The second part of our exploration of marvelous Granada will visit even more grand places including the great cathedral and the royal chapel. Already in part one we clambered on the ramparts of Alhambra and visited the old Arab part of town, but now it is time to take a better look at Granada Cathedral.
Spain is a devout catholic country and Granada has the second largest cathedral in the whole of Spain. The building was actually constructed on top of an old mosque, and the building work was started at the beginning of the 16th Century. As the building work continued on through the years it transgressed different architectural periods. And that is why you can see the Gothic influences on the foundations whilst most of the main structure is in the Renaissance style. The architect trying to make sense of all this change was Diego de Siloe, and his successful marriage of these two great forms of architecture has won him a great deal of critical acclaim especially the way he fused a harmony between Gothic and Renaissance that is obvious to the visitor today.
The Royal Chapel
While you are spending time visiting Granada Cathedral take advantage of also visiting the Royal Chapel which is next to the great cathedral. It is highly significant as it is the resting place of two of Spain’s most influential and important monarchs. Isabella I and her husband Ferdinand II both lie at rest in the Royal Chapel and it is their work that formed modern Granada as it is today. Isabella and Ferdinand re-took Granada from the Moors in the late 14th Century and returned it to Christian rule once more. The highlight of the chapel is their beautiful tomb made entirely from alabaster and it was designed by the critically acclaimed Italian artist Domenico Fancelli. The monarchs that succeeded Isabella and Ferdinand are also interred in the chapel, Joanna and Philip I.
Alcaiceria was once home to the great Arab Bazaar of Granada, and it was a place bustling with people from all over the world trading their goods which included the finest silks, pungent spices and adorable metal work. The narrow winding streets and alleyways housed stall after stall with a cacophony of noise as market traders tried to sell their wares. Today all that is really left is a single alleyway that is crammed full of tourist shops selling souvenirs. The best items to look for around Alcaiceria are ceramics from Fajalauza and also the wonderful earthenware pots that are decoratively painted with plants in green or blue. The market is also famous for the beautifully intricate wooden items that are inlaid with decorative colored woods.
Another great and charismatic part of Granada is Sacromonte which can be found just east of Albayzin. It was once home to the city’s great gypsy community and hangs on precariously to the slopes of mount Valparaiso. The stone dwellings remind the visitor of times long passed and the local pine trees give an enchanting perfume to the air especially in the evening. For fans of flamenco, Sacromonte is the best place in Granada to see it being performed. Our journey of Granada’s best points of interest ends in Sacromonte and is a fitting place to conclude our visit of one of Spain’s great cities.