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Sitting in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is cloaked in historical medieval architecture, the remnants of its occupation by the Moors such as the lavish Alhambra; a sprawling fortress of royal palaces, Dasrid dynasty reflecting pools plus stunning fountains and the orchards to be found in the Generalife gardens. The city squats where the Beiro, the Daroo, the Genil and the Monachil Rivers converge, where student hordes from the 5 different campuses of the University of Granada play.
This is a town to get lost in amidst its myths and narrow streets where tumbling white-walled house gardens invade. With a distinct cosmopolitan air, Granada is elegant but with a smack-in-the-face grittiness, cloaked in graffiti painted enclaves and quaint old-school wine bars dishing up tapas, Arab baths and the strains of flamenco music with the breath taking beauty of the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada as a backdrop. Like stepping into the faded and wrinkled smudged pages of a history book that has been wrapped up in new folds of the present, the town is a riddle of contradictions dripping in historical and cultural sites to explore.
Stained over the eons by the footsteps of the Moors, you will find Jewish as well as dynamic colourful Gypsy influences everywhere you look, especially if you hunt down the caves of the Sacromonte Quarter. Poke your nose into the majestic Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) with its royal tombs, sacristy and artworks including Botticelli's Christ on the Mount of Olives painting. The achingly beautiful Santa Maria de la Encarnacion near the Plaza Nueva, is the finest Renaissance Church in the whole of Spain that was built in the 1500s.
The Arab Spice Market will make your nose twitch and your eyes light up with all the vibrant colours surrounding you as you stroll around its maze of narrow alleys, whilst the Plaza Bib Rambla, a large public square, is the perfect place to sit whilst sipping espresso and watching the passing people parade.
Whatever you do, don't miss out on a pampering experience in typical Arabic tradition and head to a hammam for a some jumping into hot and cold baths plus massages with Andalusian essential oils.