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Generalife: Plaque describing the Abencerrajes legend in the Patio de la Sultana (Sultana’s Court)


Plaque describing the Abencerrajes legend in the Patio de la Sultana (Sultana’s Court)
The plaque shown in the image is embedded in a wall located on the eastern side of the Patio de la Sultana (Sultana’s Court), a part of the Generalife Palace in Granada, Spain.

The Spanish text in the plaque refers to the dried-up trunk of a cypress tree standing next to it to describe a story that is central to the Legend of the Abencerrajes. Experts believe that this tree was alive during the Nasrid period and lived for 600 years.

The plaque says “Cuenta la leyenda que este ciprés de la sultana fue testigo de la amorios de un Caballero Abenceraje y la esposa de Boabdil”
Here is a rough translation:
“Legend has it that this Cypress Tree of the Sultana was a witness to the love affair of an Abencerraje Knight and Boabdil’s wife.”

According to the legend, 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 the 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
Patio de la Sultana – A view of the Sultana’s Court from the south side
Pond with a fountain located at the center of the Patio de la Sultana
Cypress Tree of the Abencerrajes Legend Fame
Sala de los Abencerrajes (Hall of the Abencerrajes) of the Nasrid Palaces in the Alhambra
Palacio de los Abencerrajes – Abencerrajes Palace in the Medina

Related Pages
Generalife – Heavenly Gardens of the Nasrids
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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