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The Sacromonte

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The Sacromonte
The Sacromonte neighborhood is located on the extension of the hill of Albaicín, along the Darro River. This area, which became famous by the nineteenth century for its predominantly Gitano inhabitants, is characterized by cave houses, which are dug into the hilside. The area has a reputation as a major center of flamenco song and dance, including the Zambra Gitana, Andalusian dance originating in the Middle East. The zone is a protected cultural environment under the auspices of the Centro de Interpretación del Sacromonte, a cultural center dedicated to the preservation of Gitano cultural forms.

Sacromonte is a neighbourhood of Granada, in Spain. It derives its name from the nearby Sacromonte Abbey, which was founded in 1600 on the hill of Valparaiso outside the old city, and is built over catacombs (originally mine workings of Roman date). The slopes of the hill form the traditional gitano quarter of the city; and on the Sunday following the 1st February each year, are the location of the Fiesta of San Cecilio, when large crowds gather to celebrate the city's first bishop and Granada's patron saint. The fiesta and abbey act as key instruments for the preservation, propagation and dissemination of the pious legend of Saint Cecil, by which the city of Granada in the 17th century sought to redefine its historic identity, replacing its Moorish past with fabricated (or re-discovered) accounts of Christian origins.

The legend states that the catacombs are the site of Saint Cecil's martyrdom, and the abbey preserves the supposed relics of Cecil and eleven other saints' bones, ashes and the oven in which they were believed to have been burned. It also possesses the inscribed lead plaques and books that were found with the supposed relics, but which were subsequently officially dismissed as forgeries.

The Morisco population of Granada had been expelled to other parts of Spain following the Alpujarras revolt of 1568 (except for those few trusted Moriscos who had served in the royal forces, and who were permitted to remain in the old Moorish quarter of Albaicin adjacent to Valparaiso). By the 19th century, the area had become home to a substantial Gitano community, who built their homes in caves excavated from the soft rock of the hillside. The area became famous for Flamenco music and dancing, but major floods and forced evacuations in the 1960s left the neighborhood population dramatically reduced. Since the early 1990s, however, the area has slowly become developed as a tourist attraction, and as a centre of Gitano culture.


The Sacromonte Map





The Sacromonte Pictures

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