Having immersed yourself in Mosques and Moorish architecture in the Albaicin the area round the cathedral marks a return to Christian Granada and the famous Catholic rulers who succeeded the Moors.
Ferdinand and Isabella commissioned Granada's enormous cathedral and while it doesn't hold a candle to the monuments of the Moors it is quite impressive in its own right. Its sheer size (115 m long x 67 m wide) is amazing for starters and I took three or four photos of what I thought was the main entrance, only to find a little later that it extended round yet another corner.The MAIN entrance ( I eventually discovered ) is on Gran Via but you can also enter from Calle de Carcel. Outside it looks more like a renaissance palace than a cathedral but inside is gorgeous with stained glass windows, richly decorated altars and gilded Baroque organs. Around the back of the cathedral is the Chapel Royal, built to enshrine the remains of Ferdinad and Isabella. Together, they dominate this whole area and browsing around the surrounding streets is an intensely pleasurable experience.The kind of experience that reminds you Granada is not just about the Alhambra.
The construction of the Cathedral took from the 16th to the 18th century.
It was built over the former Central Mosque and shows a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Barroque motives.
It is also the center point to began to walk around the town to discover its secrets.
This cathedral with its five naves is considered to be the most important Renaissance building of Spain. Built in the transition period of Gothic to Renaissance, it shows as well elements of this earlier style.
Specially remarkable are the main chapel, Capilla Mayor, the lateral chapels and of course the façade with its sculptures.
The Royal Chapel was built between 1505 and 1521 under Spain's catholic kings. The northern front was lateron integrated in the cathedral. Worth visiting are specially the kings' tombs of marble from Carrara. The museum shows paintings of the collection of Queen Isabel, among them works of Van der Weyden, Botticelli, Bouts and Berruguete, the queen's crown and scepter and sword of King Fernando.
In this part of town, located on a hill facing the Alhambra, was the king's residence during 11th century. Of this time still exist rests of the walls of the Alcazaba, the arcs of Puerta Monaita, Puerta Elvira and Arco de las Pesas, Arabian bathes and the Palace of Dar Al-Horra, which belonged to the mother of King Boabdil.
Several churches were built over Arabian mosques, rests of which still can be seen in their interior. In Iglesia del Salvador we find rests of Granada's Great Mosque, in Iglesia de San Juan de los Reyes of the mosque of the Alcazaba, while Santa Isabela la Real bears rests of a Moorish palace. The church of San Juan de los Reyes shows two marvelous minarets, and under the Convent of Santa Catalina there are rests of an Arabian house of 11th century.
Granada's Archaeological Museum shows highly interesting objects of prehistorical, phoenician and visigothic origins. Worth to mention are also the Church of San Nicolás, from where you have a fantastic view over Alhambra and Sierra Nevada, and the Royal Chancellery, Real Cancillería, a renaissance building with baroque elements.
Cathedral and surroundings: Here you can find the narrow streets which make up La Alcaicería and Zacatín, the old Moorish silk market and area of skilled craftsmen, today a colorful commercial area.
The Cathedral was built between 1518 and 1704, and although started in the Gothic style, most of the structure is Renaissance.
Favorite thing: The Bono Turistico pass entitles the holder to admission to the Cathedral, among other places. Visit it in late afternoon when the interior is awash with the sun's golden glow.
Favorite thing: I had just come to Spain from Cologne, Germany and its cathedral...when I entered this one in Granada, I was humbled and awed.