Discover Grenade (Spain)
Grenade is blessed with a Moorish heritage dating back more than 700 years.
The pinnacle of this is the Alhambra, a complex with palaces, courtyards and gardens where the emirs of Grenade would escape the warmth of the summer.
This magnificent view is difficult to summarize with a few words: The Alhambra is a palace, castle, summer retreat and closed city, all in a charming place.
It was built during the years 1200 and 1300 for the Nasridas, who ruled the emirate of Grenade in the final centuries of Muslim control in Andalusia.
After the Reconquista, it became also the royal Court of the Catholic monarchs, Isabella I and Ferdinand II. Book in advance and spend a captivating day on royal chambers, serene courtyards and Moorish and Renaissance palaces.
The sumptuous grounds of the Alhambra are so great that you may even need another day to see them.
These lush and majestic gardens are especially perfumed in the spring and have colourful flowerbeds, well trimmed hedges and topários, pools and geometric fountains and all sorts of surprising architectural flourishes.
The unforgettable part is the Generalife Palace, which sits at the top of the hill where the Emirs pass the summers in the shade.
The fountains here would cool the air as their waters evaporated in the paving stones of the courtyard.
Head north up the hill from Plaza Nueva to reach the Arab quarter of Grenade, which is also part of the UNESCO site of Grenade.
After the reconquest, it is where the Moorish population who wanted to remain in Grenade was established and it is impossible to ignore the influence on the architecture of this captivating part of the city.
Eventually, the Muslims were expelled and their mosques became churches.
As befits a Medina, the urban plan is a tangle of narrow alleos with tall houses painted in white.
The hand-painted Moorish tiles that decorate the walls here are very beautiful and deserve a closer look.
Built at the top of the Grenade mosque in the early 16th century, this magnificent building is the second largest cathedral in Spain.
It was erected during a fashion transition, so the foundations are Gothic, even if the main and interior structure are of rebirth.
The person in charge of trying to find some harmony between the styles was Diego de Siloé and his efforts gave him a lot of contemporary acrenation.
Next to the cathedral is the resting place of two of Spain’s most important rulers.
The Catholic monarchs, Islabella I and Ferdinand II are buried here and completed the Christian reconquest of Spain of the Moors in the late 1400 years.
Its beautiful tomb is made of alabaster and was designed by the Italian sculptor Domenico Fancelli.
The tombs of his successors, Joan of Castile and Philip I, are also in the Royal Chapel, as well as the grandson of the Catholic Kings, Miguel da Paz, the Prince of Portugal who died in childhood.
On Islamic days, this was the site of the Grand Bazaar of Grenade, where traders sold their silts and spices along several intertwined streets.
Nowadays what’s left is a single passage full of souvenir shops, some of which are more interested than others.
If you are looking for a gift that really represents Grenade and Andalusia, try the Fajalauza pottery, Moorish-style ceramics, hand painted with motifs of blue or green plants.
Equally authentic is the taracea: inlaid furniture and other decorative wooden items, with beautifully intricate patterns.
East of Albayzín and opposite the Alhambra is another of the traditional neighborhoods of Grenade.
After the city was resumed by the Catholic monarchs, Sacromonte became the home of the city’s gypsy community.
The neighborhood lies on the steep slopes of Valparaiso, between Pines and Cactus, and sometime in the 16th century the settlers began to pluck their houses from the rocky wall.
By going through these residences, you will notice how two houses are not equal, since their dimensions are determined entirely by the difficult terrain.