Historical Center#3 in Best Things To Do in Granada
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- 0.0Food Scene
If you're still itching to tour more historical, not to mention architecturally gorgeous, attractions after the Alhambra, Granada's historical center is your best bet. This small neighborhood, adjacent to the Albaicín, features a variety of attractions including churches, monasteries, palaces, cultural centers and houses and even schools. Though one could easily spend days roaming the innards of the historical center, the main attractions to see are the Basilica de San Juan de Dios, the Cathedral and Royal Chapel and the Saint Jerome Monastery.
The Basilica de San Juan de Dios is considered one of the most important Baroque temples in Spain and houses an urn that contains Saint John of the Gods. What stands out most to visitors, however, is its interiors. The interior patio, almost entirely gold, stuns travelers when lit up by the natural light that pours through the church's windows. Many travelers experienced a similar reaction at the Saint Jerome Monastery, the first temple in the world dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The attraction is more Renaissance in style and features an ornate, multitiered altar decorated with figurines of religious, historical and mythical individuals and characters. The Cathedral of Granada is one of the many buildings that was built on top of a former mosque and its adjacent Royal Chapel houses the tombs of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the royalty who were in charge during the Reconquest of Spain.
In addition to religious attractions, the area is also home to the Federico García Lorca Center. The center acts as a museum displaying objects from the writer's possession, as well as artwork from other international artists. The area is also filled to the brim with restaurants, tapas bars and shopping options, including the Alcaiceria Market. Prices and hours vary by attraction but the area is free to explore all hours of the day and night. For more information, visit the Granada Tourism Board's website.
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#1 The Alhambra
The Alhambra is the crown jewel of Granada. Perched high atop a hill in the center of the city, this UNESCO World Heritage site dominates the skyline. The Alhambra is not only Granada and Andalusia's biggest tourist attraction, it's one of the most-visited spots in all of Spain. It draws about 2 million visitors per year, with some traveling to Granada just to see the Alhambra. And for good reason – it boasts a rich history, magnificent architecture, gorgeous gardens and stellar views.
Aesthetics aside, to really appreciate the Alhambra is to understand its history. The palace was primarily built between the 13th and 14th centuries by the Moorish Nasrid Dynasty (though small parts of it were initially constructed in the ninth century by the previous dynasty), acting as a residence for royals as well as fortress. After the Conquest of Granada, Spanish rulers made the Alhambra more their own – transforming interiors, replacing the on-site mosque with a church and adding other Renaissance-style structures, including an extra palace for Charles V. Many of what visitors see today is centuries of rebuilding and restoration.
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