The Albayzin

There's an atmospheric new Arabic quarter at the foot of the Albayzín where Calle Elvira meets Plaza Nueva. This triangle of streets, bordered by the Calderería Nueva and the Calderería Vieja is now home to many colorful Arabic and New Age craft shops, authentic Middle Eastern restaurants, take-away kebab houses and relaxing Moroccan tearooms like Alfaguara. The rest of the district, further up the hill, is a warren of alleys and cobbled streets running between whitewashed houses and villas with orchard or gardens called cármenes. The wealthy Arabs living here between the 12th and 15th centuries wanted privacy and sought to hide their prosperity in case they became the targets of envy and hostility. So they built high walls around their houses to keep out prying eyes. Look through the gates and grilles and you'll still see the geometrically designed gardens and patios with their fountains, irrigation systems, fruit trees, plants and flowers. There are lots of pretty little squares up here too. The Plaza San Miguel Bajo, for example, fills up on sunny days with people sitting outside on the bar and restaurant terraces. The square's huge church, like most other churches in this area, was built on the site of a mosque after Christians took control of the city from the Moors in 1492. The Plaza Larga was once an Arab souk (market) and is still the venue for a market on Saturday mornings. You get the best views in the city from nearby San Nicolás Square. By day, look over the Alhambra complex and see the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background; by night you see the Alhambra's palaces and fortress spectacularly illuminated by floodlights. On your way back to the center you'll pass the historic buildings on Carrera del Darro. The nuns in San Bernardo Convent next door to the Archaeological Museum make delicious cakes and biscuits. To buy them you have to go to the first door on the side street to the left (Calle Gloria, 2) and speak into an intercom. You don't get to see the nuns because it's a closed order. Instead, your delivery arrives on a revolving wooden contraption. If you prefer something savory, stop in at Casa de Todos, one of the busy tapas bars en route. The trendy music bars along this street open late and close late. Try Al Pie de la vela or Rey Momo.


Granada 10


Mirador de San Nicolas


Restaurante San Nicolas
El Huerto de Juan Ranas

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