Granada, Spain;Travel/Tourist Information Guide

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Granada, situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Andalucia is one of Spain's most frequently visited tourist centers. It has many notable architectural and artistic monuments, some of them even dating back to the Moorish occupation of Spain. It is the seat of an archbishop and has fine Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical churches, convents, monasteries, hospitals, palaces and mansions.

Alhambra, a grand, sprawling hilltop fortress complex encompasses royal palaces, serene patios and reflecting pools from the Nasrid dynasty. The fountains and orchards of the Generalife gardens attracts visitors who revel in its glory. The cathedral housed in the center of the city is profusely ornamented with jasper and colored marble. Its interior contains a number of fine paintings and sculptures by Alonso Cano. The administrative and commercial section of Granada is towards the South of the city while the west has the modern residential sector.

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The history of Granada dates back to almost 2500 years with its origination as an Ibero-Celtic settlement. Later Greeks established their colonies in the area. The Ancient Romans constructed aqueducts, roads and other infrastructure during their rule and developed Granada as an economic center of Roman Hispania. Although it was ruled by the Visigoths after the fall of the Roman Empire and reconquered by the Byzantine Empire, it continued to be a strategic military and economic hub of the region.

The Moorish conquest of 711 brought Islamic rule and led to a major expansion of the city. The Moorish rule was brought to an end in 1492 when King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile forced King Boabdil of Granada to surrender during a siege of the walled town. Following the reports of Christopher Columbus, a lot of land of America was conquered and great wealth was brought to the Spanish Empire. The Christians forced the existing Jewish and Muslim residents of Granada to convert and made significant changes which included the replacement of the primary mosque to a massive Cathedral and the construction of a large Christian palace in the heart of the Alhambra. 

Much of the architectural heritage of Granada was destroyed and many economic slumps were seen until Granada was included in the national rail network in the last half of the 19th century and Granada started getting recognition as a center of tourist interest. Its economy was hit once again during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s and saw development and modernization only in the late 20th century when new business and visitors came to the city.

Climate

Granada enjoys a mild climate where summers are hot but bearable due to lack of humidity and winters are short but cold with slight precipitation. While travelling between November to April it is necessary to carry some warm clothes as it is quite cold during these months. During the fall and early winter months there are spells of rain that last several days whereas there is sunshine for rest of the year. In order to enjoy the snowy landscapes of Granada, make a trip to the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains during the winter months.

Language

Andaluz, the Andalusian version of Spanish is the language spoken by the natives of Granada and is quite difficult to understand due to the Arabic influence and the way they speak. English is hardly spoken except by some young university students who may know enough to have a basic conversation, employees at some hotels and Alhambra.