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Granada is a province in Andalusia in Spain.
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Points of Interest in Granada
The Alhambra in Granada is the most popular visitor site in Granada province. The highlight is the Nasrid palaces. Tickets are frequently sold out for weeks ahead, though some are reserved for those who turn up early in the morning. However, access to the rest of the complex is easier, and the gardens of the Generalife are worth a stroll. There are two hotels within the Alhambra grounds, including one of the more expensive Paradors.
Granada town is very pleasant to stroll in. The cathedral is enormous. Behind it is the Capilla Real, holding the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella; the Corral de Carbon is a Moorish building nearby; the Albaicin is the old Moorish quarter, with lots of twisty little lanes, and several lookout points across the valley to the Alhambra. The Albaicin is currently (2007) a very fashionable place to live. At the bottom, near the Plaza Nueva, are lots of Moroccan / touristy shops. Getting the bus to the top of the hill and wandering down works quite well
Federico Garcia Lorca is associated with Granada. A park and a museum are dedicated to him.
As in most of the rest of Spain, Easter Week (semana santa) is the biggest fiesta.
You may want to participate in a botellon in Granada. This is basically a street drinking party, mainly populated by students from the University. Dates are variable. The City Council seems inclined to limit them.
The coast to the west of Motril is given over to tourists, with Salobrena and Almunecar as the main resorts. The coast to the east of Motril is given over to plastic greenhouses (invernaderos) which extend all the way to Almeria.
Inland lies the Alpujarra, a valley running about 50km east-west along the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada. It contains about 80 settled places, most of them tiny villages, usually containing a jumble of white-painted houses around a plaza. The Alpujarra was the last place from which the Moors were expelled by the Christians. Little visible trace of them remains. Occasionally it is obvious that the church is a converted mosque (e.g. in Jubar) The most popular visitor destinations in the Alpujarra are the 'white villages' of Pampaneira, Bubion, and Capiliera, possibly with an extension to Trevelez, where the high, dry air lends itself to the curing of ham. Fans of Gerald Brennan's book 'South From Granada' may want to go further again to Yegen.
At the spring equinox, Orgiva hosts the Dragon Festival, which is a week long bash of travellers, competing sound trucks, live music / theatre and insomnia.
To see the Sierra Nevada, most of the operators offering walking and riding tours are in the Alpujarra.
Visit the Alhambra : The most wonderful and visited monument in spain.
Granada province is also host to some lovely coast (Salobrena, Almunecar are only 40 minutes from Granada city, or East of there are some great beaches, from coves and hideaway nudist beaches to resorts and fishing villages like La Rabita, Castel del Ferro and Torre Nueva. The Poniente Granadino region is the western part of the Province of Granada. The region is rich in areas of archaeological interest and is encircled by the Sierra of Cordoba to the north, the Axarquia of Malaga to the South and to the west, the Valleys of Archidona and Antequera.
Granada has been continuously inhabited by humans for at least 2500 years, originating as an Ibero-Celtic settlement prior to the establishment of a Greek colony in the area. Under Ancient Roman rule Granada developed as an economic center of Roman Hispania, with the construction of aqueducts, roads, and other infrastructure. With the fall of the Roman Empire the city was ruled by the Visigoths before being reconquered by the Byzantine Empire, all the time being maintained as a strategic military and economic center for the region.
The Moorish conquest of 711 brought Islamic rule to the Iberian Peninsula and Granada was quickly established as a center of Al-Andalus, the Muslim name for the region. New agricultural practices were introduced as the old Roman infrastructure was put to use for irrigation, leading to a major expansion of the city as it grew from the river valley up to the hills currently occupied by the Alhambra and the Albayzín, with a major Jewish settlement, the Realejo, existing within the town. Following the fall of Córdoba in 1236 to the Christian Reconquista, the city became the center of the Emirate of Granada, and for the next 250 years Granada stood as the heart of a powerful and self-sufficient kingdom with the construction of the royal palace and fortress, the Alhambra.
