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Friday, September 20, 2013 (read 392 times)
Las Alpujarras in the Province of Granadaby Imogen
As if Granada didn’t already have enough to offer, travel out of the city center, and between Sierra Nevada and the sea, you will find Las Alpujarras, one of the most visited sites in the province of Granada itself. Las Alpujarras is a mountainous area of beautiful landscapes, boasting some of the best trails in the country, where you can enjoy a range of activities including hiking, cycling, and horse-riding, as well as relaxing and enjoying the beautiful views.
The Moors in Spain
Historically, the Alpujarras served as a place for the Christian resistance during the Arab invasion, which started in 711. It was during the Muslim rule in southern Spain that the Alpujarras began to really develop. Another interesting fact about this mountainous area is that it was here that the last Muslim King, Boadbdil, famously said his final goodbyes to the city, and cried over his defeat by the Catholic Monarchs. His mother told him “Weep like a woman for what you could not defend like a man”. He then looked back at the city and the Alhambra palace, and let out a sigh, known as “the Moor’s last sigh”. The Muslims who refused to convert to Christianity were exiled from the city of Granada and took refuge in the remote and inaccessible villages of the Alpujarras. Constant pressure from the Christians for the need to Muslims to convert to Christianity led to a number of uprisings, called the “Morisco” Rebellions, in the Alpujarras and the city. This led to a new royal decree, exiling all non-Christians from the entire Kingdom of Granada. The Alpujarras were then inhabited by Christian families brought in from the North of Spain, yet the villages still retained their Berber feel.
How to get there and what to do
Nowadays, the villages are easy to get to. You can get the bus from Granada to the one of its small villages in no time at all. Driving would be your best option, however, as the buses are not that frequent, and visiting as many of the villages as possible will be easier.
Depending on how long you are planning to stay, here are some things you should try to tick off your list:
- Go for a hike –Hiking is a major activity here, and it is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country.
- Visit the different villages
- Sample the local spring water and jamón (Spanish ham)
There are a number of villages in the Alpujarras, but here are the most interesting villages, with the best things to see:
You may have heard of this village, as it is the name of a water producer in Spain, from the very springs of Lanjarón. It is also home to the fun-filled festival “Fiesta de Agua”, which is basically a giant water fight! It is held here every 24th June and attracts people from all over.
This is one of the most picturesque villages in this area, as it has a little stream running through its streets.
This town has not got a great deal to offer, but here you will find the Fuente Agria, a natural spring and waterfall with very high iron content. The water is in fact clear, but leaves an orange-coloured residue so it looks orange. The water is recommended for those people who have iron deficiencies as it has medical properties. Due to the iron, it tastes a bit like sparkling water, but you have to let the muddy reside settle at the bottom first!
Trevélez is one of the highest villages in Spain. It is famous for its ham, as it is one of the biggest Serrano ham producers in the region. Located 1486 metres above sea level, its cooler climate provides perfect storage conditions for its produce.
This is a very small town, but if you are here on the first Saturday of August you can take part in the unique tradition of celebrating a second New Year’s Eve! This bizarre celebration came about after a power cut during the 1990’s, leading to a cancellation of the real New Year’s Eve and the rescheduling in August. It had such a big success, so they have celebrated it twice since then!
Another small village, which is famous for its festival on the 3rd February, and the beginning of October, where their water fountains are instead filled with wine!
Photo by Randi Hausken
Keywords: granada,granada spain,serrano ham,moors in spain,spanish ham,sierra nevada spain