Spain. How to...

What to see in Granada?

Let's say you've never been to Spain. And you were asked: which Spanish cities are first of all remembered? I think that Granada will definitely fall into this list. After all, this is one of the most famous and visited places in Spain. And in the popular song once sang: "I left the house, went to war, to give the land in Granada to the peasants."

It is noticed: where two worlds, two cultures, two religions collide, a kind of explosion occurs which results in something unusual. This is just about Granada ...

Granada - for tourists

The first thing that attracts tourists in Granada is the monuments of the Arab period, the Gothic and the Renaissance. It's worth looking into the workshops, where one of the best guitars in the world is made, to the local observatory and the archaeological museum. Near the city you can visit the caves, where local gypsies found shelter. Strangely enough, there are now tenants. And, often their way of life is not less comfortable than in modern cities.

Many of Granada's sights are protected by UNESCO.

In 70 kilometers from the city begins a strip of beaches, in 30 - the ski resort of Sierra Nevada. By the way, the place is very famous. In 1996 the resort hosted the Winter Olympic Games.

And now, about everything in more detail.

Atypical Andalusia

According to legend, the city received its name from the three hills on which it is located. All together, they form a silhouette that resembles a grenade that has opened. Hence the "Granada".

Granada is the favorite city of Frederico Garcia Lorca. He said: "Who did not see Granada - he did not see anything!"

The city is located at an altitude of about 700 meters above sea level. This provided an uniqueness to the local climate. From the rest of Andalusia, it is characterized by a less hot summer, but a more severe winter. Another feature of the city is numerous students. One out of every six belongs to this category.

Arabs and Christians

The settlements on the site of Granada existed long before our era. The place here is so convenient and fertile that ancient people could not bypass it by any means. The advent of our era brought here the power of Rome, then the barbarian kings, and even later - Byzantium and the Visigoths. The eighth century extended over the region the domination of the Arabs, which left an indelible mark in the history of Granada.

One dynasty of Arab rulers succeeded another, and Granada, becoming the capital of one of the Andalusian states, flourished, turning into the pearl of the Iberian Peninsula. Here, amazing palaces were built, science, crafts developed, immortal works of art were created. But it all ends. Ended and the Arab period in the history of Granada.

By the end of the fifteenth century, Christian kings had completed the conquest of the region. Together with them came a decline and desolation. The enlightened Arab population was expelled. This destroyed the foundation of the economic and cultural prosperity of a small country. It also happened that Granada ceased to be the capital of an independent state.

But life did not stop. With time, Granada became a religious and scientific center. In 1531 a university was opened here. He continued the glorious traditions that existed here since the fourteenth century, the madrasah. Today the university is not just preserved as an educational institution, it enjoys a high scientific authority among scholars of Spain and the rest of Europe.

It must be admitted that the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were not the best periods in the history of Granada. But for decades after the dictatorship of Franco the region came to life, began to attract a lot of tourists. Today, people here look with confidence in the future.

Alhambra Palace Fortress

One of the most important and famous sights of Granada is the fortress of the Alhambra - the Red Fortress. This is the only monument of the architecture of the Arab period, which is completely preserved.

The fortress was built in the 11th century as a residence of local rulers. It embodied all the achievements of architecture and architecture of that period. The Alhambra combines the amazing elegance of palaces and the comfort of small courtyards with the magnificence of fountains, pools and luxurious gardens.

A special sign of the Alhambra is the decoration of the rooms. Everything is done, really, in a royal way. For example, in one of the halls the imagination of visitors is struck by a vault in the form of honeycombs. The guides assure that there are 5000 cells in it.

Marble decoration of the palace does not need comments from guides. It remains in the memory of the amazed spectators for a long time. And this despite the fact that centuries of wars and robberies have markedly diminished the charm of the old palace. What splendor here could be seen in the heyday of the Alhambra?

But in the palace you need not only to

For example, on one of the dried cypress trees of the palace garden hangs a noteworthy tablet. She certifies that the tree witnessed secret meetings of one of the wives of Sultan Boabdil with a nobleman, and the remainder of the unknown.

No matter how conspiratorized lovers, the Sultan traced them, but he could not seize the offender. He managed to escape. Sultan only managed to see the family coat of arms on his clothes. Then the lord called in his harem all men of this kind - from old men to boys. The call to the holy of holies of the Sultan meant a death sentence. And indeed, all the men of the family were executed for the love affairs of their relative ...

