Day 12: Granada

On the morning of the 17th, we left the town of Sevilla and travelled eastward through Andaluc√≠a to what was once the grandest city in Spain, Granada. Granada, today, is a booming city which sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Its most notable tourist site is the Alhambra, a Medieval Moorish palace and citadel. We’ll be seeing that on our second day in the city.

After checking into our hotel, we walked approximately 1/3 mile to the Granda Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Incarnation. It is one of only two Renaissance churches in Spain. It’s earliest beginnings were Gothic, it was built in the Renaissance style, and it was decorated in the Baroque style. Walking through the Renaissance interior was reminiscent of St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London.

Approaching the Granada Cathedral

Approaching the Granada Cathedral

Facade of the Cathedral

Facade of the Cathedral

Looking up the nave toward the altar of this grand Renaissance church

Looking up the nave toward the altar of this grand Renaissance church

Vaulted Ceilings of the choir, flanked by two majestic organs on either side

Vaulted Ceilings of the choir, flanked by two majestic organs on either side

One of the grand organs

One of the grand organs

The apse

The apse

Looking inside the apse from the left side

Looking inside the apse from the left side

Massive Medieval Choir Books

Massive Medieval Choir Books

The birthday girls inside the Granada Cathedral

The birthday girls inside the Granada Cathedral

Organ

Organ

The altarpiece of St. James the Moor Slayer (not so politically correct, these days)

The altarpiece of St. James the Moor Slayer (not so politically correct, these days)

The Sacristy of the Cathedral

The Sacristy of the Cathedral

After our tour of the cathedral, we exited and paid again to enter one of the side chapels in the church, the Royal Chapel (apparently the church and this chapel are run by different religious orders.) Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside (Photos which follow were found online). The primary draw for tourists is to see the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Monarchs. They chose Granada for their burial to make a statement: Granada was the last bastion of Islam in Spain during the Reconquista. When the Moorish king, Bobadil, handed over the keys to the city to King Ferdinand, the Reconquista was complete — All of Spain was under Christian control once again. Ferdinand and Isabel, by permanently planting themselves in Granda, indicated that it would never be removed from Christian rule again. Also, resting next to the Catholic Monarchs are Philip the Fair and Juanna the Mad (daughter to Ferdinand and Isabella). An unexpected treat in visiting the Royal Chapel was the wonderful collection of paintings by several Netherlandish masters, including Hans Memling, Rogier van der Weyden, and Dirk Bouts. Another room had the crown and scepter of Isabella and the sword of Ferdinand.

Ferdinand and Isabella (closest) who took the more humble position, lower than the monuments to Philip and Juana

Ferdinand and Isabella (closest) who took the more humble position, lower than the monuments to Philip and Juana

The actual lead coffins, which contain the remains of Ferdinand, Isabella, Juana the Mad, Philip the Fair ( and Prince Miguel)

The actual lead coffins, which contain the remains of Ferdinand, Isabella, Juana the Mad, Philip the Fair ( and Prince Miguel)

Crown and Sceptre of Isabel, sword of Ferdinand

Crown and Sceptre of Isabel, sword of Ferdinand

Our last adventure for the day was to wander through the Albayz√≠n, Spain’s best old Moorish quarter. At times, we felt we were back in the Middle East (reminiscent of our trips through Muslim neighborhoods on our Israel visit last year). The shaded,small cobbled lanes with colorful corners and flowery walls was relaxing (although the first half was all uphill). We somewhat randomly chose small lanes and alleys which led us to the top of the hill, upon which sits the Mirador de San Nicolas, the bell tower attached to the almost 500-year old church of San Nicolas. From the top of the bell tower, and to a lesser extent, the patio beside the church, we were treated to awesome views of the Alhambra and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Making our way into the Albayzin

Making our way into the Albayzin

Reminds us of shopping in the Middle East

Reminds us of shopping in the Middle East

The ladies in the Albayzin

The ladies in the Albayzin

The narrow medieval streets of the Moorish neighborhood

The narrow medieval streets of the Moorish neighborhood

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Almost to the top of the hill, a beautiful view of the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas

Almost to the top of the hill, a beautiful view of the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas

Looking down onto Saint Nicolas Square from atop the St. Nicolas Belltower

Looking down onto Saint Nicolas Square from atop the St. Nicolas Belltower

Looking down onto the open and unfinished roof of the church

Looking down onto the open and unfinished roof of the church

Looking over the Albayzin to the Sierra Nevadas from the Belltower

Looking over the Albayzin to the Sierra Nevadas from the Belltower

After ambling back down the hill, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and retired to our hotel, the Hotel Granada Centro, to rest for a busy, next day in Granada.

In the Albayzin

In the Albayzin

Another narrow medieval street in the Albayzin

Another narrow medieval street in the Albayzin

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