Before we get to the Palace of Generalife we can find some previous patios. All togegher help us to understand the functions and uses of the Generalife Almunia.
The first courtyard, known as the Patio Polo, is also known as the Patio del Descabalgamiento since it was here where riders dismounted from their horses when they got to the Palacio del Generalife. It was used as a stable, with a drinking trough for the animals and the stables in the lower area as well as rooms (al-gurfa) for the stablemen and hay loft in the upper part.
To get to the Patio Polo in the Nasrid period you followed the traditional path from the Alhambra leading to the Generalife, through the Gate of the Arrabal in the Tower of the Picos and up a winding and steep walled passage. It is at present the first courtyard in the Palace of the Generalife you visit after passing through the New or Lower Gardens.
The next courtyard is known as the Patio de la Soldadesca. Inside the access gate to this courtyard we can see the benches where the guards rested.
Today it is an area decorated with bitter orange trees which provide pleasant shade, a small fountain in the middle and benches where visitors could sit and rest. The crossing to the Patio de la Acequia is done via a steep stairway which shows the two key Nasrid symbols (greeting and domain): the hand and the key inside it.