Saturday, August 18, 2007
If I had to describe Granada in one word, enchanting is the first thing that would come to my mind.
Granada, in the Southern province of Andalucia, is everything you expect from a little town that used to be the capital of the Moorish kingdom some 700 years ago. It was the last Muslim town to fall to the Christians in 1492 and used to be one of the only places where the Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in harmony (well, somewhat).
The town is made of myriad narrow and winding cobble streets where you can loose yourself, but never really get lost. Small, royal and red furnished Arabic tea and sheesha joints are everywhere alongside Moroccan artifact sellers, trying to give you the best bargain.
People are friendly, laid back and always smiling. And the tapas!? Order a beer and you get a free hamburger, half a grilled-chicken, or an entire fried cod-fish; order 3 beers and you won't be going for dinner.
Being a university town, the party scene is pretty hot. The bars are open till about 2, after which you have some time to go home and change, as discos don't seem to pick up until 3-3:30am (!!!).
Yup, that's the life ay.
Last but not the least, justified to be the sole reason you visit Granada, is the Alhambra.
(see pic above)
The Alhambra - is the 'Red Fort' is where the Arabs ruled from, and is based at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Here you will see the palaces of all the Muslim sultans who reigned. As you can imagine, the humongous palaces, courtyards and gardens are stunning with grand yet intricate Arabic architecture. You will also see the (not so stunning) reformation done by Spanish King Carlos V, who took over the palaces and Granada when the Muslim rule fell.
About 8000 people visit the Alhambra everyday, so you need to book your tickets way in advance. It was up for contest as a new wonder of the world, it's a shame it didn't make it.
Brimming with Muslim, Christian, Jewish - and not to mention Spanish - culture, Granada is a fantastic place to visit.