The Alhambra is the most visited tourist attraction in Spain - the palace complex primes up to 8 million tourists a year! On the fortress wall of the legendary Alhambra are inscribed the words:

Give him, mistress, serve,

For there is no share more cruel,

Than to be blind in Granada.

The guide will immediately explain to you that such cruelty is caused not only and not so much by jealousy. Simply, the Sultan was afraid that sooner or later a child born not from him would take part in the division of his inheritance.

The popularity of the fortress among tourists is so great that they spend hours idle in line for inspection. Here they even introduced the rule: for half an hour only 600 tickets can be sold. On each ticket, the exact time is marked when the tour begins.

An influx of tourists is associated with an amusing incident. One wealthy American, to properly inspect the fortress, bought immediately 1200 tickets and spent an hour wandering alone around the buildings.

There was also a different kind of case. This time an American, just after the tour, took and threw herself from the top of the Women's Tower. What pushed her to such an act remained unknown. In any case, the tragically majestic image of the Alhambra received an additional bright touch ...

Paradise Garden of the Generalife

In addition to the Alhambra, tourists in Granada must visit the gardens of the Generalife. These plantings copy, described in the Koran, paradise gardens and are hardly inferior to them in magnificence.

The gardens surround the ancient country residence of the Sultans. The residence and gardens were erected at the beginning of the 14th century. Together with the Alhambra and the urban district of Albaicin, they form the medieval part of Granada.

Annually in the Spanish towns of Guadis and Baza, located in the province of Granada, from September 6 to 9, the festival of mud (Cascamorras) takes place. Within the framework of the festivities, the two Granada communities play out the age-old ritual of conquering and returning the statuette of the Blessed Virgin that belongs to them. According to tradition, around 1490, an unskilled laborer from Guadisa, while destroying a convent in Baz, found a statue of the Blessed Virgin among the rubble. The find remained with the residents of the Base, but this caused discontent in Gaudis. Then it was decided that if someone from the inhabitants of Guadisa can enter the Base and get to the monastery, without staining the clothes, Baza will return the statuette to Gaudis. Even after five hundred years, one of the inhabitants of Guadisa annually dresses up in a jester known as the "cascamorras", and overcomes a 3-kilometer path to the Base in order to return the statuette.

Today, the Generalife is a striking example of Arab medieval architecture and garden art. The historical monument is protected by UNESCO.

The attraction occupies an impressive area and consists of a number of buildings, courtyards and directly garden areas.

Entrance to the gardens is framed by an exquisite cypress alley. True, it can not boast of an ancient origin, it was planted only in 1931. And all the work on the gardens ended in 1951. However, the style of Arab gardeners, typical of their creations, the poetic atmosphere is fully reproduced by gardeners of the twentieth century. They succeeded in repeating the intricate mosaics of the Arabs, copying the elegance of the flower beds and the luxury of the Sultan basins.

The center of the whole garden and architectural composition is the Courtyard of the Canal. It is built according to the scheme borrowed from the Persians: the courtyard cross to the cross is crossed by two well-arranged canals. In addition to the aesthetic, they have a purely practical purpose: they serve as a source of water for local flowers, alleys of oranges, laurels, cypresses and myrtle trees. The canals, along their entire length, are accompanied by majestic columns, flower beds, pavilions of various sizes and destinations.

A special charm of the landscape is betrayed by the trickling trickles of numerous fountains, neatly trimmed trees and bushes crowns.

Impressive picture of gardens, from any point of view, amazes with the deep thoughtfulness of design, testifies to the highest artistic taste of their creators. Not for nothing did the idea of ​​the gardens of the Generalife be born when reading the chapters of the Koran dedicated to Paradise ...

On the way to the Arab past, but also to listen. Here you will be told about the dramatic relations of Christians and Arabs, about the rivers of blood spilled under the walls of the Alhambra and inside it. You will be told and love stories. Moreover, their reliability is not so important in comparison with the deep meaning of the story.

For example, on one of the dried cypress trees of the palace garden hangs a noteworthy tablet. She certifies that the tree witnessed secret meetings of one of the wives of Sultan Boabdil with a nobleman, and the remainder of the unknown.

