WHAT CAN I VISIT IN GRANADA?
GRANADA, ITS SEVEN WONDERS
Would you like to discover the most famous places in Granada in a couple of days or better, three?
In our article we propose a trip to Granada. You will discover a very emblematic city, full of wonderful places with incredible charm, where you can enjoy taking thousand pictures or seeing beautiful views.
As in the remote past, Greek travelers drew up a list with the 7 wonders of the world, we are going to propose a list with the 7 wonders of Granada, those that you cannot miss if you visit our city.
And some extra tips, in case you have more time in the city of Granada.
GRANADA – FIRST WONDER:
ALHAMBRA AND GENERALIFE GARDENS – MAIN ATTRACTION
The first of them cannot be other than the wonderful complex of the Alhambra and the Generalife.
It is the most visited monumental complex in Spain and one of the wonders not only of Granada, but of the whole world.
The Alhambra is a palatine city built over more than six centuries by the different sultans of the Nasrid dynasty and after its conquest by the Christians in 1492 completed with magnificent Christian buildings, including the Imperial Palace of Emperor Charles V and the Church of Santa María de la Alhambra.
Inside the Emperor’s Palace there are two hidden treasures: the Alhambra Museum, an essential visit to understand daily life in Islam, which will extend the visit to the Nasrid Palaces, and, for lovers of Christian art, on the ground floor the Museum of Fine Arts.
In the Alhambra we can visit different areas of a palatine city designed to protect the nobility of the Muslim kingdom of Granada, provide everything necessary for daily life and offer spaces where the enjoyment of life and the enjoyment of the senses reached their maximum refinement.
Get to know the Alhambra fortress (Alcazaba) where the elite soldiers of the kingdom guaranteed the safety of the site and its protection against a possible Christian attack.
Stroll through the Nasrid Palaces where the kingdom’s political and diplomatic activity took place and where the sultan enjoyed exquisite pavilions that he lived with his family and the other noble families of the kingdom.
Enjoy the Generalife where the recreational pavilions are crossed by ditches, adorned with fountains and where you can enjoy the aroma of orchards and gardens that have no equal in Spain.
Strolling through the Alhambra is to immerse yourself in the most splendid past of the Al Ándalus civilization, a culture in love with water, orchards and the most exquisite architectural refinement that makes us think that we are in a palace worthy of “the thousand and one nights ”.
But Granada is much more than the Alhambra.
The new Christian inhabitants strove to create buildings that could compete worthily in beauty and splendor with the magical Muslim palaces.
SECOND WONDER: THE CATHEDRAL OF GRANADA
The Cathedral of Granada, our second wonder, was his most ambitious attempt.
Why didn’t you know that it is the second largest cathedral in Andalusia and the first in Renaissance style built in Spain?
Strolling through its clear and bright interior and gazing at its impressive corinthian columns and towering vaults is an architecture lover’s delight.
The Cathedral is dotted with numerous chapels that compete in beauty with each other in different styles, from Gothic to Neoclassical.
Its main chapel is the highest in Spain and can boast of having among many other things, the masterpieces of Alonso Cano, the “Spanish Miguel Ángel” as well as notable paintings by José de Ribera, Francisco Pacheco and Juan de Sevilla.
And do not forget to visit its sacristy, the beautiful Inmaculada by Alonso Cano is a hidden treasure, worthy of being contemplated by all our visitors.
ALBAICÍN, WORLD HERITAGE SITE
The fourth wonder is the picturesque Albaicín neighborhood, considered, like the Alhambra, a “World Heritage Site” for its historical, artistic and cultural values.
It is a beautiful neighborhood full of squares and whitewashed alleys inherited from those that the Muslims built in centuries past.
The peculiar urbanism of this neighborhood invites you to get lost for hours to explore it to the taste of the visitor who never ceases to be surprised by the unexpected discoveries around the corner or the many surprising perspectives it offers.
The neighborhood is also dotted with spectacular viewpoints such as San Cristóbal, San Nicolás or de los Carvajales, from which you can see the Alhambra from different and unique points of view.
THIRD WONDER: THE ROYAL CHAPEL OF GRANADA
Next to the Cathedral of Granada is the third wonder: the Royal Chapel.
It is a place of inexcusable visit for lovers of art and history.
It is the mausoleum of the most important kings in the history of Spain: the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, accompanied by the no less famous Felipe the Handsome and the unfortunate Juana the mad.
