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Wednesday, April 03, 2013 (read 451 times)
Things to do and see in Granadaby Lauren
Granada (the Spanish word for pomegranate) is a city in Andalusiain the South of Spain. Granada is situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where the 1996 Ski Championships were held. Interestingly, Granada has a rather large population of South Americans and this became apparent in the 2005 national census.
The moors resided in Spain from 711 to 1492 and Granada was the last place they were before they were banished from the country altogether. The Moorish influence is still visible in the city today, particularly in an area of the city known as the Albacín. Moorish architecturecan be characterized by arches, calligraphy, tiles and turrets. Many examples of these architectural styles can be found preserved within the city.
Granada is home to the Alhambra, a Moorish palace and fortress. This building is world-famous and it is what makes Granada such a popular tourist destination. If you are planning to visit the Alhambra, it is advisable to buy a ticket in advance since there are only a certain amount of people allowed inside the palace per day. Tickets can be at El Corte Ingles, certain ATM’s and at travel agencies. It may also be recommended to arrive half an hour earlier than it says on the ticket to avoid some of the crowds. If you arrive later than the time stated on your ticket, you will not be allowed into the Alhambra. If you opt for the full visit, wear trainers and bear in mind that much of the tour is outside so bring a jumper if its wintertime and sun cream if it’s hot. There are some cafes and bars in the road leading to the Alhambra and there are sandwich bars and hot drinks sold inside the palace itself.
The Alhambra was built in 889 and converted into a palace in 1333. After the Reconquista (an important period in Spanish history in which the Muslims were banished from Spain) some parts of the Alhambra were used by Christian rulers. The Alhambra fell into disrepair for hundreds of years. It was rediscovered in the 1800’s and restoration work commenced straight away. Nowadays, the Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction. The palace itself is comprised of several rooms, all of which open on to a central courtyard. The Alhambra was extended on several occasions by its various owners, but it maintained its plain exterior every time. Inside the building, there are columns, fountains and pools and the walls are decorated with painted tiles.
The Alhambra is surely one of the greatest architectural sites in Europe. It is the 2nd most visited monument in Spain after the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The site receives more than 3 million visitors per year; that’s more than 8000 per day. It should not be missed by anybody!
Going out in Granada
There is a large population of students that reside in the city due to the fact that Granada is home to a prestigious university. As with any student town, the nightlife is active and bustling. Granada 10 is a popular nightclub and a hotspot for Erasmus students. The Mae West is a slightly more luxurious place for youngsters to go and party. There is a dress code here. If you like to dance but you’re not a fan of clubbing, why not enroll in flamenco classes? After all, there are few better places for flamenco than Andalucía, the birthplace of this expressive dance form.
Tapas are famously good in Granada. A tapa is a small portion of food served on a saucer. Popular tapas include Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette) and Patatas Bravas (chunky chips) with a garlic mayonnaise sauce known as Alioli. Another famous Spanish tapa is Jamón Serrano (cured meat), cheese and chorizo (spicy sausage) on a piece of crusty bread.
Photo by fontxito
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