Pure beauty and inspiration
At the foot of Sierra Nevada mountain range, between the rivers Darro and Genil, one of the most interesting cities in East Andalusia stretches. This impressive Islamic legacy is added to Renaissance architectonical gems and the most modern 21st century facilities.
The fact that it was the last city conquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492 provided it with a clear Islamic aroma. Its cuisine, handicraft and urban layout are determined by its glorious historical past. Fountains, viewpoints, “Cármenes” (typical houses of Granada surrounded by gardens) constitute unforgettable corners.
We would like to thank the “Concejalía de Turismo” office of Granada for the information provided.
The Sacromonte Abbey
Since the foundation of this Abbey in the 17th century, gypsies of Granada settled on caves that were on the way to it so they took advantage of the great amount of visitors and devoted people providing them with amusement and leisure or reading their palms. The Sacromonte district is the true Mecca of the Zambra dancing from where many popular artists have arisen.
The way offers wonderful views of the Avellano fountain, there are four remaining monumental crosses out of thousands of them that were on this hill during the 17th century by different guilds, families and devoted visitors. Below the church, the catacombs where St Cecil (first bishop and today patron saint of Granada) was martyred are located.
It can be reached by the Camino del Sacromonte way, which starts in the Peso de la Harina located in the middle of Cuesta del Chapiz hill, or by the Camino de San Antonio departing from Haza Grande. This abbey has been declared Site of Cultural Interest.
Basilica of San Juan de Dios
Located on the Calle San Juan de Dios, it is a true work of art with gold, silver, altarpieces, mural paintings, cornucopias and lights, this spectacular church shelters the relics of St. John of God (San Juan de Dios), a Portuguese adventurer converted in Granada.
It shows a beautiful and elegant façade and twin towers. It was ordered to be constructed by Fray Alonso de Jesús y Ortega who was minister of the Spanish Inquisition. He gathered many artists and masters to build one of the most symbolic baroque temples in Spain.
From Rome and donated by Cardinals, the church of San Juan de Dios received remains of objects of saints, apostles, martyrs or confessors like a piece of the cross where Jesus Christ died, a piece of the column where he was flogged and another one of the table where the Last Supper took place. There is also a piece of the pallium of St. Joseph and of the veil of Virgin Mary.
Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo
A great tower of the Islamic wall of Granada shelters a wonderful hall with marble covering, tiles and plasterwork on the walls and the beautiful wooden ceiling. This is what remains from the old 18th century Almohad Royal House as well as the “Almanxarra” garden.
In the historical quarter of El Realejo, between the Plaza de los Campos, Cuesta de Aixa and Seno de Lucena is this historical construction that dates from the Hispanic-Moorish times: the Almanxarra Palace or Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo.
Chapel of San Sebastián
It was an Arab temple built in 1218. The surrender of Granada by Boabdil to the Catholic Monarchs took place the morning of the 2nd of January, 1492 beside a small Almohad shrine. The first city mass was held there and then it was devoted to St. Sebastian. It is the only Arab chapel of its kind conserved in Spain.
It is located at the end of the Paseo del Violón on the left bank of the Genil river and was declared National Historical Monument on the 31st June, 1931. The chapel construction dates back to the 13th century (1218), under the Almohad rule, like the Palace – Alcazar of Genil nearby this chapel.
The Catholic Monarchs ordered to erect this imposing Gothic building with classical features. It is the seat of the University vice-chancellor’s office and the Central Library. It is located among the streets Real de Cartuja, Ancha de Capuchinos and Avenida del Hospicio where the entrance is sited. During the Moorish times there was a cemetery on this place (Saad Malik) and after the Christian conquest this land was granted to the city as “ejido” (common land).
It is a Nasrid palace, the “Queen’s Palace”, it is the place where Boabdil’s mother lived, the last palace that the Moorish crown had in the Albayzín quarter, where the origin of Granada city is as the first settlement was established there. We can reach this palace by two ways: from the Plaza de San Miguel Bajo, through the Callejón del Gallo; or through the Plaza Larga, Arco de los Pesas and Callejón de las Monjas. It is surrounded by emblematic buildings such as the Monastery of Santa Isabel la Real, the Church of San Miguel and the 11th century Zirid walls.
This area was known as Alcazaba Cadima or Vieja, where the palace of the Zirid monarchs was located in the 11th century but as from the 15th century, the word Albayzín (which was the name of one of the quarters of the hill) designated also all the urban complex constituted by different quarters: Axares, Zenete, Albayzín and Alcazaba Cadima were some of them.
The Daralhorra Palace was built in the 15th century on the foundations of the Palace of the Zirid monarchs. Its great historical interest lies in the fact that it is the only remaining one of all the palaces that were in this quarter in past times. The name “Dar-al-horra” means “House of the Honest Lady”.
The Walls were erected in the 8th century in the current Albayzín quarter by the Wali of Elvira, Asad b. Abd al-Rahman al-Xaybani, with river stones joined together with lime and sand. Its imposing and thick towers were a great defense for the city.
There are still some sections up from the Puerta de Bilbalbonud up to the Puerta de Elvira. The best maintained sections are in the street Cuesta de Albacaba, between Puerta Nueva and Puerta Monaita where there are thick square and semi-circular towers, the oldest ones of the Moorish Spain. The Dar-al-Horra Palace is located within the walls.
The Alhambra Palace
The Alhambra is a Moorish fortress and palace, declared World Heritage by the UNESCO in 1984 together with the Generalife palace and the Albayzín quarter. This historical richness is consequence of the Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures, turning Granada into an important tourist and cultural centre within Spain.
The Alhambra is a beautiful complex of constructions and gardens. There are lush tree groves providing a pleasant shadow and cool air enhanced by the abundant water flowing down the streams.
It was the main political and aristocratic centre of the Moorish empire in the West. It is constituted by rectangular courtyards of great beauty and a great number of fountains, besides the Nasrid palaces which were the residence of monarchs and their court.
It is located in the heart of Granada and the entrance is through the Gran Vía. The Cathedral is considered the first renaissance church in Spain. It was designed by Enrique Egas together with the Major Mosque and started to be built in 1505 but, then Diego de Siloé continued it as a renaissance construction.
It shows five naves with transept ambulatory which was first designed by Egas as a gothic work, although subsequent works by Diego de Siloé from 1563 turned it into one of the purest renaissance works in Spain.
The Chancel is the temple’s most important place exhibiting a splendid dome, a great arch resembling a triumphal arch which would be the monumental entry to the Emperor’s tomb.