Granada, City of the Alhambra
Granada city is the capital of the province of Granada. The city sits at the confluence of the rivers Darro and Genil, at the foot of Sierra Nevadas and opening into a fertile valley. At the foot of the Alhambra, this most emblematic monument that is visited each year by well over two million people, you will find an animated city filled with many wonderful monuments.
A City of a Moorish and Christian heritage, although clearly differentiated, which ably demonstrates the history and legacy of both cultures. Enriched for centuries by Arabs, Christians in turn gave to the city many unique monuments, which reflect both cultures through the domain of arts and sciences.
The course of the river Darro is an emblematic artery from Plaza Nueva (where stand the Royal Chancery and Mudejar church of San Gil and Santa Ana) to the Paseo de los Tristes, marked out by the Bañuelo (an arab bath ‘del Nogal’, XI century), the plateresca (renaissance) casa del Castril, which houses the Archaeological Museum, and a long list of monumental buildings.
Facing the Alhambra stands the Albaicin, an area full of winding alleys reminiscent of the Islamic city. It was the central focus of the city during the Nazari and Zirid period, as evidenced by the many testimonies which have been preserved. The slope up to Chapiz, from the Darro inward, includes in this area the Church of San Juan de los Reyes, with the tower of a minaret of a mosque of the thirteenth century, and at the top, the church and Mirador de San Nicolas with a splendid view of the Alhambra, and the Church of the Savior, built on the old mosque in which a patio from the thirteenth century has been preserved.
A breath of the old Al-Andalus era can almost be felt in the Albaicín, la Plaza Larga and el Arco de los Pesas, a gate through the wall to the Alhacaba slope, at the top of which is the Monaita gate. Another of the monuments within this quarter is the Convento de Santa Isabel la Real, which is interlaced with the Palace of Dar al-Horrocks, the ‘Casa de la Reina’ where the mother of Boabdil, the last king Nazari King of Granada, lived. Coming down via calles Caldereria Nuevo and Vieja (old and new), you will pass along calle Elvira, which there is a gate connecting the Albaicín to the medina.
Walks for tourists lead via calle Reyes Catolicos, Plaza del Carmen and Puerto Real, hub of the old city centre by the Mauror, the old Jewish quarter, the Antequeruela, with its staggered ‘carmenes’, and the popular Campo del Principe. Or go via Realejo, San Matias and many other sites of interest, and finish by the Carrera del Genil and the other avenues that border the river, with the old Muslim oratorio which was converted into the ermita de San Sebastian, and the palace of Alcázar del Genil, as reliable witness to the presence of the Almohad in Granada.
Christian Granada can be seen displayed in buildings such as the Hospital Real and the Monastery of San Jerónimo, sixteenth century, the church and hospital of San Juan de Dios, in the baroque style, and that of los Santos Justo y Pastor and the University. La Gran Via de Colon takes the walk back to what was the heart of the Muslim Medina around the mosque which was replaced by the Tabernacle and the Cathedral, with Gothic artifacts.
Diego de Siloe transformed this into a work of a Renaissance approach, finished in the seventeenth century with a baroque facade designed by Alonso Cano. Adjoining the cathedral is the Capilla Real, the pantheon of the Catholic Kings, with flamboyant Gothic work carried out by Enrique Egas between 1505 and 1521. On the other side of the street stands the Madrasa, a study centre established by Yusuf I. Nearby are the Alcaicería, the market for trade in silks and other goods, fourteenth century, the Zacatín, commercial artery of the Medina, and Piazza Bibrrambla. On the other side of calle Reyes Catolicos is the Corral del Carbon, one of the corn exchanges where merchants ply their trades.
Granada , a city with a great historical legacy is also a young capital (of its 236,000 inhabitants, 65,000 are university students) and modern. The museum ‘Parque de las Ciencias’ is a prime example of this.
Tourism in Granada is full of culture, entertainment and, of course, gastronomy. Take a walk through the historic centre to try ‘tapas’, which are usually offered free with a drink, a real treat for the palate. It is also an ideal place for those who wish to enjoy nature and outdoor sports, not forgetting that is only 25 minutes from the best ski resort in Spain. Granada is a city that opens its arms to visitors and offers everything you could wish for.
Barrios (neighborhoods) of Granada are: Albaicín, Beiro, Chana, Central, Genil, Norte, Ronda and Zaidín.
