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2. The Moorish quarters of Albaicín

3. Gardens of Generalife


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Below the white mountains

Granada, Spain

Sunset over Alhambra, with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the back.

Granada, Spain

Granada seen from the Alhambra. This belongs the the less inhabited eastern quarters.

Granada might seem packed with sights, but in reality is everything in easy walking distance. In many ways is Granada the ideal tourist destination, you can sleep, eat and explore everything inside a radius of 500 metres. But what an area! It will appeal to all your senses, tickle your curiosity and it might even change your perception on peoples and religions.
Granada was the capital of the kingdom of the Nasrids. But it was never an imperial capital, Granada was more of the little kingdom allocating a great part of its wealth into beauty. And it is the palaces, fortress and other buildings on the hill top of Alhambra which was the arena of the best craftsmen that Spain had in the 13th until 15th centuries.
From 711 Granada was no more than an important regional centre in the Caliphate of Cordoba, and from 1031 under the Almoravids, and from 1154 under the Almohads, both ruling from Sevilla. But in the 1240's did Ibn al-Ahmar of the Nasrid tribe manage to establish an independent rule from Granada. But the new kingdom was quite isolated, Cordoba had fallen to the Christians in 1236 and Sevilla followed in 1248. The only Muslim lands now were just 350 km from east to west, and at the most stretching 150 km into the Iberian peninsula. Yet, this included all of the future tourist destination of Costa del Sol with Malaga and Marbella.
The kingdom of Granada would survive the following centuries thank to the rulers' ability to cooperate and receive protection from the different neighbour kingdoms of Aragon and Castille, as well as the Merenid kingdom of Morocco.
Granada's final fall came over a period of 13 years, starting with th uniting of the kingdoms of Aragon and Castille. The united Christian kingdom took control over most of the coast, and by 1490 there was little left of the kingdom of Granada but Granada itself. Sultan Boabdil was unable to get help from other Muslim states, and after a 7 month long siege did he surrender to the Spanish.
The story of Muslim Spain would last another century. The Christian suppression of Muslims and Jews was harsh, and concluded by the expulsion of them all. Spain was left without its able craftsmen.

By Tore Kjeilen