The Palace and gardens are separate from the Alhambra and were used by the Nasrid kings as a retreat and a place of rest, particularly in the summer months.
The Generalife is located in the so-called Cerro del Sol and was built by Ismail I, who reigned between 1314 and 1325. In 1931 it was extended and the gorgeous gardens and cypress mazes were created around the palace.
The Generalife is surrounded by orchards, which used to supply the kitchens of the Alhambra. The Palace had all the necessary amenities. The Patio del Descabalgamiento was the entrance, where riders dismounted their horses, and from there they entered the Patio de la Acequia. The water feature here runs lengthways along the gardens as well a pool and a fountain, both of which were added some centuries later.
The Pabellón Sur was possibly a harem whilst the Pabellón Norte housed the apartments of the monarch. The Patio de la Sultana got its name because, according to legend, the aged cypress (which is today just a tree trunk) witnessed the infidelities of the King’s favourite with a gentleman from the Abencerraje family. At the centre of the patio there is a pond with a fountain that is surrounded by oleander, ivy and bougainvillea.