Skirmishes continued between the Emirate of Granada and the Crown of Castile, and in the late 15th century the Christian Reconquista set its sights on Granada. Following a military campaign led by King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, which included a siege of the walled town, King Boabdil of Granada was ultimately forced to surrender the town in 1492, bringing an end to Moorish rule in the Iberian peninsula and marking the end of the Reconquista.
The fall of Granada came at a crucial moment for Christian Spain, as it was that same year that Christopher Columbus made his first voyage to the Americas, bringing back reports of the wealth and resources that could be gained there. Flushed with the success of the Reconquista, Spaniards conquered much of the Americas and brought great wealth to the new Spanish Empire. In the case of Granada, the Christians soon forced the existing Jewish and Muslim residents to convert and began making significant changes to the appearance of the city in an attempt to hide its Muslim character, including replacing the city's primary mosque with the massive Cathedral and constructing a large Christian palace in the heart of the Alhambra. Persecution against the Muslims and Jews took its toll, and over time the city began to suffer economically as these populations abandoned their homes in the area.
Granada remained a largely medieval-style city well into the 19th century, going through many economic slumps and seeing much of its architectural heritage destroyed. However, the last half of the 19th century saw Granada incorporated into the national rail network and the first stirrings of tourism thanks to reports of sites like the Alhambra to a global audience. However, the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s sunk Granada's economy, and it persisted largely as a bureaucratic and university town until the late 20th century, when the city underwent a massive period of modernization and development which brought new business and visitors to the city. Today you can still see this modernization in the reconstruction of old buildings in the city center and expansion of the town along the edges of the city.
Granada has a fairly mild climate; hot summers and short but cold winters with a mild amount of precipitation. The area has a very dry climate, so summers will get hot but not too uncomfortable due to the lack of humidity. From about November to April you will need a jacket and warm clothing, as it does get quite cold. Rain is most common in the fall and early winter months and rain spells lasting several days can occur during this time of the year, but the rest of the year you're likely to see little else but sunshine. Snow is not unheard of in Granada but it is very rare - if you want snow you have to go up into the Sierra Nevada mountains, which remain snow-capped for the whole winter.
- Great skiing (November to April) in the Sierra Nevada just half an hour by regular buses from Granada.
- Climb the Mulhacén, the highest peak on the Iberian Peninsula, or hike any one of a number of easier routes in the Alpujarras.
- Flamenco Show: Get involved in the musical tradition of Andalucia and enjoy a great night.
- Experience the nightlife of Granada at one of the great, local bars. The bar mojitoo, located on "Calle Navas", has a fantastic atmosphere with great drinks and a friendly bartender named Fran.
- Go to one of the many popular night clubs (discotecas) of Granada, including: Mae West, El Camborio, Granada 10, Forum.
Granada province (and town) is one of the few places in Spain where you will habitually and automatically receive a free, freshly cooked and generous helping of tapas (food) with your beer or wine. This may be anything from a small homemade burger on bread, to cheese in oil and garlic, tortilla, prawns or calamari or other fish or seafood, or the ubiquitous carne con tomate (meat in sauce). Rather than go out for a meal you are well advised to go on a pub crawl as you will have more variety for less (no!) cost.
The street "Calle Navas" has a wide variety of bars and restaurants very close together with reasonable prices.
Have a botellon with Alia by the river
As in much of Spain, be aware of siesta - most shops close in the afternoons, which depending on the business can be anywhere from 13:00 to 17:00. The main exception to this rule is large department stores and chain stores. However, nearly everything is closed on Sundays.
The area surrounding Puerta Real serves as the city's main shopping district. El Corte Inglés, Spain's department store chain, has a large store between Calle Acera del Darro and Calle Carrera de la Virgen just south of Puerta Real, while Calle Mesones and the adjacent pedestrian streets between Puerta Real and the Cathedral are home to a large number of fancy clothing and gift stores. If you're looking for postcards or other tourist wares, the Alcaiceria south of the Cathedral (see above under See) is chock full of souvenir shops, although you can also find plenty of souvenir shops along Cuesta de Gomerez on the way up to the Alhambra from Plaza Nueva. If a mall is more your speed, the nearest one to central Granada is the Centro Comercial Neptuno, on Calle Neptuno next to the freeway (take Calle Recogidas west from Puerta Real).
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