Granada played a central roll in my life, when I was travelling in Nicaragua. I went there, left, came back, left again, came back, stayed, lived and taught yoga at PURE yoga, health, adventure. Being there it made me wonder how much Granada looked like Granada in Spain. The answer: nothing at all. But Granada in Spain is an amazing place to visit. If you go, here are five things to do in Granada.
The Albaycín, the old Muslim quarter of Granada, is a mix of Moorish architecture and traditional Andalusian architecture. It still bears witness to the medieval Moorish settlement. Its urban fabric, architecture and main characteristics were not changed when it was adapted to the Christian way of life. Now it’s a remarkable example of a historical Spanish-Moorish town.
When the Reconquista was completed in 1492 the Muslims the Christian population took over the quarter. The new late Gothic or early Plateresque churches and monasteries harmonized with the existing architecture. The significance of the Albayzín lies in the medieval town plan with its narrow streets and small squares and in the relatively modest houses in Moorish and Andalusian style.
Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand liked Granada so much, they decided they wanted to be there forever and gave in 1501 order to build a new Cathedral, which would be their grave. They choose to build it on the site of the most important mosque of the city. The construction, which began in Gothic style, but was finished in Renaissance style, started one year after Isabella died and was finished one year after the dead of Ferdinand.
c/ Oficios, s/n. 18001. Granada
The Alhambra is a red, Moorish fortress and castle. (Qa’lat al-Hamra means Red Castle). It is set on top of the hill al-Sabika, on the left bank of the river Darro, west of the city of Granada. The castle of the Alhambra was built in the 9th century, in an already existing city. In spite of this, it was not until the arrival of the first king of the Nasrid dynasty, Mohammed ben Al-Hamar (Mohammed I, 1238-1273), in the 13th century, that the royal residence was established in the Alhambra.
The Catholic Monarchs who took over Granada, demolished parts of the Alhambra. Especially Charles V, who ordered the demolition of a part of the complex in order to build the palace which bears his name. During the French domination part of the fortress was blown up and it was not until the 19th century that the process of repairing, restoring and preserving the complex started and is still maintained nowadays.
Despite all demolitions, reconstructions etcetera walking in the Alhambra is like walking through a fairy-tale.
Mirador the San Nicolas is a small public, but lively square, where craftsmen trying to sell you their art and street musicians and flamenco dancers give performances. But the biggest attraction isn’t the square itself, the San Nicolás Church in front of it or the artists, but the panoramic views over the city center, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Rio Darro canyon and the grand Alhambra palace.
Spain is tapas country: small little dishes. I’m a big food lover. A part of this blog is even dedicated to food. Being in Spain is being in heaven. I like to try out different dishes and eating tapas is just that. In the center of Granada at a lot of places you get some tapas when you order a beer, sangria or something else to drink. Another good option to eat tapas is around Universidad de Granada; Facultad de Ciencias.