One of the things I love about living in Spain, is the history of Granda, the city where I lived. While I balanced a lot of my time between working as an English assistant and LSAT studying, I still make time to appreciate the beauty of Granada.
The History of Granada
Granada is a fairly small city in southern Spain, with a population of 230,000. It takes about 10-15 minutes to walk from one end of the city center to the other. Despite its small size, Granada is nationally acknowledged as a beautiful and magical place. The Alhambra, an impressive fortress, overlooks the city and gives it a whimsical and mystical feel. Just by walking through the streets of Granada, you recognize its long and rich history. For centuries, Granada was under Muslim rule and it served as a popular trading center. The history of Granada is rich with both Muslim and Catholic history. Granada was the last standing Muslim city before it surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs (Isabella I and Ferdinand V) in 1492!
If you pay attention, you’ll notice the subtle presence of Queen Isabella in the city. The Cathedral of Granada, the most impressive structure in the center, has the initials of Isabel and Ferdinand all around it. The Cathedral of Granada was built directly on top of the Nasrid Great Mosque of Granada. The Nasrid Dynasty was the last Muslim dynasty in power. The Cathedral was built shortly after the conquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs. (To build a church or cathedral over a mosque is a common theme in Spain!)
If you walk along Calle Recogidas, the main shopping street, you will see a statue of Isabella I. She is located in the Plaza Isabel la Catolica with Christopher Columbus. The statues depicts Queen Isabella on a throne and Columbus in front of her, showing her a map. Not too far from this city, Queen Isabella granted Columbus approval for his 1492 historic expedition. Within the history of Granada you will find ‘the birth’ of America. The monument is in honor an the event that changed the course of history.
Granada has a spring to die for. While the winters are icy cold, and summers unbearable hot, the springs are just right. These spring sunny days are perfect to explore the city. The only downside, is that the weather in Granada can change from hour to hour. One hour you need a jacket ,while the next you’d be fine with a sweater. Layering works best for this type of weather, giving you both the benefit of adjusting to the sun and adding texture to your outfit. For this day out, I went with a lighter tone to honor the start of spring!
And of course, no day in Granada is complete without a tapas stop! Granada is one of the few places in Spain that continues to give a free tapa with the purchase of a drink. (A tapa is like a small appetizer of a snack). Going out for tapas is an affordable and Andalusian way to enjoy life. With a glass of wine costing between 2-3 euros, it’s hard to resist! My favorite place for tapas is called Los Manuelos. It’s located only a couple of minutes from Plaza Isabel la Catolica and a must to try. While in the center of an extremely touristy part of the center, Los Manuelos is fantastic. Both locals and tourists come here and the quality and ambiance are top notch!
Despite its size, every time I walk through Granada I discover something new. The history of Granada is rich and inviting. I never fail to learn something new. History lessons about the birth of modern Spain and religion – Granada has it all! Whether it’s a new tapas place or a new historical fun fact, this city never disappoints!