Other cities nearby which are of interest to visit would be: Seville, Córdoba, Granada, etc…, all of which have their own history and monuments and which go from 1:30 minutes to 2:00 minutes drive.
Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of four rivers, the Beiro, the Darro, the Genil and the Monachil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metros above sea level. Nearby is the Sierra Nevada Ski Station
La Alhambra, the most important monument in Europe
According to Arabic sources, at the foothills of Sierra Nevada, between the Dauro (golden) and Genil rivers and on the al-Sabika hill, the founder of the II independent dinasty of Granada, Ibn Yusuf bin Ibn Nasr al-Jazrayi al-Ansari was born at the end of the Dul-hiyaA, year 591, that is, December 1st-5th, 1194. As soon as he became sultan of Al-Andalus and emir of Granada, he set his capital for his state in this city.Therefore, he ordered to build a royal city, a impregnable and thoroughly fortified sealed residence upon al-Sabika hill.
The building work began in 1234 and the Andalusi Sultan Muhammad, personally inspected its progress. As the last Muslim state in the Iberian Peninsula he needed a collection of fortresses that dignified his dominion as soon as possible. The building works of his forbidden city continued day and night uninterrupted. Due to the reddish colour, the peasants of the valley of Granada (La Vega) called it “al-kalat al-hamrá” (the castle made of red earth”) deriving it to its current name: La Alhambra. After the first king of the new Nasrid dinasty, his successors strived on the consolidation and artistic ennoblement and environment of the Red Castle, where nature and architecture were to coexist in a serene and sacred harmony. Sultans Yusuf I and Muhammad V finished the beauty citadel we can admire today but that, only five centuries ago, was th Forbidden City of La Alhambra. “Harmonic balance between nature, and most of all, a heavenly isolation from its immediate surroundings”. (Text taken from Tomás Navarro’s book La Alhambra Escondida -“The Hidden Alhambra”-) The Alhambra was a palace, a citadel, fortress, and the home of the Nasrid sultans, high government officials, servants of the court and elite soldiers (from the 13th to the 14th century). Today, the monument is divided into four main areas: the Palaces, the military zone or Alcazaba, the city or Medina and the agricultural estate of the Generalife. All of these areas are surrounded by woods, gardens and orchards. Other notable buildings belonging to a different time period are also included, such as the Renaissance style Palace of Charles V, which houses the Alhambra Museum (most of the items are fr How to visit the Alhambra
The Albaicin and the Sacromonte neighbourhoods
The Albaicín (World Heritage Site) and the Sacromonte are two of the districts with more colour, enchantment and history of the city of Granada. To wonder around the Albaicín is to make a trip to its moriscs roots in as well as an enjoyment for the senses. To cross its labyrinth of narrow streets perfumed of blossom smell, to contemplate the gardens of cármenes (its typical houses) or to accompany an aromatic tea with delicious Arab sweets, are experiences that the visitor does not have to miss. Ivies and bougainvilleas hung from whitewashed walls. In their interior, beautiful gardens, cultivated areas and fruit trees turn the cármenes in small farmhouses. In them there is exuberance and a colourful atmosphere in which their streets participate as well. Also from this neighbourhood, precious views of the Alhambra, of the city and the fertile plain can be contemplated, as we can verify in, for example, the viewpoints of San Nicholas and San Cristóbal. The Sacromonte neighbourhood is famous by its caves, in which the gypsies continue celebrating every night their flamenco songs and dance celebrations. It was here where the gypsies who came with the Catholic Kings troops when they conquered the city settled. The craftsmen worked the wicker, the forge and the copper, and the artists establish the roots of flamenco. Here the traditional zambra was born, as well as native dances and songs like the mosca or the capucha. The main monument of the Sacromonte is its Abbey, where relics and testimonies of the first Christians of Granada are conserved and, among them, the first bishop of the city: San Cecilio. The Centre of Interpretation of the Sacromonte also allows knowing the history of the neighbourhood.
