Granada is about an hour and fifteen minutes from Cortijo las Rosas by car and was first settled by native tribes in the prehistoric period and when the Romans colonised southern Spain, they built their own city here. The Arabs, invading the peninsula in the 8th century, gave it its current name of Granada. It was the last Muslim city to fall to the Christians in 1492 at the hands of Queen Isabel of Castile and her husband Ferdinand of Aragon.
One of the most brilliant examples of Moorish architecture and a world heritage site is the Alhambra, a series of palaces and gardens built under the Nazari Dynasty in the 14th century. This huge compound of buildings includes the summer palace called The Generalife with its fountains and gardens and stands at the foot of Spain’s highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada. It overlooks the city below and the fertile plain of Granada.
At the centre of the Alhambra stands the massive Palace of Charles V which is an outstanding example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. Other major Christian monuments found in the city are the Cathedral, including the Royal Chapel where Isabel and Ferdinand lie buried, the Monastery of La Cartuja and many churches built by Moorish craftsmen after the Reconquest, in Granada’s unique “mudéjar” style.
On the hill facing the Alhambra is the Albaicin which is the old Moorish casbah or “medina”, It has a fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and whitewashed houses with secluded inner gardens, known as “cármenes”. The Plaza de San Nicolas, at the highest point of the Albaicin, is famous for its magnificent view of the Moorish palace.
The Sacromonte hill, which overlooks the city from the North, is famous for its cave dwellings, once the home of Granada’s large gypsy community.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes and pockets.