Granada and Almeria Garden Route

Of course the most emblematic gardens in Granada are those of the Alhambra and Generalife. There are traditional Islamic patios in the Alhambra, such as that of Los Arrayanes, the central pond being a typical feature, with a border of myrtle bushes; that of Los Leones has a central fountain supported by lions, which is a rare motif in Islamic architecture that did not feature animals; though at present there is no greenery, originally it had sunken beds. And there is the Machuca patio, in Renaissance style, like the patio of La Reja and Lindaraja, the latter two with a central fountain. Other gardens are of several styles, such as El Adarve in Renaissance style, laid out on a steep slope with splendid views, or modern such as El Partal wich are the largest, set upon part of the ruins of the old Nasrid Palace imitating the original layout. The San Francisco and El Secano gardens are recent additions.

Generalife gardens

The Generalife is particulary outstanding owing to the lovely Moorish patio of La Acequia and the patio of El Ciprés or of La Sultana, that mixes Moorish and Renaissance features. There are, furthermore, terraced gardens in the Italian style, where one may see the Water Steps. The rest of the Generalife gardens are laid out using cypress hedges- not used in Moorish gardens- and countless fountains dating from the beginning of this century, occupyin the site of old Moorish orchards. On the way up to the Alhambra, one passes through a thick wood of deciduous trees planted in the 18th c. The "Carmen" is typical of the old quarter of Granada, they are villas with beautiful enclosed gardens. One of the most interesting and the clearest example of the traditional Hispano- Moorish garden-orchard id the Los Cipreses carmen, wich has a Moorish pool. The Los Chapiteles carmen has Moorish features, though its basic structure dates from the 17th c. Casa del Chapiz has a patio with a pool similar to that of Comares in the Alhambra, and has a recently laid out garden in the Renaissance style. The largest carmen is that of Los Mártires, frm the beginning of the 19th c., where water is abundantly used, but not in the Moorish way. Other carmines worth mention are that of Acosta - modern- Nuestra Señora de las Angustias, of San Agustín and of Manuel de Falla. On the Road to Sierra Nevada we find Paseo del Salón, a long wide avenue.

At Sierra Nevada there is a plan for making an Alpine garden, with the mountain flora of the area. At Víznar not far away, is Cuzco Palace, that as an 18th c. garden with French and Italian influence and some Moorish features; it is particulary charming in that it unites the leafiness of northern gardens with the light of Andalusian skies; it has a good quantity of fruit trees and two magnificent century old magnolias and, not least, a marvellous view of Sierra Elvira. Outside Loja is the Narváez garden that has an original Romantic design consisting of flower beds with box tree hedges; it likewise has laurel galleries; the garden was possibly designed by one of the last members of the Boutelou family, who were the gardeners of the Bourbons.

On the coast, apart of the many private gardens with exotic plants, there is El Majuelo park in Almuñecar, with a large collection of tropical and semi- tropical plants, particulary palm trees. In Almeria we have the gardens of La Alcazaba, upon bits of the old fortress. Nicolás Salmerón avenue is a wide garden area parallel with the port, home of the Italian lizard, Podarcis sicula, unique in Andalusia. Near the town, is the garden of Pechina, part of a private initiative that is trying to develop gardens for arid areas.

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