GRANADA is made for strolling and daydreaming and everything that should be said about GRANADA can be summarised with the verse by Francisci A de Icaza "Give him alms, woman, as there is no greater tribulation in life than being blind in Granada".
No other city embodies the romance and mystery of Islamic Spain as GRANADA does.
The ALHAMBRA PALACE - FORTRESS, dominating the skyline from its hilltop perch, and the fascinating ALBAYZIN, the old Islamic quarter, also rising above the modern city, are highlights of a visit to Spain.
With a buzzing cultural life, excellent bars and a great nightlife, plus GRANADA is a hotbed of flamenco, this is one of the most spectacular capital cities in Spain, with its history and monuments being a testimony to this fact.
It was the meeting point of Islam and Christian cultures and in 1492, the same year that America was discovered, the Catholic Monarchs FERDINAND and ISABELLA entered the last Arab bastion on the Iberian Peninsula.
The ALHAMBRA is declared a World Heritage Site and this splendid palace is a must-see destination for all travellers visiting ANDALUSIA.
GRANADA is a city of monuments, palaces, lovely parks and gardens, with the most famous being the GENERALIFE GARDENS.
The palace of EL GENERALIFE dates from the beginning of the 14th century and used to be the residence where Kings retired to rest. The Cathedral, built between 1518-1704, where, the Royal Chapel houses the tombs of the Catholic Monarchs, Juana de Castilla (called Mad Queen Joanna) and Felipe el Hermoso (Philip the Far).
The Monastery of San Jeronimo and the Monastery Santa Isabel la Real have eye catching gardens, whilst the church and hospital of SAN JUAN DE DIOS is the most important Baroque structure in the city and has the remains of SAN JUAN DE DIOS, (ST JOHN OF GOD) laid to rest.
With so much to see in GRANADA it is impossible to mention everything. Take your time and walk this beautiful city and find the LA ALCAICERIA and ZACATIN, the old Moorish silk market, where skilled craftsmen were once plentiful, and the Plaza de Bib-Rambla, once a flower market.
The ALBAICIN area is full of history, churches, convents and of course the ARAB BATHS. From beginning to end walk through EL ALBAICIN, dotted with "carmenes", houses surrounded by gardens, small squares and hidden places, gives off the air of peace and tranquillity and is an unforgettable experience.
Lying on a hill facing the ALHAMBRA, it is here that the Zirid Monarchs established their court in the 11th century, but all that remains of the fortress are some walls and the gates of El Arco de las Pesas, Monaita and Elvira.
On a narrow lane is CASA DE LOS PISA PALACE where San Juan de Dios died in 1550, now belonging to the religious order of "Hospitalarios" and houses a rich collection of art.
There are numerous places to visit in this historic quarter but make sure you do not miss the THE ROYAL CHANCELLERY, a 16th century RENAISSANCE PALACE, and the Palacio de Dar-Al-Horra, 15th century palace where AIXA, the mother of BOABDIL lived.
The ALBAICIN used to house numerous textile industries, silk and dye merchants, and it is here that skilled potters lived and the FAJUAZA GATEWAY has given its name to the blue and green ceramic made in the district using Arab techniques.
SACROMONTE, the gypsy quarter, rests on a broad hill commanding a beautiful view of the city and is a popular district and is traditionally inhabited by gypsies.
Halfway to Sacromonte from Albaicin are the gypsy caves which were tunnelled out of the earth and are adorned with the hand-made copper and ceramic articles of GRANADA.
To the sound of clapping and guitars, the gypsy dances called ZAMBRAS, are performed long into the night, along with the FLAMENCO it is heart-rendering, full of vitality and the essence of all that is ANDALUSIA!
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