Legends and Tales of the Alhambra in Granada

The Tale of the Sultana’s Patio

Every historical monument has legends and tales to tell, the Alhambra is no exception. Dating back so many hundreds of years, stories of happenings in the Moorish palace abound. Washington Irving wrote his book “Tales of the Alhambra” while staying in the palace itself. Chatting to the locals he discovered a wealth of legends, gossip and general tittle tattle, passed down from generation to generation, about the palace’s inmates of yore.

El patio de la Sultana, Generalife, Alhambra, Granada Casa Tagomago

The Sultana’s Patio, a romantic meeting place. See the old cypress tree trunk on the left

Boabdil, the last Sultan of Granada and his wife, Morayma are the protagonists of this legend. A scheming courtier revealed to Boabdil that his consort was secretly meeting a dashing young gentleman, a member of the Abencerrajes tribe. The lovers’ moonlight trysts took place under a cypress tree in the Patio de la Sultana in the Generalife.

El patio de la Sultana Generalife, Alhambra, Granada

The fountain playing, a background to the lover’s whispering

The legend tells how in his fury, Boabdil had the whole Abencerraje tribe murdered in one of the Alhambra’s chambers. To this day, some say that the rusty stains seen in the fountain in this chamber are really the blood of the unsuspecting victims. See for yourself when you visit the Chamber of the Abencerrajes in the Alhambra. Is it blood or is it just rust?

Sadly, all that remains of the cypress tree is its large, dried out trunk, a witness to its age and size… and maybe to much more. Who knows what tales it could tell?

The Alhambra is just 30 minutes from Casa Tagomago. Don’t forget to book well in advance. Tickets available 3 months before your preferred date. If you prefer a guided tour you can book one here with Civitatis

Featured photo by Marco Torres Walker for Casa Tagomago

First published by Susan at Casa Tagomago