The Royal Chapel of Granada is a superb example of the Gothic style where, among many other things, we can contemplate the masterpiece of Spanish grills: the grille of Maestro Bartolomé de Jaén.
The Carrara marble cenotaphs of the monarchs, executed by Domenico Alessandro Fancelli, are among the best in the world and offer a rich symbolism that will delight lovers of art and its iconographic curiosities.
In the crypt one can be overwhelmed by contemplating the coffins of characters who have changed the history of the world.
In the museum of the Royal Chapel we can contemplate personal objects of the monarchs who are more curious, and a superb collection of Flemish paintings that can be counted among the best in the world with works by Hans Memmling, Roger Van der Weyden, Perugino or Botticelli.
Our fifth wonder is the Cartuja Monastery, which is undoubtedly one of the best-kept secrets in Granada, as it has been rightly called “the Christian Alhambra” for the magnificence and sumptuousness of its decoration.
In the Charthusian Monastery is where the baroque reaches insurmountable heights that leave those who have the fortune to contemplate them speechless.
The collection of pictorial works by Juan Sánchez Cotán and Vicente Carducho offers us the opportunity to learn about the history of the founder of the San Bruno order and the subsequent vicissitudes of the Carthusians.
The monastery also offers us the opportunity to know the unusual way of life of the Carthusian monks, which will not leave us indifferent due to its intense austerity and deep spirituality.
I adore this place, for me it is one of these essential places that we can never miss in Granada, its wonderful Monastery.
REALEJO NEIGHBORHOOD, JEWISH PART OF GRANADA
The sixth wonder is one of the best kept secrets of Granada, the Realejo neighborhood, which was in the past the Jewish quarter of Granada and which today houses a series of extraordinary places that tell us about the three monotheistic cultures that once lived together in Granada.
Getting lost in this old and flavorful neighborhood offers the opportunity to be amazed by a Renaissance fortress palace such as the Casa de los Tiros, with its prodigious “Golden Square” and its museum of Granada history and traditions.
It is to discover the Royal Room of Santo Domingo, an old Muslim Qubba worthy of being in the Alhambra for its delicate decoration of plasterwork and tiling from the 13th century that was later used as a Chapel by the powerful Dominican order.
It is essential to visit in this neighborhood the spectacular Camarín de la Virgen del Rosario of the Church of Santo Domingo, a jewel of the Baroque for which any adjective is completely insufficient: the only word that can describe this fantastic example of Baroque art is overwhelming.
SEVENTH WONDER: MONASTERY OF SAN JERÓNIMO
As the seventh wonder we have chosen the Monastery of San Jerónimo, a monumental temple and one of the most outstanding examples of Renaissance art in Granada, it is also the mausoleum of one of the most important characters in our history: Don Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the legendary Gran Captain.
Strolling through its cloister and especially contemplating its church with its spectacular altarpiece populated with dozens of figures of saints and the work of the communal work of numerous artists is an experience that leaves its mark.
Visiting this monastery is also having the opportunity to remember historical events such as the visit of the Emperor Carlos V and his wife Empress Isabel de Portugal to Granada in 1526, as this was the residence of the Empress, fearful of the earthquakes that were frequent in Granada and that in the monastery they went more unnoticed than in the towering towers of the Alhambra.
GRANADA OFFERS MUCH MORE
We have chosen seven but Granada is a city that offers much more to the visitor, such as the impressive Casa Museo de los Pisas where Saint John of God died and which houses a spectacular collection of works of art treasured over the centuries by the order of the Hospitaller Brothers.
The Sacromonte Area, cradle of flamenco and zambra in the caves of this mysterious mountain in Valparaíso, which has served as a home for many gypsies throughout its history.
The fabulous and dreamlike Carmen Rodríguez Acosta, who was the studio of the painter José María Rodríguez Acosta and where one has the feeling of being in a dream when walking through its mysterious and peculiar gardens.
And of course, mention all the places in the city related to the universal poet Federico García Lorca, from the Huerta de San Vicente, the family’s summer residence, to strolling through the streets and places that the poet frequented during his youth in Granada.
For all this and for much more, Granada deserves that famous phrase that we all know: “Granada, land of my dreams.”
And why not, dreamed by you?
Authors: Antonio Bonilla and Cristina Muñoz Eugenio