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Things to Do and See in Granada – Part 1

If you are thinking of visiting the great Spanish city of Granada, then you really ought to spend at least one week so you have the time to explore all its marvelous buildings and sites of interest. This post is designed as a sort of Granada Bucket List and concentrates on the most must-see things in Granada.

The Alhambra

The Alhambra

No visit to Granada is complete without a visit to its most famous building The Alhambra. It is a complex place as it is a castle, palace, fortress and even a summer retreat. Almost a town within a town in one fantastic place. The building of this great structure took from the 1200’s to the 1300’s and was done at the behest of the Nasrids, who were the great rulers of the Emirates of Granada during the Muslim occupation of Andalucía. When the Catholics regained the province then Alhambra was turned into the royal palace and court of Ferdinand II and Isabella I. You can easily spend a whole day at this delightful place wandering around the serene courtyards and the exquisite Moorish palaces and architecture.

The Generalife Palace

Although technically a part of The Alhambra, the Generalife Palace and the surrounding grounds are so magnificent and on such a grand scale you will probably need at least one extra day to explore them. The stately gardens are a paradise and if you visit in the summer, then the colors and fragrances are simply overwhelming. There is a wide assortment of blooming flower beds, topiary, staggering ornamental ponds housing fantastic fountains. Among all this beauty can be found the Generalife Palace, which stands aloof on the nearby hill overseeing everything below. It was the place that the Emirs would come in the summer to take advantage of the shade. The fountains would spew up cold water and it would linger in the air to cool the atmosphere.

Albayzin

Albayzin

The Albayzin is the old Arab quarter of Granada and can be found by heading north up the hill from Plaza Nueva. The locale also forms part of the Granada UNESCO site that is a must-see place for any tourist. When the Christians recaptured Granada, the Moorish people were allowed to stay, but they were moved to the Albayzin area of the city. The architecture in this old part of the city is stunning and there are many fine examples of fine Moorish design. The Christians found it hard to live side by side with the Muslims and eventually all Muslims were expelled from the city and many fine mosques were transformed into churches which accounts for their rather magnificent architecture. The street plan of the Albayzin is typically Moorish, expect to discover a rabbit warren of small alleyways lined by tall brightly-painted townhouses towering over you as you wander in their shade admiring the many Moorish tiles that adorn the walls. We continue our tour of Granada in part two of our blog where we visit the mighty cathedral and the royal chapel.