About Granada

There is much to see in Granada and your rest day on a walking holiday is a perfect opportunity to visit the last Moorish capital of the Kingdom of Andalucia in southern Spain.

Even if you have already made the essential visit to the Alhambra and Generalife on an earlier trip, there are plenty of interesting sights and monuments in the city of Granada. and an hour's drive or an easy bus ride will take you there from Orgiva.

On the opposite hill to the Alhambra is the Albaicin or Old Town. Starting from the Plaza Nueva you can wend your way up through the old Arab quarter, along cobbled lanes and alleyways, up to the Mirador (lookout) of San Nicolas where you get wonderful views of the Alhambra against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada. A little way back from here you can pass through the Puerta Nueva (Newgate) into the market square of the Albaicin. This is a very lived in area, not a tourist centre, and in the lanes and courtyards the local people are going about their daily business.

Back down at the bottom of the Albaicin, a walk along the Rio Darro will bring you to the almost rural area of Sacromonte, the old gypsy quarter. Here there are still inhabited caves, some of which are flamenco venues, and there is a museum. This consists of ten caves where you can see how people lived in this area and their traditional crafts. There is also a geological route with explanations in English. Crowning the hill is the seminary, standing among fields by the old city wall.

Along the banks of the Rio Darro there are many interesting sites, the oldest public building in the city being the Banos de Nogal (old Arab baths) built in the 11th century in Zirid style and one of the best preserved in the whole Al-Andalus. Inside there is a hall, (equivalent to the Roman apodyterium), that provides access to three thermal rooms - cold, warm and hot. The hot room has an underground hypocaust for heating the room and two water containers. The barrel vaults have skylights in order to provide ventilation and adjust the heating. Some of the capitals of the pillars are Roman. If the idea of these baths is tempting, there is a Hammam on the other side of the Darro, at the foot of the Alhambra, behind the ancient Mosque, nowadays the Church of Santa Ana.

Also in this area are the Monastery of the Conception, founded 1518 on the site of old Moorish buildings and which now has a museum, the Casa de Castril. a palace house of 1539, and the remains of an 11th century Zirid style gate. Nowadays only one of the abutments of the original gate and bridge is conserved, part of a great horseshoe arch originally used for military purposes, crossing the Rio Darro.

By the Plaza Nueva is the Archaeological Museum and nearby are some interesting bodegas with excellent tapas to help you recover from your journey so far. Beyond the plaza is the Cathedral and the adjoining Capilla Real (Royal Chapel), where the Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabella are lying in lead coffins in the crypt along with their daughter, Joanna the Mad, and her husband Philip the Handsome. There is also a museum there with a collection of Flemish paintings. Close to the enormous cathedral is the old Arab University and Arab market area leading to the Plaza Bib-Rambla, a pedestrian square surrounded by cafes and flower stalls.

"Dale limosna mujer, que no hay en la vida nada, como la pena de ser, ciego en Granada " - The poet Francisco A de Icaza to his bride on their 1898 honeymoon at the approach of a blind beggar - "Give alms woman, there is no greater pain in life than to be blind in Granada."