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  • Writer's pictureJay Hicks

Gran Granada

Updated: Oct 23, 2022

Alhambra from Mirador (Lookout) de San Nicolás

We did not know it at the time, but the pomegranate is the favorite, amongst all fruit, in Grenada, Spain. This is no surprise to Spanish speakers, because Granada means pomegranate. After their final victory over the Moors, the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand took the pomegranite as the symbol of Spain. The fruit remains on the Spanish flag today. But there is a lot more to Granada than fruit.

Pomegranite Bollards on Granada Streets

The best way to get around Granada is on foot. Due to traffic, a trip taking 30 minutes by taxi or bus would generally be 10 minutes faster by foot. Further, the scenery and points of interest demand your attention, which can not be given sitting in a vehicle. Even the farthest points in town are only a mile away, even though there may be hills.

One of many Moorish Homes on Hill to San Nicolás. Note the Roman Walk.

Obviously, the Alhambra is the big attraction in Granada. But there’s so much more to the area than just the castle. The shops, the views, and the old city are all fantastic. It’s interesting to note that part of the Granada is referred to as the old city, because much of the city is well over 500 years old. However, there is an older city within Granada's walls. The area around present-day avenue of Gran Vía de Colón has been inhabited since the Bronze Age.

Roman Walls, enhanced by the Moores

The walls were originally constructed by Romans and then later taken over and enhanced by the Moores. The strongest wall fortifications in this area face north, for protection from the most likely direction of invaders. At Restaurante Los Manueles on Reyes Catolics (Catholic Monarchs) has glass on their interior walls in several places. Visitors can see the structure of an adjacent old building from the Roman era in subteranian floors and "newer" Moorish walls upstairs.

Chocolate Y Churros at Plaza de Bib-Rambla

Not far outside the walls of the old city is a much 'newer' Cathedral, completed in 1561. On the way to Cathedral make sure you pass through the Plaza de Bib-Rambla, a great place to meet up with friends. With lots of open air restaurants, it is easy to find delights such as chocolate a la taza y churros.

Catedral de Granada

Built in the 1500s, Catedral de Granada is easy to view just outside of the old city. But as you approach it on foot in the narrow city streets, you almost walk up to the walls before you see this massive structure. Built in part by the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, you will find a statue of them in the cathedral. But if you want to see their resting place, you must pay another 5 euros and enter the Capilla Real de Granada from another door. Their sepulchers were made of Carrara Marble and are magnificent displays of Renaissance art. However, both the cathedral and Royal Chapel are worth the time and money. Fantastic architecture and tremendous history abound in this majestic place.

Sepulchers of Ferdinand and Isabelle in the Capilla Real de Granada

Granada is ground zero for Ferdinand and Isabella. In some ways you can say that this is the city of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catolics Reyes. They are so instrumental history. They funded Columbus' journey to the Americas', the removed the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, they also had tremendous offspring. Their youngest daughter Catherine of Aragon was married to Arthur, Prince of Wales, until his death, then Henry VIII. Another important heir was Charles V, who was Holy Roman Emporer, Archduke of Austria, King of Spain, Lord of the Netherlands, Duke of Burgandy.

1100 Year Old Gate of Elvira

As you leave the cathedral and walk back towards the old city, crossover Calle de Gran Via Colon, to Calle Elvira. Take a left on Elvira and continue for about 10 blocks to the Arc of Elvira. This location was the original entrance to the walled city. Original dates of the gate dates perhaps to the Romans, but it is cited in the 9th Century by Moorish literature, as it led to the old Medina of Elvira. Just a few stepd away you can still see and touch some of the original wall structure from Roman times. They still appear to be holding up the hillside in this earthquake prone location.

Granada is a fantastic place to visit with much to offer, well beyond the Alhambra.

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