Sierra Elvira suffers from the comparison with its big brother, Sierra Nevada, but it has one main advantage: the gorgeous view it offers on the Vega, on Granada, and on the Sierra Nevada itself (seen in the background of the picture below).

Its location, on the north of Granada, just next to the city of Atarfe, makes it a perfect spot for easy hiking and fresh air during the weekend.

On the southern slopes of Sierra Elvira you'll find also ruins of the Medina Elvira, the original human settlement on the Vega, before the population switched for the Albayzin, the Alhambra and the Granada we know today. But that will be for a next post! 


If you are brave enough to go to the top of the Albayzin, spare one hour to behold the sight of the Nasrid walls.

Unlike the Zirids walls which surround the original Alcazaba Qadima of the XIth century, these walls were built much later, in the XIVth century, to cover the suburbs which had grown around the old walls.

You can notice that the wall start on the top of the Cerro de San Miguel, cross the Carretera de Murcia and go was far as the church of San Cristobal.

There is even a gate, called now Puerta de San Lorenzo, which was rediscovered in 1983(!). The walls follow the shape of the hill of San Cristobal, before to eventually join the Puerta Elvira down the Albayzin. 


On top of the Albayzin, near the Placeta del Cristo de las Azucenas, you can find the Carmen del Aljibe del Rey, which is host to the Fundacion AguaGranada. Blink and you could miss it, because when you are on the Placeta del Cristo, you will be all eyes on the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada. Still, the Carmen del Aljibe del Rey is hosting a piece of engineery worth seeing to understand the appeal and the technology of the Muslim kingdom of Granada.

Entrance of the Carmen del Aljibe del Rey
An "aljibe" is a water cistern used to collect and distribute the water in provenance from the springs in the mountains around Granada. They were used to collect and distribute this water equally in the old Alcazaba Qadima (the original location of the city of Granada, which will be later known as Albayzin). 

Inside the Aljibe
This water cistern of the Aljibe del Rey could store 300 cubic meters of water and dates back to the XIth century, when Granada started to become a major player on the Iberian peninsula, following the Taifas rebellion. 

Located near the Ziris walls which surrounded the core of the city, it was the most important of all the aljibe, due to its higher position, the nucleus of the system designed to oil the social and health life of the muslim city. It was receiving water from the canal of Aynadamar, whose source was in the mountain of the Sierra de Alfaguarra and can still be seen today.

The highlight of the carmen del Aljibe is of course the water cistern itself, under the building, where you can get down through steep stairs. The temperature is notably lower than above. The cistern was especially designed to resist the pressure of the 300 meters cubic water which could be contained there. There are several openings in the ceiling of the cistern, in order also to collect the rain water :

An ingenious model of the city shows how the water was brought to the city with the Aynadamar canal (top left of the picture) and then diverted throughout the Alcazaba Qadima with a system of canals and wells.

follow the lights to get an idea of the canals of water inside the Albayzin
Last but not least, you can enjoy the gardens of the Carmen.

You can visit the Carmen in groups every day by filling out the following form. Or, individuals can present themselves everyday at 12pm at the door and ask for a private (free) visit, from monday to friday.



Palacio de los Abencerrajes
Sala de los reyes

Sala de los reyes

Sala de los Reyes

Sala de las 2 Hermanas

Pinhole Photography in the Sacromonte

The Sacromonte is renowned for the flamenco shows and the views to the Alhambra.

However, a young couple of artists have now transformed one of its cave in order to offer a new fruitful way to spend your time in this gorgeous place.

With Pablo and Hedvig from El Laboratorio (find the facebook link here), you can have a collodium/wet plate portrait taken or even take part to a workshop of pinhole photography.

What is pinhole photography ?

It is basically to create your own photograph with a cardboard box, make a pinhole into one side, stick photo paper on the other side, point it in direction of what you want to take and then... reveal the paper in the darkroom.

No need of expensive equipment, no need of tripod, just bring a box, and your creativity and learn the basics of the dark arts of photography from scratch.


Seen from San Miguel Alto.


Ronda is one of the city of Andalucia (and probably Spain) which is the easiest to identify due to the huge bridge connecting the old town to the new town, above the 170m emptiness of the Tajo gorge at the bottom of which runs the Guadalevin river.


And you can actually pass under the bridge and walk next to the river in the depth of the gorge.


This "new" bridge (as it is called) was built in the late XVIIIth century in order to replace the older and much smaller Roman/Arabic bridges in use until that time:

Without those bridges, Ronda is a city upon a rocky cliff almost impossible for any army or troop to surprise and storm. The old town has other entrance doors but they were heavely fortified, as we can still see today.


Ronda has charmed all visitors who have visited it, starting from the Romantics writers until Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, who were both aficionados of corridas (for which Ronda is famous), and were rewarded with monuments to their name :

From Granada, Ronda is accessible by a combination of bus and train. It will cost you approximately 32€ in total.