Generalife: Patio de la Sultana (Sultana’s Court)

Patio de la Sultana (Sultana's Court) in the Generalife, Granada, Spain

Patio de la Sultana (Sultana’s Court)

Patio de la Sultana (Sultana’s Court)
The image shows the Patio de la Sultana (Sultana’s Court) located adjacent to the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Irrigation Canal).

The court has a water-filled ditch surrounding the rectangular platform. At the center of this platform is a square pond in the middle flanked by two garden patches, each surrounded by a hedge of myrtle bushes. There is a basin with a fountain at the center of the pond. As you can see from the image, several water sprouts on the platform and the corridors are spurting water, creating semi oval-shaped water jets.

Also known as the Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana (Sultana’s Cypress Tree Court), this court is part of a legend centered around a cypress tree whose dried up trunk is still standing on the eastern side of the court.

The legend has it that Morayma (Maryam bint Ibrahim al-’Attarthe), the wife of Muhammad XII (known as Boabdil, the last Sultan of Granada), had an affair with a knight belonging to the Abencerrajes, a warrior clan fiercely loyal to the Nasrids. The lovers used to meet underneath the shade of this cypress tree in the moonlight.

A courtier eventually discovered their secret and revealed it to the Nasrids. Enraged by the affair, Boabdil ordered the killing of the members of the Abencerrajes clan. He invited them for a meeting at his palace. The unsuspecting members accepted the invitation and gathered in a hall. While they were waiting for the king, his guards closed the doors of the hall and assassinated as many as 30 of them.

Although there is no historical or archaeological evidence to prove that this event ever took place, the fascinating story of romance and the palace intrigue has caught the imagination of people and helped to keep the mystique of the Alhambra alive.

The hall where the alleged killings took place became known as Sala de los Abencerrajes (Hall of the Abencerrajes), which is a part of the Palace of Lions in the Nasrid Palaces located in the Alhambra.

Related Images
Pond with a fountain located in the middle of the Patio de la Sultana
Cypress Tree of the Abencerrajes Legend Fame in the Patio de la Sultana
Plaque describing the Abencerrajes Legend in the Patio de la Sultana
Sala de los Abencerrajes (Hall of the Abencerrajes) – A hall belonging to the Nasrid Palaces in the Alhambra
Palacio de los Abencerrajes – Abencerrajes Palace in the Medina

Related Pages
Generalife – Heavenly Gardens of the Nasrids
Alhambra
Palacios Nazaríes – Nasrid Palaces – A Shining Example of Moorish Art and Architecture
Los Jardines del Partal – The Gardens of the Partal
Alcazaba – A Formidable Fortress of the Nasrids
Medina, the Bustling City
Alhambra – Christian-Era Monuments
Alhambra – Outer Monuments

Copyright © 2020 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.

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