No matter how conspiratorized lovers, the Sultan traced them, but he could not seize the offender. He managed to escape. Sultan only managed to see the family coat of arms on his clothes. Then the lord called in his harem all men of this kind - from old men to boys. The call to the holy of holies of the Sultan meant a death sentence. And indeed, all the men of the family were executed for the love affairs of their relative ...

The Alhambra is the most visited tourist attraction in Spain - the palace complex primes up to 8 million tourists a year! On the fortress wall of the legendary Alhambra are inscribed the words:

Give him, mistress, serve,

For there is no share more cruel,

Than to be blind in Granada.

The guide will immediately explain to you that such cruelty is caused not only and not so much by jealousy. Simply, the Sultan was afraid that sooner or later a child born not from him would take part in the division of his inheritance.

The popularity of the fortress among tourists is so great that they spend hours idle in line for inspection. Here they even introduced the rule: for half an hour only 600 tickets can be sold. On each ticket, the exact time is marked when the tour begins.

An influx of tourists is associated with an amusing incident. One wealthy American, to properly inspect the fortress, bought immediately 1200 tickets and spent an hour wandering alone around the buildings.

There was also a different kind of case. This time an American, just after the tour, took and threw herself from the top of the Women's Tower. What pushed her to such an act remained unknown. In any case, the tragically majestic image of the Alhambra received an additional bright touch ...

Paradise Garden of the Generalife

In addition to the Alhambra, tourists in Granada must visit the gardens of the Generalife. These plantings copy, described in the Koran, paradise gardens and are hardly inferior to them in magnificence.

The gardens surround the ancient country residence of the Sultans. The residence and gardens were erected at the beginning of the 14th century. Together with the Alhambra and the urban district of Albaicin, they form the medieval part of Granada.

Annually in the Spanish towns of Guadis and Baza, located in the province of Granada, from September 6 to 9, the festival of mud (Cascamorras) takes place. Within the framework of the festivities, the two Granada communities play out the age-old ritual of conquering and returning the statuette of the Blessed Virgin that belongs to them. According to tradition, around 1490, an unskilled laborer from Guadisa, while destroying a convent in Baz, found a statue of the Blessed Virgin among the rubble. The find remained with the residents of the Base, but this caused discontent in Gaudis. Then it was decided that if someone from the inhabitants of Guadisa can enter the Base and get to the monastery, without staining the clothes, Baza will return the statuette to Gaudis. Even after five hundred years, one of the inhabitants of Guadisa annually dresses up in a jester known as the "cascamorras", and overcomes a 3-kilometer path to the Base in order to return the statuette.

Today, the Generalife is a striking example of Arab medieval architecture and garden art. The historical monument is protected by UNESCO.

The attraction occupies an impressive area and consists of a number of buildings, courtyards and directly garden areas.

Entrance to the gardens is framed by an exquisite cypress alley. True, it can not boast of an ancient origin, it was planted only in 1931. And all the work on the gardens ended in 1951. However, the style of Arab gardeners, typical of their creations, the poetic atmosphere is fully reproduced by gardeners of the twentieth century. They succeeded in repeating the intricate mosaics of the Arabs, copying the elegance of the flower beds and the luxury of the Sultan basins.

The center of the whole garden and architectural composition is the Courtyard of the Canal. It is built according to the scheme borrowed from the Persians: the courtyard cross to the cross is crossed by two well-arranged canals. In addition to the aesthetic, they have a purely practical purpose: they serve as a source of water for local flowers, alleys of oranges, laurels, cypresses and myrtle trees. The canals, along their entire length, are accompanied by majestic columns, flower beds, pavilions of various sizes and destinations.

A special charm of the landscape is betrayed by the trickling trickles of numerous fountains, neatly trimmed trees and bushes crowns.

Impressive picture of gardens, from any point of view, amazes with the deep thoughtfulness of design, testifies to the highest artistic taste of their creators. Not for nothing did the idea of ​​the gardens of the Generalife be born when reading the chapters of the Koran dedicated to Paradise ...

On the way to the Arab past

You can not visit Granada and do not visit the Albaicin quarter. At the time of the Arabs it was the richest and largest area of ​​the city. According to some reports, at the time of the arrival of Christians, there were about 60 thousand people living there, there were almost 30 mosques, there were huge reservoirs with water.