To Enjoy the Tapas and the Cuisine from Granada
Little plates of stewed snails, potatoes a lo pobre, battered fish, migas and pinchos constantly pass by the bars of bars and tascas in Granada. The tapas constitute a sample of the food of the place that comes when the clients order a wineglass or a beer. Authentic food in miniature constitutes a tasty and varied alternative for informal suppers or lunches. To go to have tapas with the friends is one of the more rooted customs in the province. To go for tapas will also captivate the visitor. To wander around the old historical city centre, a beautiful historical scene, while having tapas in the local places, is a full cultural activity. The Albaicín, Campo del Principe or the Elvira Street are places where you should go by if you want to know the tapas in Granada. The tapas are just a small sample of what the cuisine from Granada offers. Throughout the centuries the creations and traditional recipes of the Jewish, Arab and Christian cultures have been merged to give way to an original and full cuisine. Thus, honey, spices and fruits are used to season and to accompany meats and fishes, providing tasty dishes like the lamb with apples, gachas with honey, the chicken with almonds or the trout with grenades. In addition, there is a wide variety of plates that have in common their touch “al ajillo”. Others of the specialties of the area are the salads and cold soups that match with the pleasant temperatures of the region. Gazpachos, pipirranas, ajoblanco (with flour of beans), salads of orange and cod are some of them. You should not forget the excellent sausages that are obtained from the traditional ´matanza´. Because all of this the cuisine from Granada can satisfy all tastes.
To know the architecture alpujarreña is to make a trip in the time until finding its origins in the Berbers tribes who inhabited this area. Constructions of similar characteristic are found in the Riff and other places throughout the Mediterranean arc. Its style adapts to the mountainous surroundings, following its geographic features. The houses have a staggered form, with a Southern or to opened spaces orientation to take advantage of the good weather. Nowadays all the whitewashed towns shine, but at other times their materials camouflaged perfectly with the landscape, obtaining a complete integration. The houses are built with stone, mud, slate, launa and wood of chestnut tree. Materials from the surrounding area that are perfectly integrated with the slopes and the weather conditions, providing an absolutely bioclimatic house. The houses are arranged one on top of another, following the slope of the mountain, giving to the streets a winding and chaotic layout. Another typical characteristic of the architecture alpujarreña is the chimneys, topped with a hat formed by a laja and a castigadera stone. Located between Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean Sea, it is an almost virgin region, ideal for the rural tourism and the practice of adventure sports. The Poqueira Ravine, with its white towns, has received a great prestige as tourist destination. Towns like Lanjarón, Trevélez, Cádiar, Órgiva and all the located in the green and fertile plain of Lecrín stand out as well.
To sleep in a house cave is an experience that allows the visitor to submerge completely in the culture and the form of life of more than 3,000 families from Granada. Excavated in the Earth, these houses are a great example of the integration of the man with the nature and the landscape.<BR><br>The accommodation in caves is typical of the Guadix and the Marquesado regions, in Baza-Huescar: The Plateau, and in the Granada’s neighbourhood of the Sacromonte. About thirty establishments are regulated and catalogued like tourist accommodation in caves. The common denominator of all of them is the service of quality and the respect to the environment. In them the guest will feel like at home, because all of them have the comforts of a tourist accommodation of quality. <BR><br>Each one of the caves is different from the others and in them it is possible to observe how the popular architecture adapts to the characteristics of the environment where they are. The hard and parched soil that, without offering resistance to be excavated, are compact and waterproof provide cool stays in summer and warm stays in winter.<BR><br>To stay in a house cave is to participate in the recovery and conservation of one of more peculiar constructive and architectonic traditions of Europe.
The extreme purity of waters of Riofrío, in Loja, provides one of star products of the Granada’s cuisine: the ecological caviar. A fish farm of this town has been able to breed the biggest population of sturgeons in captivity of the world. 400,000 units of Acipenser Nacarii swim in its waters. Species in danger of extinction whose females keep in their entrails the caviar of better quality: the beluga. During three decades of investigation and tests this company has got to be the only one that develops its ecological production to the one hundred percent in all its products. Its offer includes, in addition to beluga, the sturgeon and the trout, fresh, frozen or smoked in heat as well as creams and pâtés made with them. All of them can be tasted in the numerous restaurants of Riofrío. But the beluga is not the only attractive point of Western Granada. This region, located to the west of the province, is the cradle of ancestral cultures and its history is reflected in its monuments its main towns are Loja, Alhama of Granada, Montefrío, Íllora and Moclín. It has a vast Arab legacy that is noticed in all its streets and the numerous fortresses constructed during the reign of the Nasrid dynasty. Of Loja, also well-known like “City of Water” by his more than two thousand springs, is remarkable the Arab Alcazaba, the Iglesia Mayor, the dedicated church to Santa Catalina, the one of San Gabriel, the Convento de Santa Clara and the Pósito Nuevo. Also in the region of the West, it impresses the magnificent monumental complex formed in Montefrío by the Arab fortress and the Iglesia de la Villa, located in the top of a rock in an audacious architectonic show.