The Emir’s Summer Residence
The Summer Place with its mesmerising water gardens is located outside of the Alhambra’s walls and to reach it we had to stroll back into the direction of the entrance gate and ticket office. I would recommend allowing time to visit the Emir’s summer residence after collecting tickets and before making your way inside the Alhambra’s main complex and the timed entry system for the Nasrid Palace. On our way to the palace we went into one of the guard towers of the fort, although we were not able to climb to the top, which Jerome would have probably enjoyed. There were also several parts of the beautiful gardens with views over the old city.
How to secure tickets for the Alhambra read here.
Manicured Gardens of the Generalife
Our wish that the crowds would have diminished or dispersed by the time we would get to the summer palace “Generalife” sadly did not come true and we found ourselves again in a throng of people being pushed through the sights. The arrangement of manicured cypresses combined with the trickling water fountains did not have the intended soothing effect with so many others. I would have loved to have a chance to view the palace more alone. Walking along the ornamented pathways we soon arrived at the Emir’s Summer Palace.
The Summer Palace
The white washed walls of the Summer Palace made it look a world apart from the mud coloured walls of the Alhambra.It’s design and architecture was much more in line with the houses found in the Albaicin – the Muslim quarter – that can be seen across the valley. Only a limited number of rooms are accessible to visitors of the Alhambra but they truly miss out on one of the unique feature of the Summer Place.
The Escalera del Aqua
The delightful Escalera del Aqua (water stairs) is without a doubt the highlight of the Generalife. The path leads up from the gardens beside a tree shaded staircase with water cascading down either side of the steps, where usually the banisters can be found. Most children will enjoy putting their hands into the cool water that runs all the way from the Sierra Nevada mountains in underground channels that were built during the reign of the Moors. The cooling water is especially a delight on a hot Summer’s day.
Visiting the Palaces Inside the Alhambra
We finished our stroll through the mesmerising Summer Gardens weaving through the flowerbeds. Our way would return across the entrance bridge to the main Alhambra complex back through the gardens towards the Carlos V Palace and the Alcazaba at the other end of the Alhambra complex.
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