RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Visit  >  GRANADA: MOORISH FRUIT OF SPAIN

GRANADA: MOORISH FRUIT OF SPAIN

Author: 03.04.2016 | Spain
An open pomegranate lined with rows of whitewashed houses and lavishly dotted with grains of various abbeys, palaces and cathedrals –that is how looks Granada anchored on the reddish hills of the Spanish Andalusia. The ability to mingled opposites turned the city into one of the most alluring destinations not only in Spain but also in Europe.

Granada is the juiciest treasure of Spain. The city was destined to survive pretty many events. In local legends, the honourable right to be considered as the founder of ancient Granada is contested by biblical Noah and mythic hero Hercules.

Being a settlement called Iliberri, Granada thrived during one of its rises when ruled by the Iberian tribe of the Turdetans. And then, under the name of Iliberis, mesmerized its guests as a part of the Roman Empire.

True glory and greatest growth began whenthe Moors gained the mastery over this land, in three digit seven hundred years. Since then Granada inherited most significant architectural monuments, Gothic and Renaissance came later and they survived after a powerful stronghold of the Moors Muslims began to transform into modern Spain.

The name of Granada breaks like juicy red fruit grains when pronounced. The many grains are inside a pomegranate, the same many are legends about the origin of both the city and its name. On the one hand, the city really looks like a cracked pomegranate awash with buildings, houses and tightly network of alleyways. Residents say that the settlement was named after the most beautiful girl that was found in a cave near the local Darro River. But various historical papers say that the name Granada origins from the remains of Hebrew words Garnata al-Yahud, which mean a high mountain.

White streaks of stretching narrow streets barely break a city crammed quarters, but never disappoint with discoveries they lead to.

Across whole Spain it is difficult to find a place that could surpass the Alhambra Palace, the largest monument of Moorish architecture and Islamic art. The Red Castle, as the name of Alhambra literally translates from Arabic, was erected in 13th -15th centuries, to be a splendid residence for Granada emirate. Dozens of refined hectares combine wood, stone and ceramics, thus creating dizzying fine ornaments. It is enough to have a look at the palace Lions Yard: a circle of sophisticated, carved arcade galleries shelters the fountain, the weight of which is faithfully supported by twelve marble lions. 

Combined with garden ensembles, Alhambra gives the impression that the Moors intended to recreate a piece of paradise on Earth, including the entire Albayzín district, that stretches down and was once considered central area in the city. Moors set a good life there and for centuries left their white houses that tightly covered all the hills.

Albayzín spreads over to the Gypsy neighbourhood Sacromonte which dilutes rows of whitewashed houses with feisty humming of clattering heels, clapping hands and clopping castanets - this is where flamenco was born.

Rumour has it, that the most charming Andalusian ladies came from these places. Sacromonte secret is its caves. It is there the Spanish Gypsies, the Hitanos, settled since the 15th century. In fact, today you can see them there, but now these cave homes are not much different from ordinary ones: they are equipped according to all the rules of modern civilization. In an atmosphere of silence and admiration of the public, the local caves turn into stage for the legendary flamenco.

The noisy life of the Gypsy district is quietly watched by the Mount Valparaiso topped with the Abbey Sacromonte or the Benedictine monastery. For years, the sun soaked and bathed it in its rays, leaving Abbey with pale, sun-bleached walls and smoky riddles that once Granada's patron saint, St. Cecilio perished there.

Local trees and green plant fences rhyme by-passers’ steps to events occurred there several centuries ago.

This poetry becomes clearer and melodic when walking to the southern part of the city. This part of Granada used to be a home to one of the greatest Spanish poets of the 20th century Federico Garcia Lorca. Who did not see Granada, saw nothing, said the poet affectionately about the city where he spent most of his life. Surely he deserves now to hear: Who did not visit Federico Garcia Lorca museum, did not visit Granada, since you cannot feel the city without paying homage to its most faithful native.

