Granada is a city in Andalucía that, even today, is still unkown to many in spite of its great beauty and history.
With a cultural background of incalculable value, this city houses in its territory inimitable monuments such as the Alhambra. Magic, history, wizardry and beauty are to be found among its streets and its marvellous and varied landscapes.
It is one of the oldest cities in the country, located in Eastern Andalusia at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. in Granada there is an idiom, that it is better to be blind in Granada – it is so beautiful.
Granada is a former capital of Moorish Kingdom and one of the last Arab strongholds in the Iberian Peninsula. The city got its name from the fact that it is located on three hills, and from above it looks like a ripe opened pomegranate fruit.
The region offers a wide variety of climates and landscapes: from the Alpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada to the tropical coast. Perhaps such natural contrasts are no longer found throughout the Iberian Peninsula. The climate of Granada is transitional between Mediterranean and cold semi-arid. Summers are dry and hot, winters are cool. The average annual temperature is 14 degrees. The highest rainfall is recorded in November, March and April.
Sightseeing attractions in Granada
In Granada You can find sightseeing attractions, which impress with its extent, history and architecture. And the main among them is – Alhambra.
Alhambra – is a pearl and the most famous sight of Granada, UNESCO World Heritage Site. This majestic medieval complex stands on the hilltop against the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Alhambra - is the last Moorish fortress in Europe, that reflects the greatness of the Moorish civilization in Andalusia and offers the visitor to feast eyes upon the magnificent decorative architecture, lush gardens, beautiful fountains and breathtaking panoramas of the city.
Alhambra was a castle, a fortress and a main residence of the Nasrid dynasty, who ruled Granada for more than two centuries. The construction of this huge complex dates back to the 13th-14th century.
One of the most charming attractions in Granada, is the historic Arab quarter, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Among the narrow and winding streets of Albaicín You can find beautiful white old buildings, magnificent Arab shops and restaurants, picturesque gardens and magnificent views of Granada and the Alhambra. The construction of the quarter dates back to the 14th century. At that time it was surrounded by fortress walls. In Albaicín it is very easy to get lost. You will find that the location of the streets, many stairs and alleys are literally confusing. But it has a special charm!
In the heart of Albaicín there is a Sant-Nicolas Square. It is a most popular tourist place, from where the amazing panorama is opened up on Alhambra. On the square there is a Church of the same name of the 16th century. Not far from the Church of Sant- Nicolas there is the Church of Sant- Salvador, which was built on the site of an earlier mosque and is notable for its style.
Larga square is a small charming square in Albaicín, and one of the favorite places of the inhabitants of Granada, which is located apart from the tourist trails. There are many restaurants and shops with traditional goods, and there is a market on Saturdays.
Carrera del Darro is one of the oldest and most charming streets of the city, located at the foot of a hill. A narrow winding street goes from Plaza Nueva along the meandering course of the river Darro. This is one of the most picturesque walks in Granada. Along the way you will find perfectly preserved buildings, the remains of Arab houses, stone bridges and many good restaurants.
The Albaicín atmosphere competes with the atmosphere of Gypsy quarter Sacromonte, located on the hillside. It is worth to take the air along its slopes to discover the old Gypsy houses, which are decorated with bright handmade ceramics. The surrounding area contains numerous cave dwellings.
We recommend go up to the chapel of Sant- Miquel, which offers a beautiful view of the city and the Alhambra. This Church was built in the 17th century in the Baroque style. Another notable religious monument is the 17th-century Benedictine Abbey on Valparaiso hill.
The Cathedral or Santa Maria de-La-Encarnacion is considered to be the most beautiful Renaissance Church in Spain. The Cathedral was built by Queen Isabella as a monument to the victory of Christians over the Moors on the site of a former mosque. The Church was begun to build in the 16th century in the Gothic style. There is a remarkable large relief on the 16th-century West facade above the main entrance. The North-West side of the Cathedral is also richly decorated with decorative sculptures. On the facade of the main entrance there are statues of Catholic monarchs and bronze statues of Apostles.
The decoration of the Church is a magnificent pattern of the Renaissance. The interior has massive columns and double aisles. The nave and transept are surrounded by various chapels, which are decorated with many sculptures and paintings. Each of them has its own artistic style. The choir is proud with two impressive Baroque organs.
The Arab spice market is a traditional Oriental market in the old town. Until 1853, there was a Moorish Bazaar on the site, destroyed by fire. The whole area of Alcaiceria is a maze of narrow streets, which once had occupied the market for silk and spices. Today's market resembles the original Arab Bazaar and is a favorite place to buy Souvenirs in Granada.
The best time for visiting
Granada can be visited all year round. But still spring and autumn are the most comfortable time. In summer, despite the heat of the day, the nights are often quite cool.
The main shopping area is Puerta Real square and the neighboring streets. Souvenirs can be bought in the Alcaiceria area, to the South of the Cathedral. Many souvenir shops are located on the Cuesta de Gomerez on the way to the Alhambra.
Food and drinks
Granada's gastronomy is a mixture of traditional Andalusian, Spanish and Arabic cuisine. Eastern influence is found in the use of spices. Main regional dishes: beans with ham, tortilla sacromonte, Andalusian gazpacho with garlic and fried sardines (mostly on the coast).
In many places of Granada, tapas are served free with a drink. You can eat here quite cheaply. Almost every square or old street has nice outdoor restaurants and cafes with delicious cuisine. Many inexpensive public places can be found in the area of Plaza San Miguel Bajo.
If you want to taste local wine, ask for "un costa". Another option is "tinto de verano" or summer wine. In Granada excellent beer is brewed -Cerveza Alhambra, which is found everywhere. It is worse to try tea in the tearooms in the Moorish quarter of Albaicín for sure.