If you come to Granada you have to go to these places. They are unique to Granada and what makes it very interesting, along with the Alhambra of course.
As you walk around the shops and tea rooms and behind Plaza Nueva you'd be forgiven if you thought you were in Morocco! That goes for parts of the Albayzin and Sacromonte too! You have to check out the Cuerva's (caves houses) in Sacromonte although I live above a cave house in the Albayzin too!
The Albayzin is the old Arab quarter. It is full of whitewashed houses typical of Andalucia and narrow cobbled streets. It is a village with a city tacked on to the edge of it. It is a great place to live because you can work in the city and escape to your little village at night. It is also a great place for relaxing Sunday walks.
The Albayzin and Sacromonte are UNESCO world heritage sites.
The Albayzin is the place where Granada was born.
This part of Granada was probably my favorite, we tried wandering through the area following the map in Lonely Planet but as we were doing it backwards at some point I missed a connection and we decided to go whatever route looked most interesting (and didn't require too much climbing!). We were more or less by ourselves except for the construction workers we ocassionally encountered so we seemed to be well off the beaten path. It's built on one of Granada's two hills so at points you can't see the Alhambra, my point of orientation, but every now and again we'd catch a glimpse of it and I'd know which way we were headed. Once we had enough, we headed down and ended back up in the Plaza Nueva.
The next morning I got up and decided to do the tour properly from the Lonely Planet book, I encountered quite a few more people "on the beaten path", many holding the same guide book as me or following along after an umbrella toting guide.
Lonely Planet's guide to this area was pretty good but I'd supplement their map with a more detailed street map. Frommer's had little coverage of this area.
It's a very interesting area, with buildings dating back to the time of the Moors, old gates in the defensive walls and breathtaking views of Granada and the Alhambra. For more pictures and a bit more on what you'll see in this area, please visit my travelogue
The Albaicin is the Arab quarter or moorish district. It is a very picturesque part of the town, built on a hill facing the Alhambra. Here you will find nice small and steep streets, romantic plazas, and great views on the Alhambra. At the beginning of this quarter (at the foot of the hill) you will also find some really touristy streets that are filled with small shops selling Arab souvenirs, teahouses, etc.
One of the best-known places of the Albaicin lies further up the hill. It is a place (you cannot miss it) where you have a great view of the Alhambra, the Generalife with the dramatic backdrop of the Sierra Nevada.
Especially just before sunset, this place is filled with people.
Avoid the Albaicin after dark, it can be a real labyrinth and can be a bit dangerous as well during the night.
Our hostal was only a hop, skip and jump away from Granada's historic Albaicin quarter with its old Moorish influenced buildings and winding streets, so we decided to take a little stroll from Plaza Nueva. It actually turns out that the Plaza was built to cover the small Rio Darro as it flows through the city there, providing more open space for the citizens as the river flows quietly below. As a result, it was only a few minutes before we were walking beside the uncovered portion of the river, which was just a trickle at this time of year.
This area first rose to prominence after the fall of Cordoba to Christians in 1236, forcing the Moors to retreat to Granada and develop this part of the city for the refugees, many of whom were quite rich. We actually had a good view of the Albaicin and its walls earlier in the day from the Alhambra, located high above on the other side of the river. Over the ensueing centuries, the Albaicin quarter has developed an interesting mix of architectural styles, such as the wooden balconies we soon encountered (2nd photo).
After exploring a few shops with their goods on display, we headed up-hill for a bit before winding our way back toward the Plaza on some of the lesser-used side streets in this part of Granada. We always had to be wary of cars and vans suddenly appearing because these narrow streets often did not have any sidewalks - but at least you could hear the vehicles approaching from around a curve. The final photo shows a view down a typical narrow alley leading toward the river, with the fortress tower of the Alcazaba (part of the Alhambra) looming on the opposite valley hill-top.
Just next to The Alhambra Palace,you can go to this beautiful quarter of Granada.It is also a very tourist spot and has a lot of shops and nice restaurants.Is always good to walk in all these narrow streets,and see everything there.Also has a few nice little churches that can be visited.
This is a picture taken from the Alhambra,here you can see a nice church ,it is Iglesia de San Cristobal,located in Albaycin quarter.Also here you can find some Tablaos Flamencos for a nice and tipical spanish night out.,and a lot of restaurants and tapas bars.
Be careful to walk alone on these narrow streets on late night,you may find some pickpockets looking for some vague tourists!.
After touring the Alhambra, we came down the hill and walked toward the Old Arabic Quarter known as ALBAICIN. It is a quaint little area of Grenada where you can walk along the River Darro and have views of the walls of the Alhambra complex.
The Albaicin is the old Arabic quarter located on the hill opposite the Alhambra.
It has steep cobble stoned streets with white washed houses.
There are interesting squares and places to eat, plus great views over the city.
It is a great area to just wander around and get a little lost on the narrow winding streets.
Wander up through the Arab 'Albaicin' district and you will eventually come to the Plaza de San Nicolas. It is a short distance from the famous Mirador de San Nicolas, which is signposted throughout the area. Plaza de San Nicolas is a large, wonderful, chilled-out terrace with direct views of the Alhambra and the mountains. The square is beautifully paved with decorative stones, has plenty of seats (and low walls) and fruit trees.
Like several other groups of people, I followed the sound of guitar music to find the square. It was a Saturday evening and the square had three or four guitar players sitting on the walls. There were a lot of young couples and, generally, people of all types enjoying the atmosphere.
Several busy bars and restaurants nearby, as well as the previously mentioned Mirador, for food and drinks.
Albayzin or Albaicin is Granadas' old Moorish quarter , where a labrinth of streets wind around the hill west of the Alhambra.
Albayzin was designated a World Heritage site in 1994.
Iberian & Romans had settlements here. During the 11th C. Zirid monarchs established their feifdom or taifa. In the 13th C. Christian conquorers drove the Naorids south to Granada, and on seizing power built The Alhambra palace on the opposite hill.
The defeated Zirids left their city to crumble -all that remains today are a short stretch of the city walls, and the gates - Elvira , El Arode las Pesas , Monaita and part of Bab-Al-Bonud.
Albayzin possibly means 'Quarter of the people of Baeza'.
Moors living in the northern city of Baeza, were driven out by the Christians in the 13th century, whereupon they fled south, arriving at Granada. Here they set up home in the northern part of the hill, naming it after their old city.
Some think the name means Quarter of the falconers.
Many visiters only see a small part of Albaicin, heading to the Mirador St. Nicholas, for a view of the Alhambra, ticking that off their list, then heading to Sacromonte or back into Granada.
On my first visit I caught the mini bus, then walked up and down and around, but later realised I had only seen a small part - mainly Alto Albaicin or High Albaicin.
On my 2nd visit, as part of a guided tour, we approached by crossing Gran Via de Colon near the Cathedral.
Walking up one of the small side streets, we were soon 'off the beaten track' catching glimpses of the Alhambra , peering into Carmens, visiting museums and learning about this area of Albaicin, and some of the lesser known attractions.
Some popular places to see in Albaicin :-
Carrera del Darro (Considered the prettiest street in Granada with its bridges, palaces and churches), Banuela (Arabic baths), Ig. Santa Ana ,Mirador St Nicholas, Coliegiata de Salvador, Pl Largo (the heart of Albaicin), Paseo del Triestes (restaurants and terrace with view of the Alhambra)
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