What was once the grand mosque of the area, in the 16th century it was demolished to build a Cathedral in its place. The foundations laid were in the baroque style, however over time, this evolved to a Renaissance interior and main building. It may be difficult to appreciate the scale of the project from the outside, due to its position nestled amongst other building. But from the inside, it is like nothing else. The marvellous columns, gold inlay, colouring, stained glass windows and sculptures are truly spectacular. The cap of a 30m domed ceiling completes the supportive, cave-like feeling. It is one of Europe’s biggest cathedrals, and certainly one of the most spectacular.
Located next to the Cathedral, Granada’s Royal Chapel is another beautiful highlight that shouldn’t be missed. With an equally rich and ornate interior, the facade is an intricate gothic in honey colour stone. The chapel is extremely significant to the area, as it is the resting place of Isabella I and Fernando II. These were two Catholic monarchs which conducted the Reconquista reclaiming the city. Their beautiful tombs were crafted in alabaster by the Italian Domenico Fancelli. A number of tombs of their family members are also housed here.
As somewhere which has held refugees from all walks of life, Granada has a number of interesting neighbourhoods. In front of the Alhambra is the Sacromonte traditional residential area. After the Reconquista and the rule of Catholic Monarchs in the 16th century, it became home to the city’s gipsy population. The neighbourhood is literally built out of the rock face of the slopes of Valparaiso. As such, no two homes are the same inside, as they are all influenced by their position on the hill. There are approximately 150 cave homes still standing from the original number of over 1000. It is a great opportunity to see how the city bohemians used to live.
One of the other exciting and historic neighbourhoods of the city is Albaicín. It is where the Moors who did not wish to leave their home city decided to take up their livelihoods. It has also been the residential area of many immigrants from Morocco over the years. Nowadays, it is a super fun place to go to try a taste of the Arabic experience. There are streets lined with colourful clothes, rugs and glassware. You can get into the market for food and a variety of colourful spices. Another key highlight is the variety of tea houses, which also serve special spiced coffees and churros con chocolate. Also, you couldn’t find a better area for the traditional cuisine of the area.
The classic spot where all the best photos of the Alhambra are taken. With the golden sunlight illuminating the marvellous royal complex to the backdrop of the looming Sierra Nevada mountains. Truly, it is a magnificent sight to see. It is also in the domain of the St Nicholas church, with an open plaza outside. Some walking is necessary to ascend the hill up here, but it is entirely worth it. Plenty of benches are located here to relax and enjoy the Buena Vista.
The Best Place to See Flamenco in Granada
The gipsy culture which is entwined with the Sacromonte neighbourhood is the heart of great Flamenco. It is, therefore, one of the best places to catch a show. Many establishments also serve food along with the show. And of course, a local sangria or Tinto de Verano would suit the occasion. Show prices are often around 10-20 euros per person. A cultural heritage of Andalucia that should not be missed out on.