Down the foothills of Sierra Nevada lies the city of Granada, one of Spain’s most visited cities. Like its Andalusian neighbors, it exudes a luminous charm decorated with a synergetic blend of Moorish and Renaissance architectural styles. The Alhambra is of course the most recognizable of its landmarks. With the snowcapped mountains of Sierra Nevada in the background, the Alhambra’s fortresses resting on a blanket of verdant trees by a cliff is one of the most picturesque panoramas I have ever seen. I will probably have a separate post for the castle and its landscaped gardens but here is a sneak peek.
Downtown Granada is also a pleasant walk down history lane as old houses in sandy hues still fence the alleys. Flamenco dancers are a plenty, each corner echoing the harmony of tap shoes, tambourines, and the melodramatic sound of old school Spanish acoustic guitar. Indeed, textbook Spain at your fingertips. On the other hand, there are tall palm trees, and markets selling Arabian lamps and lanterns which also trick you into thinking that you are sauntering Moroccan passageways rather than a Latin quarter. But yes, the intricate weaving of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian influences in terms of art, architecture, and food creates a harmonious environment for the senses.
Trudging up the UNESCO heritage-listed district of Albaicin is worth all the sweat. Not only are the rustic small houses and steep, narrow, dirt streets preserved, the views at its many elevated squares are also epic! Once you reach the Mirador San Nicolas, you will heave a huge sigh of relief as an almost 270 degree panorama of the city below, the Alhambra on the side, and the towering mountains from beyond will all take your breath away. Which you will even be more thankful for as the earthy smell of hippies nearby might spoil the treat but they are utterly harmless and always seem to be like in an eternal state of trance. But their colorful grubby bohemian fashion and beady jewelry actually matches the vibe of the city if you think about it so yes, it was quite an artsy affair which I completely don’t mind at all.
I think that the blend of notoriously conflicting cultures is what makes Granada interesting. It has brought about a charm that shows us that beautiful things can emerge from a collage of diversity. Not so much in a burst of kaleidoscope kind of way but in a more eye-friendly monochromatic blend. I really enjoyed meandering through the convoluted alleys of this city under the scorching Mediterranean heat. It felt effortlessly authentic and pleasing that I still have vivid images of the city in mind. This region of Spain is just… legendary.