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Alhambra and Generalife tour

Things to do in Granada


The last kingdom to be reconquered by the Catholic Kings has an incredible artistic and historic heritage. Moorish and Christian elements go hand in hand in the streets of Granada. The palace complexes of the Alhambra and Generalife, beside the Albaicin, have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The Gran Via de Colon and the Avenida de los Reyes Catolicos will lead the visitor to Renaissance monuments and to the most important districts.

The AlhambraThe Alhambra is a castle on a hill with the old Alcazaba and the Nazarite Royal Palaces. This artistic gem of Arab Granada, built between the 13th and the 15th centuries, is composed of many rooms linked by courtyards, gardens and fountains. Its delicate execution is evident in such places as the courtyards of Arrayanes and Leones and in the Salon de los Embajadores. The Generalife, the summer residence of the Nazarite Kings, is also located on this hill, along with the Palace of Carlos V. It is a Renaissance-style building, where the visitor can go to the Provincial Fine Arts Museum and the Alhambra Museum. The first cherishes an important collection by 16th century artists, such as Alonso Cano and Machuca. The latter has an collection of the Muslim-Hispanic art.

The AlbaicinThe Albaicin quarter, with a deep Arab flavour, is located on another one of the city's hills. Narrow and steep streets are filled with carmenes (traditional villas with gardens), old mosques on top of which churches have been erected (San Salvador, San Bartolome and San Jose), and little squares like San Nicolas and San Cristobal. Both these spots enjoy great views over the Alhambra and the peaks of Sierra Nevada. Between the walls, the Puerta de Elvira and the Carrera del Darro, the Albaicin conceals many surprises. The Arab public baths (El Bañuelo); the Mudejar decoration of the Convent of Santa Isabel la Real; the Renaissance layout of the Cordova Palace and the convent of Santa Catalina; as well as the impressive façade of the Royal Chancery are just a few examples.

The SacromonteThe highest part of the hill is taken up by the district of Sacromonte, which is the ideal place for seeing the cave-houses of Granada, the zambras (flamenco dancing) and the Chapel of Santo Sepulcro. The district known as Realejo is located between the steep streets and the flatter area. Its most interesting spots include the Carmen de los Martires, the Campo del Principe, the Manuel de Falla House-Museum and the Casa de los Tiros. The noble houses and small palaces of the area contrast with the Muslim street layout.

The CathedralThe best way to approach Christian Granada is to visit the Cathedral. Beforehand, you will pass by the Corral del Carbon, an old Arab corn exchange, which is the present site of the Andalusian Legacy Foundation, and the Plaza de Bib-rambla, famous for its flower market. Also of Arab origin are the Alcaiceria (silk exchange), an ancient souk where nowadays you can buy regional crafts; and the Palacio de la Madraza, an excellent example of Muslim architecture. The Royal Chapel, where the Catholic Kings are buried, leads to Granada Cathedral. Although it originally had a Gothic layout, it was finished following the Renaissance style, according to the plans of Diego de Siloe, one of the most renowned artist of the times.

The Science ParkGranada's rich heritage continues in the exhibitions and collections of the most prestigious museums. Visitors should set aside time to admire the pieces in the archaeological museum. The Rodriguez Acosta Foundation, the Federico Garcia Lorca Stately Home, and the Jose Guerrero Art Centre are some of the museums dedicated to local figures. However, the Science Park may be the attraction best suited to the tastes of people of all ages. It is an interactive museum with more than 200 exhibits about the biosphere, the senses, perception and inventions, as well as the planetarium.

The Carthusian MonasteryFor convenience in visiting the main monuments, visitors can purchase the Bono Turistico (Tourist Pass). It is a multi-pass that includes a visit to the Alhambra, the Generalife, the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel, the Carthusian Monastery, the Monastery of San Jeronimo and the Science Park. With this pass, EU citizens will gain free access to the Archaeological Museum and the Fine Arts Museum, while others will gain a 25% discount from the admission price. It also includes 10 trips on the city's buses and microbuses.

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