You'll see Granada's finest medieval Moorish mansions, or cármenes, in this attractive hillside district. The ... More
You'll see Granada's finest medieval Moorish mansions, or cármenes, in this attractive hillside district. The spacious whitewashed buildings all have one special feature: a central, walled courtyard filled with fountains and flowers. There are great views from Mirador de San Nicolás over to the Alhambra complex on the opposite hill and the Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. This district was populated by an influx of Moors from the town of Baeza in 1227 and historians maintain that Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in relative harmony here for many years.
There are fantastic views of Granada, the Alhambra and the surrounding Sierra Nevada from San Nicholas or San Cristobal. Also, make sure you head to Plaza San Miguel and stop for coffe or beer here as it tends to be quieter than some other squares. On Weekends, there are often musicians performing and the atmosphere is wonderful
The whole neighborhood is an experience of its own. This part of town is more than 1000 years old ans still inhabitted- not a DisneyLand at all ! This is real.
Leave your car at your hotel or out of town and take the bus (only 1 Euro) or a cab, very cheap. Besides, there is not much parking.
Everything in this part of town is within walking distance and worth the look. Take a walk to the San Nicolas Mirador to view the Alhambra.
Granada was ruled by the Moors of the Nasrid Dynasty from 1238 to 1492. The city was known as a major cultural center before it fell to the Catholic Monarchs. Under the rule of Ferdinand and Isabella, Granada became a focus for the Renaissance. In one particular corner of the city, however, evidence of Moorish culture was virtually untouched by the new movement.
The neighborhood of Albaicin is nestled against the hillside opposite from the Alhambra Palace. It is from here that Granada gets most of its charm. Its angular maze of rooftops is impressive at any time of day, but the view is especially pleasing in late afternoon.
Sacromonte rests above the Albaicin area with a Benedictine monastary seated at the very top. This "gypsy-hill", as the locals call it, was a favorite spot for travelers like Washington Irving. He would often frequent the gypsy cave dwellings to enjoy their tradition of flamenco dance.
Back at the foot of the Albaicin and just down the road from the Alhambra stands the Convento de Santa Catalina which was founded in 1521. If you're in the mood for something sweet, this is the place to be! The check-out counter may strike you a bit odd, though. Since the nuns' vows forbid them to see anyone in the outside world, all business is done through a small turning "window". Place your money on the tray of this unique "lazy-susan" and give it a spin. In a few moments, the nuns will place a bag of their delicious confections on the tray and send it back for you. This is just one of the many ways to absorb the off-beat charm and culture this great city has to offer.
Granada winters are particularly cold and often rainy. Shops are always stocked with a wide range of stylish winter clothes including ski gear for the nearby Sierra Nevada. If you're traveling in winter, bundle up and bring an umbrella!
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