Guide to Granada
Article and guide for Granada, a historic city in the Andalucia region of southern Spain.
Granada - Andalucia - Spain
Location:- Granada is located in southern Spain and is the capital of the province of Granada, it is situated on the crossroads of the A-92 and the N-323.
History:- Granada has been inhabited since the dawn of known history and has seen civilizations of Ibero-Celtic, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek, Roman and Visigothic. Granada had a Jewish community prior to the invasion of the Moors and it was the last major Spanish city to be re-conquered by the Christians in 1492.
Climate:- The climate in Granada as with all of southern Spain is warm and temperate, with mild winters and hot summers, summer temperatures often reach the high 30's and most of its native inhabitants take a siesta during the hottest part of the day.
What do George Clooney, Antonio Banderas and Granada have in common? The answer of course is the Alhambra Palace. These two film stars have been in Spain over the festive season and are supporting the petition for the Alhambra Palace to be nominated as one of the new ten Wonders of the World.
Built on the site of an original fortress the Alhambra had a triple role; it was a palace, a small city and of course a fortress all rolled into one and knowing of these three independent role makes it easier to understand many of the distinctive features of this remarkable monument.
Of Moorish origin the Alhambra as we know it, probably owes its restoration to the Naserite Emirs and the founder of this dynasty Muhammed Al-Ahmar, who began the restoration of the original fortress in about 1238 and his work was completed by his son Muhammed II, whose successors continued with the renovation work. The name Alhambra derives from an Arabic dialect and means red or crimson castle perhaps due to the colour of the towers, but there is also a much more romantic theory which is that the original fortress was constructed by the light of torches and it was the reflections from these torches which gave the walls their distinctive colouring.
The Alhambra became a Christian court 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabel conquered the city of Granada. Throughout the generations various changes were made to the building but during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Alhambra fell into disrepair and its beautiful salons were used by thieves and beggars. As a final insult to the Spanish Napoleons troops, masters of Granada from 1808 until 1812 converted the palaces into barracks and during one retreat they actually attempted to blow up the towers and two of them; the Torre de Siete Suleos and the Torre de Agua were left in ruins. Sadly the incredible neglect continued until 1870 when the Alhambra was declared a national monument and since that time it has been protected, restored and improved for the pleasure of all. No wonder then that there is a feeling that this wondrous palace is worthy of becoming a Wonder of the World and on your visit to Granada this really must be one of the places to visit and local information centres can provide details of entry into the Alhambra.
One other place to see on your visit to Granada Spain is the Albaicín which is the old Arabic quarter and is an artists dream. The Albaicin is characterised by cobble stoned streets with white washed houses which, despite many centuries of neglect by the town, still retains a strong Arabic feeling. With its many plazas and terazas you will have a choice for somewhere to eat and enjoy the atmosphere. It is here that you might also buy a souvenir of your visit, with the shops selling typical Granadino pottery, which has a white background with strong blue shapes and on this pottery you will probably often read the proverb ‘Give him alms woman because there is nothing as bad as being blind in Granada.’ This gives you an idea of how many appreciate the beauty of the city.
For those who enjoy taking to their skis and enjoying a more energetic pastime then this is also the place for you. The Sierra Nevada is Europe’s most southerly ski resort and is located just a 50 minute drive from the centre of Granada and in 1996 it hosted the World Alpine Ski Championships. The ski season normally runs from the beginning of December until the end of April or beginning of May. However, snow machines have now made it possible to ski even when there is no natural snow. Such is the climate of Andalusia that it is possible to ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon all under the bluest and sunniest of skies.
Expect also to see displays of Flamenco Dancing in the town and join in the festivals when even the tiniest of children dress up in traditional flamenco clothes watched by proud parents and grandparents. There is a vast range of places to eat and relax, providing a cuisine acceptable to the many visitors from around the world and the people will give you a warm friendly welcome as you walk through the charming narrow streets.
With its history, culture, sports facilities and sublime scenery a visit to Granada will not disappoint and perhaps this is just the right time of year to take your trip.
Article provided by kind permission of The Leader Newspaper.