CulturallyOurs Exploring Granada Spain Things To Do

Exploring Moorish Culture In Granada Spain

CulturallyOurs Exploring Granada Spain Things To Do

Granada, a diverse cultural city with a special ode to Moorish culture in its architecture, food and customs.

Step back into middle eastern history as Granada flocks its beautiful façade and echoes of cultural diversity. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, Granada is the capital city of the province of Granada, in Andalusia, Spain. There is a mixture of culture with a Moorish neighbourhood that has remained the same for centuries, areas near Plaza Nueva that feel as if you were in Italy and parts of the old town that feel like a Moroccan souk.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainHanna Amy takes us along a visual journey exploring all of Granada’s moorish culture and beauty through her lens.

From Hanna,

Like other cities around the Mediterranean Sea, Granada has seen many settlers from different origins; Greeks, Iberians, Romans and Visigoths. However, the Berbers have had the most powerful impact that established Muslim domination over the city in 711, a power that took over nearly 800 years. Still today, Granada holds a strong Moorish influence shown through architecture, the neighborhoods, even culture (tea & bath houses) that make the city particularly unique in comparison to other Andalusian cities. Additionally, it is home to the famous UNESCO site Alhambra, a palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada. It is said that Alhambra is Granada’s and Europe’s love letter to Moorish culture and a visit will make you stop, and be grateful that preserved places like this, still exist today.

Granada, a city of passing culture where many settlers have left an imprint in the walls

CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainCulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainCulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainThe buzzing University City has a lively street food life, where locals eat and drink their way through the city, where tapas bars spill to pathways. Granada is known for its “complimentary tapas” culture, a drink guarantees a complimentary tapas dish. You hear the Spanish language as people converse against bar counters ordering vases of sangria and typical dishes like pilpil and marinated anchovies with garlic. Often the dishes are so large, you fill yourself up before even heading over for a meal. The city has an interesting aura, almost like a nomadic way of life, that is lively and free with a mix of interesting people.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainWe came across a tiny tapas bar called “Bar Los Diamantes’ ‘ on Plaza nueva 13, nothing fancy, a small bar with rows of joint tables. There was a queue of locals outside and we quickly discovered this was the place to eat. The place has that typical lovely loud Spanish atmosphere and we ordered the most mouth-watering seafood. Dipping our white bread in the spicy juices of fried pulpo (octopus), the food was unpretentious and made from amazing simple ingredients. As mentioned, it was nothing fancy, but it was authentic and delicious, just the way the locals like it. We discovered afterwards that it was also recommended by Lonely Planet as one of the best eateries in the area.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainCulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainPrepare for a lot of stair climbing as roaming the city by foot is the best way to explore all the amazing neighbourhoods. There are charming artisan perfumeries, courtyard bookstores and numerous handcraft shops to purchase Moorish style prints and hand painted produce. Walk up to Plaza San Nicolas during sunset and enjoy a stunning view of the Alhambra as the sky turns a saturated pink. You will hear gypsies playing flamenco as it gets darker, children running in little courtyards and the atmosphere is mystical and romantic. Interestingly, for centuries, Granada is a city of passing cultures that have all left imprints behind in architecture. There is a mixture of typical catholic towering cathedral spires combined on top of something that looks more like a mosque, showing how they built on top during different eras of rule.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainA step back into middle eastern time in the old town of  Granada, The Albaycin

The Albaycin is the old Arab Quarter that is a hillside section of Granada on the opposite side to the Alhambra. By far, this was the most beautiful section of Granada dating back to the 11th century, because of the strong Muslim influence in the area. This region used to be filled with luxurious carmenes (rustic houses with grape vine filled gardens) and public baths. When you walk around and peak through the iron gates of houses, you discover beautiful hidden gardens, decorated walls with mosaic plates and old thick drapings of vines.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainAdditionally, the Albayzin region has a street dedicated to cinnamon lingering tearooms draped in Arab fabrics which set you straight back in Middle Eastern time. One morning we came to enjoy a typical Arabian tea made from milk, cardamom and cinnamon, which we often had in Dubai. I hear a street artist sitting in the corner of the stairs playing softly to himself, opposite of the most beautiful blooming tree and I see all the colourful flowers stand still with time that stimulate all your senses.

The Secret gardens of Alhambra

The Alhambra is a beautiful Arabesque Palace and grounds that were built in the mid 14th century by the Roman remains and Moors. The Moorish princes lived in the complex until they were driven out of Spain in 1492, when the Christians took over. Today the palace is a UNESCO world heritage site and is a very popular tourist attraction. The name Alhambra comes from Moorish time, as the Arabic word “alhamra” means “the red one” referring to the stone colour used in parts of the palace construction.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainThe Alhambra is located right in the old town, but it is a real uphill hike to get the actual site. Comfortable shoes and pre-bought online tickets are essential as only a certain number of people are allowed into the quarters during a day. You can visit the Nasrid palace and the grounds, which are the stunning manicured gardens and vacation home of Granada’s royalty.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain The grounds are conducted with a myriad of amazing buildings to explore, including the Tower of Justice that has the most stunning views of Granada below. Opposite of the Nasrid Palace is the Alcazaba that shows the military history of the time. The gardens were simply stunning, something that looks out of a fairytale. There were decorative fountains, maze-like tree pathways and an explosion of manicured lanes and flowers as far as the eye can see. The Moorish influence is seen throughout the Alhambra in its archways, tiled walls, and intricate carvings.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada Spain CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainTo sum it all up, The whimsical Granada differs from other Andalusian cities and therefore makes it a worthy place to seek some cultural and historic knowledge. Not only is it the last city to be reconquered from the Moors by the Christians but still today, it holds a strong Moorish civilization, that is present in the Arabic teahouses, baths and souks. The old town, Albayzin is a maze of white wasted houses and cobblestone alleys with plenty of hidden corners to be unraveled. Allow the view point ‘Mirador de San Nicolas’ to offer you unobstructed views of the city and Alhambra, visit the Cathedral and end your stroll through the Alcaiceria Market, which resembles a Moorish souk. Eat, drink and walk as much as you can to soak in the feeling of the city through your senses. Stop and stare at the peaks of the houses to see how time has passed through and feel the nomad-like presence.CulturallyOurs A Slow Travelers Guide to Granada SpainWhat a fantastic adventure that spans centuries all rolled into one place! We cannot wait to explore all these amazing nooks and corners of Granada. Are you ready to add Granada to your bucket list?

{Photo and Words by Hanna Kirstiina Amy, Website:, Instagram: @xoamysnordic}

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CulturallyOurs Exploring Moorish Culture In Granada Spain 


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