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District of Granada

District of Granada Return

Alhambra at Night

"Give me alms woman, there is nothing worse in life than to be blind in Granada"

To talk of Granada is not easy. Se ha escrito tanto de esta ciudad, de su cielo y paisajes, de sus reyes y gitanos. Much has been written of this city, of its skies and scenery, its Kings and its gypsies. Anyone with imagination and sensitivity cannot resist her enchantment, the temptation to tell of the emotions awoken, –"Hidden water that weeps", "The moon drowning in her ivy", "Roses and myrtle in moonlight".

No city in the world can cast the Granadino spell -¡If I could return to Granada!-, forever inextinguishable. The French writer Andre Gide fifty years after his visit evoked his memory of the city saying –Since then nothing, not even the songs of Egypt, have moved my heart so profoundly. To return to hear her sing I would cross Spain three times-.

The cultural treasure of Granada is not only measured in having the most important Arab palace of all times, but her Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque legacy all awake the admiration that aligns with her natural beauty. All of this changes her into a city that has a poetic atmosphere of captured legends.

Near or far spaniard or muslim no hay ciudad que sin locura there is no city so mad as to deny Granada her beauty.

One of the characteristics of the city is her extremely special contrasts not found anywhere else. The Granadino poet Federico García Lorca says –She shows horrifying contrasts of mysticism and lust, mixing in the air the strumming of the guitars with the sound of monks' voices (…)-.

This "Granadino contrast", is found on the top of the hills and in the heart of the Alhambra; the concentration of contrasting palaces, the refinement and sensuality of the Arab next to the proud and chaste Castellano of Carlos I of Spain, , the palaces cry out "Venus slept while Mars decapitated".

But this East-West confrontation isn´t only defined in her arquitecture, it lives, blurred with more or less force in the Granadinos and their environment. From the plains of her vega you lift your eyes to the Alhambra and the Generalife, and from there to the peaks of her mountains.

Any road will offer you a labyrinth of peaks and deep valleys, small hills like the Sacromonte and the expressive force of the surroundings and her rivers.

The city of Granada has modern communication networks putting it some two hours from Seville and an hour or so from Malaga by car. The A92 connects the east of Andalucia to the west, while the N323 does the same for Madrid to the north and covers the southern half of the Peninsula. Granada´s Federico Garci Lorca airport (GRX) is some 17km from the centre of the city in the Vega del Genil.

The History of Granada Go to Top Return

Rendición Granada - Obra de Francisco Pradilla Ortiz

Landscapes of great contrast, abandoned by the mortified Boabdil who knew exactly what he had lost. The last capital of Al Andalucia offers a portal difficult to equal, where one can hold in their palm the snowcapped summits; she is one of the oldest heritages of Spain, and above all, an enchanting and spellbinding ambience which is palpable in each and every one of her streets and narrow passageways.

Iberians, Romans and Visigoths preceded the civilation that changed Granada into the cultural reference point of the West that lasted for centuries: Islam. In 1492 the Catholic Kings, after besieging Granada for months from their camp in Santa Fe, succeeded in toppling the last Nazari King, Boabdil "The Boy." He would abandon his kingdom accompanied by his mother who left for posterity the famous phrase dedicated to her son. -Do not cry like a woman for that which you could not defend like a man-.

From this moment Granada rose as a symbol of the new monarchy and of the unity of Spain becoming a Christian kingdom. Forts, mosques, cisterns and walls were fused with great churches, convents and palaces for the gentry, making the city of the Alhambra a a harmonic conjunction of diverse architectural styles such as Mudéjar, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

Now Granada is a city full of cultural life with a rich diversity to feed whatever needs you may have. It is also a city with a great youthful nocturnal ambience (thanks to the University) where one can find hundreds of pubs, bars and discoteques.

The Gastronomy of Granada Go to Top Return

Tapas en Bares Granadinos

The food of Granada is the result of a fusion of styles, the many diverse visitors each bringing their own character, so that this concoction of styles became fused into a singlular style of flavours, colours and aromas.