House Museum of Federico Lorca stores a large number of things that encouraged Lorca to transform everyday environment into a continuous melody and poetry.

Images of one of internationally revered top perfect Gardens of Babylon fade, when you enter the parks once owned by ancient rulers and freeze astonished by their ideal beauty. Generalife is a manifest of it. From the central part of the garden and landscape part Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Water Channel), the Royal Fountain stretches away its mysterious waters catching reflections of the curious visitors. The park territory is protected by decent convoy of green plants: geometric shrubs and sculpted trees with floral and fruit straps, and streams of small fountains flowing over millennial stones. Generalife, in appropriate cool temperature conditions, preserves its status as the former residence of the Arab rulers.

Gastronomic Granada worth no less attention than its architectural monuments. A variety of bars, cafes and restaurants are of value, large number of them have aged for hundred years.

Coming to the main Granada Cathedral you see land combined with sky. Tall white columns and arches go high up as if trying to break through the barrier between the earthly world and the eternal sky shrines. The grandiose temple is proud of walls covered with gold and paintings. The Cathedral was being built for almost 200 years, from 1523 to 1703 that is why its architecture incorporates the features to all ages from Gothic and Rococo to Classicism and Renaissance.

It is a good idea to drink wine with cheese or ham in the oldest restaurant Taberna Casa Enrique, with walls covered with collection of photographs from its life, which began back in 1870. Or come into little younger café of 1907 Gran Café Bib Rambla to sample traditional dishes of Andalusia. Or feel the atmosphere of Restaurante Sevilla where cultural regulars such as Salvador Dali and Marlon Brando enjoyed earthly food.

And even if you do not have intention to drop into some diner, you still will not stand the seduction of flavours of local street food. Before you know where you are, your hands will be holding warm pack with roasted chestnuts, or with baby jacket potato topped with cheese and oil; and you can’t help tasting edible pear-shaped cactus, all washed down with a drink granizado with taste of citrus or coffee.

Granada is calling with unique taste of this Spanish-Moorish fruit, and its allure is hard to ignore.

