Granada and the Albaycin fit into the comfortable part of Spain. No one worries too much in Granada. Things are good. Granada, more than Seville or Cordoba, has a self-assured but humble presence about it, a bit like Italian self-confidence: we are not concerned, too much, about contemporary trends, so just live your life as best you can.
It’s as though la dolce vita has floated over across the Mediterranean from Italy to nestle in southern Spain, or maybe it’s always been here.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that also ecompasses the Alhambra Palace, the Albaycin counts as one of the most unique and comfortable historical neighborhoods in the world, a place where people still live their lives following traditional patterns hundreds of years old.
It is like a small village whithin a larger town
The Albaycin quarter of Granada, once its own entire Moorish metropolis, spreads across a hill as impressive as the prominence on which the Alhambra Palace seems to float. Each directly across from the other, both hills emerge above the Vega, the plain, of greater Granada, and constitute a valley to the rear of which hides Sacromonte, the gypsy quarter, the land of flamenco and cave dwellings. This whitewashed array of houses and ruins constitutes a stunning example of aesthetic balance and humane social space.
Completely paved in stone, meandering streets and alleys spell out a venture in time not just to Mudejar Andalusia, but back to Moorish times and Europe’s last Islamic caliphate. Much of the Albaycin still cannot be reached by even the tiniest car, yet the neighborhood lacks the claustrophobic, shut-in feel of many Medieval European hill towns in France or central Italy. The Albaycin is not really Medieval at all, except perhaps chronologically, and no other country but Spain experienced the history of enlightened Moorish culture followed by the 700-year reconquista–the attempt by Christians to retake the Moorish lands.
The Moors, and the Mudejar aesthetic style that remained after their conquest, made for an urban landscape humane in proportions, deliberately determined, and yet exuding the idiosyncratic character of century upon century of denizens who cared deeply, tenderly about the space they lived in.
Even today, the many patterns of life, repeated time and again, continues–the market, the cafe, the bakery, butcher, cheese shop, and wine merchant. We buy our daily produce just beside the Gate of the Weights, on Plaza Larga, as the Arabs, and then the Moriscos and the Spaniards have done for 800 years.
Vacation Rentals are located in the heart of the upper Albaycin, within walking distance of historical sites, markets, cafes, and restaurants.
The Sacromonte hill rises up next to the Albaycín in front of the Generalife. This is the gypsy district and is partly abandoned but still has some taverns where flamenco shows take place.