The courtyard was commissioned by the Nasrid sultan Muhammed V. Its construction started between 1362 and 1391 AD.
At the centre of the courtyard there is a basin that appears to be supported by twelve stone lions that are also water spouts. The stone lions, do not actually support the fountain. The four water channels run from the fountain to divide the courtyard into four quadrants, each of which is twice as long as it is wide.
Some people believe that
the shape of the garden is based on Chahar Bagh : which is a Persian and Indo-Persian quadrilateral garden layout based on the four gardens of Paradise mentioned in the Qur'an. The quadrilateral garden is divided by walkways or flowing water into four smaller parts.