciate the gardens and buildings without trying to look over or around someone else.

My wife and I used the same trick in the palaces; simply hang back and let the flow of people pass you by.  It amazed my how quickly people moved through the palace complex; a click of the camera here and there and they were off to the next room leaving one to wonder how many visitors to the Alhambra actually see it, rather than just glance, point and shoot?

The palace rooms are places to linger, to allow oneself to be consumed by the detail and exquisiteness of the architecture and craftsmanship and to imagine them as they once were at their most opulent; to move through them in a manner that lacks in focus or concentration and as though one is in a great rush to reach the end is perverse: why bother going at all?

Before I finish I implore you to do one thing should you visit the palaces: sit on the floor and look around you.  You may get some odd looks but who really cares about that?  What you will also get, however, is a great perspective of the buildings; the Nasrid rulers would have filled the floors with cushions and sat on them and so you get to experience the rooms as they may have done, to a degree at least.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Your comment about sitting down, taking in, the place where you visit is oh so important. I tell visitors who come here to these gardens, and to this stretch of shore along Lake Michigan, to do the same. I remind them to sit, take a photo image in their mind, then they will long remember and “feel” this location well after they have gone home. It works here, and no doubt it works for you. Great minds as they say! Jack


    • Hi Jack, thanks for visiting. I quite agree; gardens, landscapes, nature, none of it can be truly enjoyed if you’re in a mindset that is geared up for dashing from place to place and trying to pack in as much as possible. As the saying goes, less is often more. Jason.


  2. Lovely photos, Jason. (Though if I may say so you should perhaps post larger versions? That second one is a real beaut but difficult to appreciate as its so small. You go to all the trouble of posting all this and all I can do is criticise. How rude?).

    Crowd mentality in places of interest and beauty is fascinating, I think. At the Louvre I was bemused by crowds of people huddled about the Mona Lisa taking shots with their mobile phones over the heads of the people in front. A rubbish, forgettable photo – they would’ve been better off really enjoying the painting and buying a postcard on the way out. Grumble over.



    • Fair grumble about the Louvre, much the same in any gallery of note; the problem, too many tourists!!! I take your point about the picture size; I started making them smaller (the original size is much larger) because someone complained some time ago now that the pictures took too long to load because they were too big! Perhaps I’ll find a compromise and do them a bit larger in future but not so large as the originals?? Hope all is well with you? Is January still keeping you busy down at the Priory or do you get a chance for a bit of a breather before the spring kicks in (although it already seems to be kicking in!)?


      • Yes, I remember that comment about photo size on your blog (Mastermind specialist subject: comments on agardenereslifeforme!). I do think that was a one off though from someone with a very slow pc. I’ve never had a similar comment myself and there are a lot of other blogs out there with high resolution photos.

        No, no real chance for a breather. I’m rather behind if anything. The grass grew for so long and still needed cutting that I didn’t have much time for many of my usual December jobs eg mulching the beds. Running to stand still at the moment. Of course I would never grumble!!

      • Impressive, I can’t recall most of the comments I’ve had (except that particular one, probably because it was a complaint!!)

        I think gardening is often running to stand to still; do we ever get all the things done that we’d like?

  3. Posted by hb on January 7, 2012 at 23:24

    Very true about sitting and waiting. I’ve done that in the Desert Garden at the Huntington, at the National Gallery, in all kinds of places, and experiencing both the place as well as the ebb and flow of the human tide is transfixing. Our rush-rush-rush through life isn’t the best way. Thoughtful post; thank you.


    • Hi there, thanks for visiting and I’m pleased that you found the post interesting. Quite agree with your last comment, I think modern life is becoming too much hare and not enough tortoise!


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