Alcaiceria - Zoco, Granada
The name Alcaicería literally means either the "house of Caesar" or "belonging to Caesar" in recognition of the fact that Emperor Justinian granted the Moors permission to sell silk. Today it is a tourist trap of the first line. Simple items that should sell for pennies go for dollars....but if you look carefully you CAN find a few bargins. We saw two knife shops next to each other and I checked out some of the folding pocket knives and they had good prices.
From what I could learn this is not the original market, which burned down in the 18th century, but rather a rebuilt market (actually rebuilt only two years after it burned down, pretty quick work, must have been a good tourist business even then).
This is now taken up with souvenir shops but it was once a great bazaar where silk was made and sold. Alcaicería literally means either the "house of Caesar" or "belonging to Caesar" in recognition of the fact that Emperor Justinian granted the Moors permission to sell silk.
El Gran Bazar de Granada se extendía desde Plaza Nueva hasta la Plaza Bibarrambla, y tenía fama tanto en el reino de los moros como el de los cristianos. Ahora hay muchas tiendas de souvenirs en esta zona pero antes era un bazar grande donde se fabricaba y se vendia seda.
Alcaiceria , (or al-kaysar-ia, as it was originally spelt) means either House of Caesar or Belonging to Caesar.
This area was so named following the act of Emporor Justinian which allowed the Moors to sell silk.
The Alpujarra mountain range, was important for the production of silk, where silkworms feasted on the leaves of the Mulberry trees. The raw material was then transported by mules, to Granada,where the silk threads were woven, then sold, either in bales, or made into clothing etc.
In the centre of Granadas' city, a bazaar was built , consisting of a grid like network of streets, with merchants shops, and inns, for the merchants to sleep, eat and conduct business. (The Corral del Carbon was originally a merchants inn - see my tip for further info).
Arched Gateways led into the bazzar, which were locked at night, while night watchmen guarded the area.
Originally, this bazaar covered the area from Plaza Nueva to Plaza Bib Rambla, and was a very important trading area.
However, on the night of 19th July 1843, a fire started in a shop that made matches, and the entire bazaar was destroyed. The area was soon re-built, but on a smaller scale.
Today, the bazaar still operates as a centre for trading, but mainly goods sold are souvenirs or crafts. It is an interesting place to wander around. Besides looking at the goods for sale, there are some good examples of Islamic architecture, and tiled wall decorations. Some of the shops sell some surprising combinations- in one of my pictures below, the shop sold jewellery, plus handcuffs, knives and guns!
The narrow streets can get quite crowded, so as always, keep a close eye on your belongings - it's an ideal area for pickpockets!
The rosemary wielding gypsy ladies also hang out around here.(Please see my warnings and danger tips for more info) Having said this, it's still a safe place - just be aware of Your belongings
The old signs are around and theres some stucco (carved plaster work) and zellij (tiles) that give the market some Moorish character - but apparently the place was devastated and then redone so it just didnt seem authentic or the same to me - a feel of set up to bring in tourists. But i do love these artistic sites so it was still worth a visit!
and its enroute to and from sites to sight such as the Cathedral, the fondouk and the Albacin.
You'll see a small archway off the famous BibRambla Square that leads into the narrow, tented streets of the Moroccan market. Colour, scents, music, vendors all create an impression that you've been magically transported to North Africa! Kaftans, jewelled slippers, skin drums, silver teapots, coloured tea glasses, leather bags, belly dancer outfits............all manner of things - don't forget to haggle.
One will feel completely disoriented when entering the Alcaiceria market area, for it does not feel like Spain anymore, but truly like Morocco or Tangier. Colorfoul racks and shelves ornate the side of its narrow streets, filled with treasures of Alibaba's cave up til the eye can see. Handmade leather shoes and sandals, drums, skin lamps, rugs, blankets, finely cut jewelry, scarves are only a sampple of the million other items one will find to bargain in the "zoco". This is a must for souvenirs as prices are fair and the merchandise of pretty good quality. A walk through this area with the cool and refreshing air the high builidings provide, with the smell of insence invading your senses and the music of a thousand and one nights... is some of the best experience Granada has to offer.
This area was the site of a former Muslim silk market and was restored in the 19th century. Today it's filled with mostly tourist shops but you can find some locally-produced crafts as well. If nothing else it is an experience just to walk through the very narrow alleyways and peer into the tiny shops. Like the Albayzin, it has a definite old world market feel about it.
This is great part of Granada which can be found just after the Cathedral on the left hand side if your coming from Gran Via.
It is filled with Flamenco dresses and Arabic products. Zoco means market and this little market has lots of goodies including jewellery, tables, pipes, té and accessories among other trinkets. Don't forget the Flamenco dresses, a must if you want to go to Feria (see feria tip).
Be careful of the Gypsies that walk the Zoco streets. They are the most forceful in town. Today I say a Gypsy force lavender into a young girls hand!
This is one of my favorite areas in Granada, just to see all the teterias and shops seemingly open all hours of the night. I felt like I was back in Jerusalem in the market.
the lights, the smell of apple tobacco and mint leaves in the streets.. magical.
There are many many Morrocan restauraunts here, and you can buy plenty of Moorish trinkets.
This is very near Plaza Nueva.
The Moslem market, close to the Cathedral (be careful of the gypsies trying to sell you thing there (they may be watching you for stealing purposes....)
Cross the Zoco till you go to the main street, ahead you will see the Corral del Carbon, where normally is the tourist office, (the last time I visited, it was closed under reconstruction), from there, we can go to the Town hall and have some tapas at Navas street or we have head up to the Plaza Nueva and have also tapas at Calle Elvira followed by some Morroco tea.
The old Arabic Marketplace located near the Cathedral. Interesing small shops selling everything at tourist prices.
Its a great place to be relieved of your unwanted wallets, cameras and mobile phones, pickpockets operate in the area, keep your valuables closely guarded.
Dont let this put you off visiting this nice district, just be careful and vigilant.
Take a walk in the Market
In the city center of Granada there are a lot of small streets full of shops. It's a wonderful area to have a walk and look around.
This is a neighbourhood with a lot of small stores. Very nice to walk around and buy some cheap maroccan stuff.