Granada has been inhabited for millennia. Turduli was a settlement of an Iberian tribe, and Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks also settled the land. During Roman rule it was known as Ilíberis and the period of occupation by the Visigoths showed an important religious, civil and military history. A Jewish community formed a settlement near Ilíberis which they called Garnata and this community helped Tariq to take Ilíberis. In 1010 the city was destroyed from within, due to infighting between different ethnicities and cultures. It was in 1013, with the arrival of the Zirí dynasty, when Granada became an independent kingdom. At the end of the eleventh century, the population had spread out throughout the hill now occupied by the Albaicin, and from the Darro to the Alhambra.
In 1238 a new king, Ibn al-Ahmar, of the Nazari dynasty, established the Kingdom of Granada, which stretched from the Sierra Nevadas to Gibraltar consisting of what are now the provinces of Granada, Malaga and Almeria, and much of Seville, Jaén, Córdoba and Cádiz. During these times is when the most impressive works of the Alhambra were carried out, and the lower part of the city, the Madrassa, was installed, for industry and aduana, (customs). During the fifteenth century, the kingdom became weakened due to infighting between the families of the Court, until in 1492 it was conquered by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, with Boabdil being the last Moorish king of the Kingdom of Granada. Treaties were signed between Arabs and Christians under which the monarchs would respect the different languages, religions and traditions, but these conditions were not held to. Over time, the Moors were forced to be baptized into the Catholic faith, and were banned from wearing their own style of clothes, carrying on their own customs and even speaking their own language. This untenable situation erupted in 1568 with the uprising of the Moors from Albaicín. Once the revolt had been put down, in 1571, the Moors were expelled and new Christians came to the city.
The city went into decline in the following centuries, the Alhambra even served as the headquarters of Napoleon’s troops when they invaded the Iberian Peninsula in the nineteenth century. Following the confiscations that were beginning to take place throughout the century, Granada became the scene of new urban and industrial phenomena. The modern Granada was conceived, making a new urban plan with the Gran Via as the axis and the renovation of the many plazas and gardens, inspired by British and French models.
Monasterio de la Cartuja
Abadia del Sacramonte
Alcázar del Genil
Bañuelo (ancient baths)
Basilica of nuestra senora de los Angustias
Carmen de los Martires
Casa de Castril
Casa del Chapiz
Casa de los Tiros
Casa del Padre Suárez
Convento de Santa Catalina de Siena (Zafra)
Corral del Carbon
Ermita de San Sebastián (convent)
Hospital and Basilica of San Juan de Dios
Iglesia de San Cecilio
Iglesia del Salvador
Iglesia de Santo Domingo
Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana
Monasterio de San Jerónimo
Iglesia de San Jose
Iglesia de los Santos Justo y Pastor
Iglesia de San Miguel Bajo
Iglesia de San Nicholas
Iglesia de San Pedro and San Pablo
Monasterio de Santa Isabel La Real
Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de los Córdova
Palace of Dar Al-Horra
Granada’s cuisine is enormously rich mix of many differing tastes and input from different nationalities, including Moorish and Jewish. Above all, new settlers to Granada brought products and recipes toad to the gastronomy and these have all been preserved. This is apparent, for example, in the dish of beans and ham, from east of Trevelez, which has a delicate and smooth flavour.
San Anton casserole is also a traditional dish of the city and its province, but the most representative dishes of Granada are salads with beans, aperitif ‘dia San Cecilia or dia de la Cruz’, the famous tortilla ‘Sacromonte’ or Granada cod marinated in orange. As well as these dishes, depending, of course, on the taste of the guest, another interesting proposal may be enjoying a plate of fried potatoes or migas, mixed with anything you fancy, although it is recommended that pork goes best with these.
As for postres (sweets and puddings), cuajada carnival, los soplillos de la Alpujarras, torta real de Motril, or the wide variety of candy eggs from the cloisters such as eggs San Antón, the bizcochaza de Zafra, los pestinos de la Encarnation, or hojaldre de San Jeronimom show that it is not always necessary to eat meat. Granada’s flagship fruit is, of course, the pomegranate, trees can be found in many orchards and gardens. Other fruits such as persimmon, hawthorn fruit, cherries, quinces, figs, pears, blackcurrants can be found in the many markets to provide the city with a rich and varied feast for all tastes. Many coastal products have been added to this list, such as tropical fruit like avocados, custard apples, kiwi fruit, etc.
By road, the highway A-92 connects Granada with Sevilla in two hours and Malaga in one and a half, making it an excellent starting point when visiting Spain.
Granada National Airport, Federico García Lorca Granada, is 15 km from the city along the A-92, within the municipality of Chauchina.
Seville 250 km
Cádiz 296 km
Málaga 125 km
A Huelva 339 km
Almeria 155 km
Jaén 92 km
Córdoba 159 km
Madrid 418 km
Murcia 269 km