Granada is a Spanish city in Andalusia and the birthplace of the famous gypsy flamenco. Nature, sun, culture and customs of the peoples living in this corner make the city unlike any other. There are majestic temples and cueva caves, a flamenco school and stunning parks.
Who travels to Granada and why
Granada differs from the rest of the cities of Andalusia with its unique culture. For the city, successfully located between the rocks, battles and bloody wars have been fought since ancient times. He passed from one hand to another, and each successive owner wanted to leave behind a memory for ever. Therefore, there are so many palaces, churches, forts and fortresses in the city. Architecture and history buffs can plunge headlong into Granada’s past.
From here, the Sierra Nevada is within easy reach, which means that fans of ski resorts can buy uniforms for downhill skiing. The famous Costa Tropical coast is also not far away — a little more than fifty kilometers along the highway.
After swimming in the sea, you can learn how to dance flamenco with the local gypsies, and then dine in one of the cozy restaurants, savoring the local wine.
Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel
The temple complex was erected in the 15th century on the site of a mosque. For those times, it was a normal practice — Islam in Granada was actively eradicated by Christians. Outwardly, the cathedral does not make a pompous impression, but no money was spared for the generous decoration of the interior decoration. There are carved columns with frescoes by eminent artists and bewitching majestic vaults, richly decorated with gilding.
Next to the main shrine of the city is the Royal Chapel — the tomb of the monarchs. By area, it is the largest in Spain. Revered people of the past are buried here, for example, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon.
Monastery of Saint Jerome
This is the first building that was built by the Spaniards after the reconquest of local lands from the Moors. The monastery was designed by Diego de Siloe, who later worked on the creation of the Cathedral of Granada. Currently, the remains of Fernando González de Cordoba, who was the commander of the Spanish army during the Reconquista, are buried in the shrine.
Church of St. Egidius and St. Anne
The Catholic Cathedral, located near the main shrine of Granada, is very compact and differs markedly from its own kind, as it is made in the Mudéjar style. This is a special fusion of Catholic and Muslim architecture.
Previously, a mosque stood on the site of the cathedral, as evidenced by the well-preserved minaret, which was converted into a bell tower. The interior of the church cannot be called rich, but visitors pay attention to the coffered vault and wall paintings.
The appearance of the monastery can be called nondescript, which cannot be said about the interior. Inside the Carthusian monastery you can see medieval paintings, beautiful frescoes, paintings and stucco.
There is a chapel on the territory of the shrine. Despite the fact that the construction of the temple was completed relatively recently (in the 19th century), unfortunately, it was not possible to preserve the decoration in its original form.
Dar al-Orra Palace
The palace was erected in the 15th century, and a few centuries earlier, a castle belonging to the Zirid dynasty stood in its place. The name of the palace in translation from Persian means “Queen’s House”. It was originally built for the mother of the last sultan ruling in Granada.
After the Spaniards came to these lands, the castle was turned into a monastery. Interestingly, the interior decoration of the architectural monument has been preserved in its original form, despite numerous reconstructions.
Elvira Gate and Monite Gate
During the rule of Granada by the Moors, the arch of Elvira served as the main entrance to the city. It was called after the city of Elvir, where the central road led. The gate was part of a large complex, which included a city wall and a fortress that protected Granada from enemy attacks.
Not far from the arch there is another gate — Monaita. They were built much earlier — in the 9th century and were called the “gates of the epochs”.
This is the place where Muslim traditions were kept until the beginning of the 13th century. It was then that the representatives of this culture were going to create a “heaven on earth.” An archway leads to the palace, which is called the Gates of Justice. It is believed that in ancient times, petty matters concerning the public were heard here. Low-lying problems were not supposed to “get” even to the park.
In the courtyard, everything is measured down to centimeters and lined up in perfect order: galleries, bowls of water, sculptures, towers. Some of the buildings have telling names — Thieves, Sultans, etc.
Moorish (Arab) baths of El Banuelo
With the dominance of Christian culture and the expulsion of the Arabs from the territory of Granada, it was decided to destroy many hammams and baths. According to the Spaniards, they were akin to brothels. However, El Banuelo miraculously survived. This complex of buildings was built back in the 11th century, and today the architectural structure is the oldest in Andalusia.
Inside, the hammam is quite traditional for its time: three rooms, arched vaults, high ceilings, small holes in the ceiling, reminiscent of the starry sky, capitals and massive columns.
Recreation and entertainment
Gardens of the Generalife
Next to the summer residence of the Moorish monarchs, which adjoins the Alhambra, are the stunning gardens of the Generalife. Oddly enough, tourists have heard much more about them than about the palace itself.
The ideal time to visit the park is in the evening, when the fountains are illuminated by colorful lights, and the smells from fruit trees and flowers become most intense.
The interactive museum of Andalusia was opened in the mid-90s. It will be interesting for both adults and children. Complex mathematical, biological and chemical knowledge is presented by event organizers through games. In addition to attending training sessions, you can admire the expositions of the museum: anatomical models, robots and hydromechanical structures.
Darro Street and Alley of the Sorrowful
The street is considered the most picturesque in Granada. It winds along the course of the river of the same name, somewhat repeating both its course and its steep temper. From the hill where Darro leads at the end, a beautiful view of the Alhambra quarter opens up.
The Alley of Sorrows has long been chosen by tourists. Here the best conditions are created for them: there are souvenir shops, shops and restaurants. It is not known for certain why the alley received such a strange name — sadness here can only be caused by the transience of time, and on this occasion the Spaniards, as a rule, do not want to be sad.
During the Moorish dominance, this area of the city was considered the most populous and popular. It was located in the center of Granada and was the center of public life.
Albayzin, like no other quarter of the city, conveys the whole flavor of local aesthetics: narrow streets, endless stairs, houses with small balconies. Even seven hundred years later, little has changed here — only 30 cathedrals and 50 restaurants have been added over time.
Observation deck on St. Nicholas Square
The square is the center of the old quarter of Albaicin. It is located on a hill, so it offers stunning views of Granada with its snow-white houses. Life here is in full swing at any time of the day.
You can admire the city from an even higher point from the observation deck of San Nicolás. A particularly romantic atmosphere reigns here at sunset.
District and Abbey of Sacromonte
The world-famous area has become the birthplace of flamenco and the most beautiful Andalusian girls. Once upon a time, the Spanish gypsies “gitanos” settled here for the first time, who lived right in the caves. Those are still inhabited today, and many are even well-maintained — they have electricity and running water.
The main attraction of the Sacromonte area is the abbey of the same name. According to beliefs, Saint Cecilio, who was the first bishop of Granada and is now the patron saint of the city, once died at the hands of the Romans.
Isabella Square and Coal Yard
Tourist sightseeing in Granada usually begins with Isabella Square. In its center is a monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus and Isabella of Castile. It was this woman who helped the navigator get from the coast of Spain to India.
The coal yard is one of the iconic places located on this square. In Moorish times, merchants and small traders stopped here for a while.