It will be interesting:
Borders cannot make harm: the most famous enclaves of the world
Today Outlook travels along the cities and countries that are considered as the most interesting from the point of view of geography and administrative management. Moreover, they are enclaves as they are located within the territories of other states.
They need warmith. Where birds stay for winter
As a child I could spend hours gazing at the sky and spying majestic flocks of birds winging their way south. For a kid this movement was a real magic. Today my bookshelf hosts almost no books about magic, though I am still excited about feathered tribes travelling in hope to land on their winter grounds.
Montserrat: Visiting Angels
Should we have a look at notes of those who plan their trips to Spain, next to the darling of all hearts, Barcelona, Montserrat is bound to rank second. Also, the mountain of the abbey is a must-visit spot for local dwellers, too – they believe it necessary to visit Catalonia’s religious heart at least once a year.
Spain: There’s No Coming Clean Out of Wine
Two “armies” on the warpath are dressed in traditional uniforms – white shirts – look at each other menacingly, their weapons standby… The fight begins and the whiteness of outfits gets mixed with maroon – thanks God, it isn’t blood but nice Spanish wine! Today in one of Spanish provinces annual Battle of Wine is held.
The Ambassador of Spain participated in the concert dedicated to the anniversary of the publication of Spanish writer piece…
Under the auspices of the Embassy of Spain to Ukraine, in Kyiv the concert dedicated to the centenary of the publication of the novel ‘Platero and I’ of the famous Spanish author Juan Ramon Jimenez.
The Ambassador of Spain represented in Kyiv the movie ‘Queen of Spain’
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Spain to Ukraine Herardo Bugayo Ottone represented in one of the capital cinema theaters the flick ‘Queen of Spain’ directed by Fernando Trueba. Among the guests of event there were Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mexico, temporary charge d’affaires of Cuba, representatives of cinema industry, public, and mass media.
In Kyiv the Week of Spanish cinema started
On the 30-th of March under the support of Embassy of Spain to Ukraine in Cultural center Cinema theatre ‘Kyiv’ the XV Week of Spanish cinema opened. The official opening of cinematographic kaleidoscope was visited by the diplomats of Embassy of Spain to Ukraine, representatives of Ukrainian movie industry, community, and mass media.
STORY OF ONE STREET: LAS RAMBLAS
The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is not only a resort area, but historically rich city with its own unique style, lively atmosphere and southern temper. Probably every visitor is sure to enjoy a leisurely promenade on Las Ramblas - a broad pedestrian boulevard, which is our topic today.
The embassy of Spain made a reception in honor of National day
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Spain to Ukraine Gerardo Ángel Bugallo Ottone arranged an official reception in honor of National day established in memory of the first arrival of Christopher Columbus in America in 1492.
BASQUES: BETWEEN FRANCE AND SPAIN
Visiting Spain, probably every tourist at least once heard about an intention of the inhabitants of a successful Barcelona and its neighbouring towns to declare independence. From time to time this topic comes up in international news, dragging attention and overshadowing history of the Basques - another special people in the Pyrenees.
Minorca State of Mind
Dwellers of this island whiten their houses like crazy, treat every plant with love and can watch birds of passage for hours. Emerald valleys get shifted with desert landscapes there and precipitous cliffs border with azure and ruby beaches. Minorca is like the most precious stone in the neckless of Balearic Islands.
Cities in Rocks: Spanish Edition
To build a settlement on flatland - is this such a hard trick to pull off? A completely different story is when land is self-willed and rock-ribbed both directly and metaphorically speaking. People have been trying to master land and have own say in in-rock urban development for centuries. But only those who succeded in finding common ground with Earth managed to create true novels in stone. Collection of works of Spanish authors strikes with diversity and beauty - today OUTLOOK suggests you have a cursory glance at pages of the library, cherished and treasued by Felipe VI.
PALMA DE MALLORCA: CAPITAL OF PARADISE ISLANDS
Our today's city is the capital of four islands: Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Together they form the Balearic archipelago which is an autonomous community and a province of Spain. Palma de Mallorca is the heart of Balearic Islands that beats in quite different rhythms: both jumping at vibrant beach parties, and rhythmically following play of the Mediterranean waves.
Salamanca: Crazy about the Frog
Spain is lavish in architecturally rich cities. But there are special among them: the ones where monuments of the past and daily life of contemporaries are intertwined so tightly and unexpectedly at times that the city seems to be living in two worlds. Today OUTLOOK suggests you enjoy one of them – Salamanca: the city where frog brings all kinds of luck.
On catwalk: Spain
Spanish clothes aren’t limited to high-quality low-price mass-market. Stuff from this country has easily found ready sale around the world for several centuries already. And it makes sense because everything began with national outfit that “infected” the whole Europe with its exceptional beauty and fancy and still amazes people nowadays.
NOBEL LAUREATE MARIO VARGAS LLOSA VISITED KYIV
On November 11 Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv hosted lecture delivered by the famous Peruvian playwright and novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. For further details, you are welcome to visit our photogallery.
Las Jornadas del Olivar y el Aceite: vegetative oysters feast
Lovers of olives and olive oil mark small town of Baena on the map of Spain with the red pen. Annually from November 9 till November 11 it becomes the place where gastronomists from all over the world gather. Various events, background information and plenty of diverse delicacies are awaiting those who dare crack the stone of wonder-fruit.
More Than a Club – football in Catalan style
Should one make a historic action sketch for football Barcelona with moments to boast about, the club will have the most reason to overween. OUTLOOK decided to have a deeper look into the history of the team and highlight names of those “guilty” of its almost unprecedented success with a marker. In season 2008/2009 alone it collected all possible major club trophies and every other time the world is watching its confrontation with Real Madrid with exalted awe.
Close
Outlook facebook page