In the XIII and XIV centuries. The Granada Emirate was the richest country in Spain. The task of the architect of the Alhambra was to use all the means available to him to create a luxurious palace that amazes the richness of its interiors, designed for both lavish receptions and intimate life.

Christians who conquered Granada at first promised to respect the traditions and lifestyle of the Arab townspeople. But the words broke up with the case. Local residents were forced to forcibly convert to the Christian faith, to choke taxes, oppress them in all available ways. The answer, naturally, was insurrection, suppressed with particular cruelty. The struggle lasted until the beginning of the seventeenth century, when all the Arabs were finally forced out of Spain. So Albaicin fell into decay ...

Today this area leads you narrow, neatly paved streets directly into the depths of bygone times. You find yourself surrounded by luxurious Moorish mansions that hide their beauty behind high fences and thick tree crowns. You will also meet ancient baths with star-shaped holes on the ceilings. The uniform whiteness of houses and fences completely in Arabic dilutes the multicolored gardens, vegetable gardens and flower beds of local residents.

Here and there you will meet the remains of the fortress wall of Albaicine. Fragments of the main and secondary gates have survived. Some of them date back to the 9th-11th centuries. Already on these fragments it is possible to judge how significant and rich this part of Granada was.

There is "Holy Mountain" nearby. In its caves lived local gypsies, perfectly mastered music and dancing in the style of "flamenco". Now the mountain is known for the monastery of Abadia del Sacromonte. In the monastery is kept the greatest shrine - the power of the patron Saint Cecilio.

In the palace of Casa de Castril, tourists are waited no less interesting sight - the exposition of the Museum of Archeology. They cover a huge time interval: from primitive times to the epoch of sultans rule.

Since the 16th century, buildings of Christian architects began to appear in Albaicine. Since that time, the Convento de la Santa Catalina female monastery, the Royal Chancellery building, Catholic churches, etc. have survived. To some of them could be born, Arab architecture had to make room. In particular, the temple of El Salvador was built on the site of the main mosque of Albaicin. From her there was only a courtyard for ablutions. Such a fate befell many other mosques.

Despite the turbulent history and numerous perestroika, Albaicin still managed to preserve the original architecture and the Arabian structure of the streets - labyrinths. That's why, having got here, you feel yourself traveling on a time machine in Arabic even Granada. This feeling is especially amplified at the highest point of Albaicine - a 773-meter belvedere San Cristobal. From here you can view the whole city, but with a rich imagination, and its history.

Sierra Nevada - Spanish Switzerland

Not far from Granada are the majestic mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada. As a ski resort they became known relatively recently - from the mid-90s of last century. Then, at the World Championships, the best skiers of the planet competed here. But the skiing in these places is popular not for the first ten years.

The center of the mountain resort is the small town of Treveles. It is located at an altitude of 2100 meters above sea level. The city is a highway of excellent quality.

It should be noted that Treveles attracts tourists not only with mountain trails, but also with "night life". There is a huge number of all kinds of discos, restaurants and bars. Therefore, the silence descends on the city only at three o'clock in the morning ...

Sierra Nevada is the southernmost ski resort in Europe. The height in Europe is second only to the Alps.

The town itself resembles a village in the Swiss Alps. The Alps are also reminiscent of the local ski runs. Apparently all the mountain resorts in Europe are somewhat similar to each other. However, there are also noticeable differences - price levels. According to this indicator, the Sierra Nevada looks much preferable to the Austrian, French and the same Swiss mountain resorts. However, slightly loses to the resorts of Slovakia.

The peculiarity of the local ski slopes is their availability for beginners. There is a surprise specially for Russians: here it is not difficult to find a Russian-speaking instructor. After a few lessons, you will be quite ready to go to the main route of the Sierra Nevada - the "blue river".

By the way, tourists who come here have a unique opportunity to watch the training of professional athletes. In Treveles operates the highest mountain in Europe, the center for the preparation of alpine skiers.

And you will be pleasantly surprised by the climate of the region. It is much warmer here than in the Alpine resorts. Climbing to a height of 3000 meters above sea level, in the daytime you will be in plus temperature. Surprisingly, the quality of the snow slopes from the temperature "plus" does not deteriorate. This fairy tale is true!