There are very few cities with a history so dense and so well reflected in its myriad monuments, in its aspects and also in its daily atmosphere, as Granada. This is not a city that you can see and appreciate deeply in just one day. The Alhambra, Generalife and its museums, alone, demand many hours to visit and the traveller will do well in savouring its widths and, without words, the large and overpowering precinct, which with its abundance of fountains and gardens, has a perennially pleasant climate. From the emblematic Torre de la Vela, in the zone of the Alcazaba, to the gardens of the Generalife or including, further up, the Silla del Moro, all of this immense complex and its sections is rich in vistas over the city, its most characteristic neighbours and its surroundings.

Alhambra y Sierra Nevada. GranadaFrom the Patio de los Leones to the Jardines de Lindjara, from the Salón de Embajadores to the Patio de Arrayanes, but not overlooking its Renaissance neighbour which is the  Palacio de Carlos V (with the Museo de Bellas Artes inside), including the beautiful entry gates, such as the Puerta de la Justicia, the visitor goes from marvel to marvel.

Below, the Renaissance and Baroque city, while not forgetting the memory of the Arabs, who for more than nine centuries lived in this, their land. The great Cathedral of the Renaissance, the work of Diego de Siloé and completed by Alonso Cano.

It has at its side tthe delightful Capilla Real (royal chapel), from the ultimate era of the Gothic, the sepulchre of the Reyes Católicos and an excellent art gallery, and the Sagrario, and close by innumerable marks of the long Arab past, from the Madraza, the old Arab university, to the Alcaicería, the narrow market, and close to the Corral del Carbón, the old grain market.

From the cathedral to the Monasterio de San Jerómino, another architectural complex that is fundamentally Renaissance, leaving to pass the Baroque churches of San Juan de Dios, San Justo y San Pastor, as well as numerous palaces. Much further (but something you must go to see), La Cartuja, close to one of the campuses of the only university, the apotheosis of the Baroque. Another large Renaissance edifice with a Baroque entrance, the Hospital Real, is today the magnificent seat of the rector.

Something else to see is the church of Las Angustias, Baroque and with the venerated local saint, or Santo Domingo, more classical, to continue up into the Albaicín, between ancient minarets such as that of San José, well preserved fragments of the city walls, the also well-cared for mansions (or, here, ácármenesá, singular, ácarmená) and the squares-viewpoints such as San Nicolás, and after reaching the Sacromonte hill and the gardens of the Casal del Chapiz, descending towards one of the most beautiful streets in Andalucía, the Carrera del Darro, along the river of the same name and between great palaces, such as the palace housing the Museo Arqueológico, as well as the Casa del Castril, the Baños Arabes and churches such as San Pedro con la Alhambra with its small wood to the side.

Palacio de Carlos V. GranadaAnd even though we are about to finish the tour, the walk along calle Elvir towards the eminent gateway , between antique shops, buying flowers in the kiosks on Plaza del Bib-Rambla or crafts on the hill of Gomeres and environs, entering the many monasteries and convents that we will pass (Santa Paula, Santa Isabel la Real) or simply lingering to hear the water in some garden or square, visiting museums of great interest and pleasant setting, such as the Casa Museo del universal Manuel de Falla, savouring, in summary, the thousand and one charms of this impressive capital.

Around Granada, if you have time, are its fertile and densely population lowlands, or vega, and between the towns, the poplar woods  and farmlands. You must visit Santa Fe, with its geometric urban architecture and site of the famous Capitulaciones de Santa Fe, where the last Arab kingdom fell into Castilian hands, or head for Alfacar, to try what is said to be the best bread in the south of Spain.


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