Granada – a radiant and magical city
We are so lucky here in Andalucia – we have Seville…burning with gypsy passion, Córdoba…glowing with medieval charm and then there’s Granada…a radiant, magical city.
Most visitors concentrate solely on the Alhambra – possibly one of the world’s most beautiful buildings – but, magnificent as it indisputably is (3 million visitors a year can’t be wrong !) it is by no means all Granada has to offer.
Besides the Alhambra and the historical Moorish Albaicín quarter, both designated as World Heritage sites by UNESCO, Granada boasts a Renaissance cathedral dating from the 16th century and many other architectural monuments of the first magnitude.
With more than a thousand years of recorded history, Granada is one of Spain’s most important cultural, artistic and historic cities. The city was founded by the Romans under the name of Illibris. Later, after the invasion of the Iberian Peninsula by the Muslims in the 8th century B. C., the city received its current name: Granada, and became the last Moorish capital. Boabdil, the last caliph, reigned from Granada until it became the last stronghold and the last to be conquered by the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492, finishing the Reconquista (Christian Reconquest) of the Iberian Peninsula. The Islamic past still feels recent, as Muslim North Africans make up some 10% of the population; there’s even a modern mosque in the medieval district of the Albaicin.
It is also a university city and the city of poet García Lorca, a city “open all year round”. No matter when you visit, you will always plenty going on…from The Music and Dance International Festival, to the Tango Festival, to its most important fiesta : Holy Week, declared as “Feast of International Tourist Interest”.
But, if there is something that makes the visitors fall in love with the city, it is its corners. Around every corner you will find another treasure…an attractive square, an appealing tapas bar (Granada is home of the “arte del tapeo” or “tapas art” : with your drink you will receive a free taste of its cuisine)…a colourful flower display…a fascinating little shop…an intriguing local character…
Granada is definitely one of those places to see before you die.
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Post and images by photographer Derek Evans