Its situation as a crossroads between Europe and Africa, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean has determined the Andalucian region since antiquity, and she was ever ready to receive new customs, styles and culinary products. It was during the time of Muslim slendour, together with Jews and Christians that Andalucian Cuisine became what it is today.

This lengthy legacy, coupled with the diverse climate offered in the province, have been the setting for a varied gastronomy with variations in each of her districts, which share the fresh products of the Huerta de la Vega with tropical fruits of the Coast.

So, while the Vega of Granada provides tender and fresh beans, peppers or vegetables with which we can prepare salads and cold soups, the interior is characterised by comforting and warming dishes such as stews and soups primarily using meat, vegetables and spices or aromatic herbs.

Beans star in a multitude of dishes such as a favourite made with ham and virgen olive oil. In Atarfe they are cooked in an omelette whilst in other places such as Churriana de las Vegas they are eaten dry. Asparagus, (which is used in a soup named after Maimonedes of Pulianas), mushrooms, aubegines and stuffed artichokes; or "poor man´s potatoes" which are served with a fried egg and peppers, are all typical Granadino dishes.

Salads and cold soups are other specialties of the area, meals which fall very much in line with the pleasant temperatures enjoyed in this corner of Andalucia. There are meals for all tastes: gazpacho, pipirranas, white garlic (made with bean flour) and salads of leek and white beans. And for lovers of meat, there is a wide range of dishes that all have in common a touch of garlic and the various other seasonings used for oven cooking kid, chicken or hare.

All these meals can be enjoyed in authentic taverns and cosy bars in the barrios as well as in restaurants, the best of which are those in prime positions in the lovely gardens of the Albaicin.

In the city of Granada you can find these "temples" to cooking in: Cuesta del Chapiz and the Fajalauza gateway, the fringes of the Cathedral or in streets and squares such as the Plaza Nueva, Bib Arrambla, Pescadería, the Plaza Isabel la Catolica; the Avenida Doctor Oloriz, next to the Bullring, Lower Antequeruela and, in the barrio Genil, Calle Navas and Calle Mariana Pineda. Some of these areas and others more specific (el Albaicin, Campo del Príncipe, el Centro or el Sacromonte) are places where you must get to know the Tapa Granadino. For Granadas famous confectionery there are varios religious orders and convents which make their own specialities such as; egg yolk beaten with sugar of the Convent of San Antón, the almond cakes of Las Tomasas, the cakes and marzipan pastries of La Encarnación, hojarascas of Isabel la Real, cocas yemadas from San Bernardo del Cister, and the melbas of Las Comendadoras de Santiago and of the Monasterio de San Jerónimo.

The Crafts of Granada Go to Top Return

Cerámica Fajalauza Granada

The footprints left in the province by its settlers along the centuries, from the Phoenicians to the Christians can also be found in the Granadino craftwork. Nothing shows this better than the pottery of the area. Since the first simple vases that the people of the Mediterranean developed for domestic use, to the spectacular Nazari creations to be seen in the Alhambra Museum or in the Archaeological Museum, there is a legacy that over the the centuries has nurtured in the development of diverse techniques, materials and artistic expression.

The result has become traditional handicrafts of great personality. With Muslim roots and with styles as diverse as the Fajalauza, it has always reflected the character of the region as it has developed over the centuries.

At first these pieces were linked to the traditional lifestyles of rural society and reflected their practical uses for to work in the fields. Some of them, which were sold all over Andalucia, Murcia and La Mancha by muleteres or carters, gave the name to the location where they were produced.

In the woodworking field, some of the most renowned artisans have graced Granada. Who has not at some time held in their hand and admired a piece of marquetry of heard the perfect chords of a guitar strummed by an expert, or has contemplated a religious image carved by the skillful hands of a sculptor such as the Inmaculada of Alonso Cano.

Marquetry, which was introduced to Spain by the Muslims and had its origin in the Córdoba of the 12th century, grew from the ornamental work being carried out on embossed leather. The techniques and decorative elements were taken up by the Granada Nazarí, and in Christian times this splendid work was continued. Marquetry, which artistically combines the ranges and tones of different types of woods and inlaid metals to form sketches or geometric designs, has been used to decorate a variety of items such as arches, tables, chess sets, boxes.