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GRANADA AREA INFO

Granada, said to be one of the most beautiful cities of Spain, sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada between the Darro and Genil rivers. It is a city of extremes, it's location gives the city summers of 40 degrees plus and below zero winters whilst it's rich and eventful history leaves it's imprint throughout a modern vibrant city in it's culture and architecture.

 

It's excellent road links provide easy access to the cities of Sevilla, Malaga and Almeria while the Mediterranean coast is less than an hours drive south. Nowadays Granada is an important commercial city for Spain.

 

The area was first settled in the prehistoric period, later becoming a Roman colony known as Illibris. It was after the Moorish invasions of the Peninsula during the 8th Century that Granada was given its current name. Under this Moorish domination, Granada became the most advanced city in Europe, a centre of excellence for Islamic arts and culture. It was the last Muslim city to fall to the Catholic Monarchs and this has left a distinct Arab flavour to the city.

 

It was the publication in 1832 of Washington Irvings romantic 'Tales of the Alhambra' that first put Granada on the tourist map and it hasn't looked back since. It is an unforgettable town with an impressive mix of old and new, on the plain is the modern city of Granada with it's rigid street layout whilst the surrounding hills are home to the districts of the old town with their steep, narrow and winding streets and white-washed homes. At the heart of the city you'll find a lively, bustling centre with just about everything expected to be found in a modern day city with a wealth of shops and a wide and varied selection of restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. At the same time a walk through this city's streets will take the visitor past many splendours that serve as a reminder of Granada's rich heritage.

 

Granada is home to the third largest university in Spain. The University of Granada was founded under the initiative of the Emperor Carlos V in 1531 and has become one of the top universities within Spain. The city has a population of 240,000 of which 60,000 are students this gives Granada has a distinctive youthful energy and modern outlook while managing to preserve a strong sense of history.

 

For those seeking culture there are numerous events that take place during the year including the 'Arte en la Calle' (Art in the Street Festival) and the International Festival of Music and Dance. Among the cities many museums are the Parque de las Ciencias and the Museum Casa de los Tiros while monuments include the Catedral de la Anunciacion and, of course, The Alhambra Palace - Spains number one tourist attraction.

 

For a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city centre head for the Albaicin area, the original setting for the 8th Century Moorish Court. Located on the hill opposite the Alhambra Palace (and accessed just off the Plaza Nueva) the Albaizin is made up of cobblestoned streets and quiet plazas lined with white-washed houses where the visitor will find numerous Morrocan tea-shops, restaurants and gift shops. Its interesting to note that this area of the city was recently declared a World Heritage Site and anyone enjoying a leisurely wander through its charming streets could easily forget they were in a thriving metropolis!

 

The best times to visit Granada are spring and autumn. During the summer months it can become unbearably hot with temperatures often reaching 40C whilst in winter, despite blue skies during the day, the nights can be cold with the occasional frost and even the odd dusting of snow.

The Alhambra:

Built on the Sabika Hill overlooking the city of Granada this magnificent fortress and palace was the home of the Nasrid Dynasty (1238-1492), the last Islamic Sultanate in Spain.

An original Ziridian fortress had existed here from the 11th Century known in Arabic as Al Qal'a al-Hamra - the red fort. When the Nasrid King Ibn al-Ahmer chose Granada as his capital he began adding to the existing structure by building towers and walls. The construction of a palace was begun although it was his 14th Century successors Yusuf I and Mohammed V who were responsible for the building and decoration of most of the rooms.

The main points of interest within the grounds are:

The Nasrid Palace - Royal palace consisting of beautifully designed and decorated function rooms, courtyards and living areas of the Muslim rulers.

The Palace of Carlos V - Renaissance style structure that adjoins the Nasrid Palace. Built by the Emporer Carlos V. A whole section of the original palace was demolished to make way for this building which consists of an outer square containing a circular central courtyard.

Tha Alcazaba - Fortress built on the highest part of the hill overlooking the surrounding area whose function was purely militaristic.

The Generalife - Consists of beautiful gardens, patios and fountains this is also the site of the Muslim rulers summer palace.

The Medina - A small town within the fortified walls used to house craftsmen who served the needs of the court. Remains of houses, baths and workshops can still be seen.

 


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Tranquill and Beautiful sights from the Lakeside
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The famous Alhambra in Granda Town.
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Views from the top of the town in Granada.
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The lakeside has been designed with its own beach surrounding the lake for swimming and fishing.