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Two days in Granada

Victor Hugo said that “architecture is the great book of humanity” and so after the second day of visiting the Albaicín and Sacromonte, visitors learn more about this great city that enchants so many.

The Albaicín, considered one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Spain and of Arab essence, embodies the spirit of those who believe that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Not even the best compliments do justice to this district of narrow, winding streets, small houses and Moorish architecture that make it so unique.

A world apart within Granada itself, which today maintains the urban fabric, identity and uniqueness of the Muslim period and which led to its declaration as a World Heritage Site along with the Alhambra and the Generalife.
 
The Albaicín was the first place where the Muslim court was installed in the eleventh century, the Zirí, and in its heyday, the last years of Moorish domination, it came to have a population of more than forty thousand inhabitants and thirty mosques. Years later and with the arrival of the Christian faith to the city, most of the mosques were transformed into churches, preserving some Arabic characteristics inside.
 
Characterized by its winding urban layout, one of the peculiarities that you can find is known as the “Carmen” or home-and-garden, noted for its composition made up of a house, a small orchard or garden and a high wall that separates it from the street, making the area even more interesting if it fits into our stroll. The vast majority of these houses are private, but some of the most emblematic are now hotels and restaurants that you can visit. Mixed with these Cármenes, Moorish and Nazarí houses also appear, a result of the mixture of cultures at the time of the Christian conquest.
 
One of the most famous and accessible ones is the Casa de Zafra which in turn is the Albaicín Cultural Center, where you can marvel at the culture that permeated the Moorish kingdom in this stronghold. One of the other singularities presented by the district which served its people to advance socially and technically, is the channeling and distribution of drinking water, through a system of cisterns, of which a large majority are preserved today but that have fallen out of use with the passage of time. The most famous and largest of them, the Aljibe del Rey, represents a true masterpiece of engineering while showing a remarkable state of preservation. The same applies to “The Bañuelo” public baths, just a short walk from the Carrera del Darro, which is a true example of water use in a public space during the times of Al-Andalus.
 
Casa-Zafra
 
You shouldn’t miss the breathtaking views that leave no one unchanged and which reach their peak at the St. Nicholas, the Lona, and the Carvajales Viewpoints, where Granada serves as the background rendered before the grandeur of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada.
 
After enjoying the pleasant walk you can enjoy the exquisite dining that Granada offers in its restaurants and terraces found along the Albaicín and where you can appreciate the friendly and welcoming nature of the locals.
 
Strolling along you will arrive to what for many is considered the most charac te r i s t i c neighbourhood of Granada, so rich that its own streets show us two totally different neighbourhoods depending on the time of day you visit. The Sacromonte by day - more religious and cultured. And the Sacromonte by night, festive, and above all, flamenco. These spirits coexist in complete harmony and transport us to another time.
 
Named in the sixteenth century when the relics of St. Cecilius and Lead Books of Sacramonte were found in this area, representing the last effort by the Moors from Granada to integrate into society, which was dominated by the Christian faith.
 
 
Sacromonte
 
To venerate both findings, the Sacromonte Abbey was built. A walk to the Abbey offers one of the most beautiful in any season. Beside the abbey you can visit the Holy Caves, where the remains of the city’s patron, San Cecilius and the sculpture of Christ of the Gypsies, are held.
 
Continuing our journey, you can see the aesthetics of this neighbourhood by day, in which the most intense browns and greens of the Abbey and Alhambra give way to the white through the cave houses, whitewashed inside and out, with chimneys as air vents, which are to thank for much of the charm of this neighbourhood.
 
And this peculiar way of life where Granada gypsies settled in these buildings clustered around the ravines during the eighteenth century makes this place nothing but unique. As night falls, a different type of air is breathed in the Sacromonte. Religion gives way to charm and purity, reaching its highest expression in the flamenco shows of Las Zambras, the caves that the gypsies turned into tablaos to offer visitors long nights of art, singing and dancing. You cannot miss this feast for the senses as did the likes of Anthony Quinn, Ingrid Bergman, Severo Ochoa, Yul Brynner, the Duke of Windsor, the King and Queen of Belgium, and the King and Queen of Spain, among others.

 

Quadis Tinto de la Tierra de Cádiz

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