The "Casa de Zafra" is a very well conservated building from the time of Al-Andalus, a typical house of a wealthy family of the Nasrid kingdom. After 1492 it was reconverted as a convent (convent Santa Catalina de Zafra), which is why it was preserved so well. 

It is located just in the Carrera del Darro, which means, as you can see below, that the family of this house had a premium vista on the Alhambra back in the old Al-Andalus' days. 

In contrast to what many people think the houses of Al-Andalus were very sober. A patio, two porticos, a few arches... Not much more, except drawings which you can still see a few remnants on the plaster of the walls.

Opened since June 2014, the entrance is still free! The entrance is well hidden (see below), but if you have time to spare, it's worth a look.

Last, a video which is shown in a room during the visit : 


The name of Granada is very often linked to artists of flamenco, poets like Garcia Lorca, paintors, etc. but there is also a famous name of rock'n'roll who fell in love with the city in the 80's and it is no one else but Joe Strummer, the leader of the band THE CLASH which revolutionized rock'n'roll. In 1984, Joe Strummer came to Granada and had such a good time that he came back many times.

30 years later, a popular initiative convinced the townhall to give his name to a little square in the Realejo, and last tuesday was the inauguration :

Of course, the most famous graffiti artist of the city had not waited this long to immortalize the man on the wall next the placeta :

To find an article about the inauguration, CLICK HERE.

And to find anecdotes in Spanish about the good time Joe Strummer had in Granada, CLICK THERE.

Fundation Rodriguez Acosta

Have you ever wondered what was that strange white mausoleum on the southern side of the same hill that is host of the Alhambra? It is a white building, which looks like the little sister of the Alhambra, built a few centuries after by a crazy doctor. But it's better than that!
Fondation Rodriguez Acosta, top left corner, seen from the Campo del Principe.
Jose Marie Rodriguez Acosta was a Spanish painter from Granada. Scion of a wealthy family of bankers, he studied painting and specialized in nudes and natures mortes. However, in 1914, when he came back to Granada, he started to build the work of art for which his name will be really remembered.


Thursday 3rd of July 2014 : piano concert of Philip Glass inside the Palace of Charles V, in the Alhambra, at the occasion of the International Festival of Music and Dance of Granada.

The program included Metamorphoses, Mad Rush, Wichita Vortex Sutra (with recording of Allen Ginsberg).


The Cuarto Dorado (or Golden Room) is the second place you will visit in your tour of the Alhambra, right after the Mexuar. You actually enter a small courtyard, with a fountain in the middle, where the sultan received its allies in the 14th century.

On the north side is the impressive facade of the proper "Golden Room" whose decoration was ordained by the sultan Muhammad V.

However, the place owes its name to the beautiful woodword ceiling in the south-side chamber, which is a work of the Catholic monarchs after the conquest.


The Alcazaba is the oldest part of the Alhambra. It was built in the 13th century on the remains of the earlier fortifications dating back from Carthaginians and Romans. 

The Entrance of the Alcazaba

Its exceptional position made it a perfect quarter to house the soldiers and guards of the rulers of the Alhambra. You can still see the foundations of the houses and stores.
Courtyard of the Alcazaba seen from the top of Torre de la Vela

The Alcazaba offers a great panorama over the district called the Albaycín, on the other bank of the river Darro

Albaycin seen from the Alcazaba round tower
The Alcazaba has a triangular shape and at the tip of it stands the famous Torre de la Vela :

Torre de la Vela, facing the modern Granada


The word "carmen" comes from the Arab word karm, meaning "vine" and by extension this word has ended up as a definition for the typical moorish houses where vines were grown as a way to provide food as well as shadow against the summer sun. These carmens still are legion in and around the Albayzin : austere houses from the exterior, hidden behind high white walls, letting nothing guess about the luxurious gardens and the peace it offers when you cross its threshold. 

The Carmen de la Victoria is one of many of these Carmens which you can find in the Albayzin. Moreover, being a public building since it was bought by the University of Granada you will be able to visit it and absorb its magic.

The Carmen de la Victoria stands half-way up the Cuesta del Chapiz, on the right hand at the end of the Paseo de los Tristes, after the Palacio de los Cordovas.

To enter, just ring the bell : the guardian is not too picky. Then, climb up the stairs and lose yourself inside the astonishing gardens, until you spot the view to the Alhambra which will leave you probably speechless.

The Carmen de la Victoria is property of the University of Granada. As such it is used as a residence for guests of the University and as a place to organize meetings, parties and exhibitions. 

The carmens are in direct correspondance with the original muslim philosophy which encouraged people to cultivate their interior self than to adorm their exterior one. In a sense, the Alhambra is the perfect carmen : a fortress of rigourous cubes sheltering astonishingly brillant palaces.


When you come to Granada from the South, with the highway, you can't help to notice, even before the Alhambra, a huge red building, moorish-style. It is the hotel ALHAMBRA PALACE.


When you visit the Generalife, don't miss the Escalera del Agua, located on the high part of the gardens, after the Patio de la Sultana

As most of the things in the Generalife, it offers only a shadow of its former Andalusian self, but you can have a pretty good idea of the way the architects of these gardens where expert to combine pleasures (a refreshing piece of ingeniery to escape heat and sun) with the practical (the water provided could be used to operate the ritual cleansing before to reach the prayer room on the height of the gardens).


If you plan to sleep as close as possible from the Alhambra this Parador, just at the end of the Calle Real, is for you. A "Parador" is a kind of hotel located inside a castle, a convent, or any place with a historical or architectural value, renovated and refurbished to meet the needs of modern guests.

The Parador de San Francisco was, at the origin, as is recalled poetically above, the palace of an unknown prince. After the end of the Reconquista, the piece of land and all the buildings were converted as a convent of Franciscan monks. Even if you are not a guest of the Parador, you can visit the Patio inside, which was a chapel and a place of burial, as indicate the marble stone stuck into the walls. At the other end of the patio you can find a dome with muqarnas, typical of the Nazari architecture. 

The convent was used as a temporary resting place for the Catholic Kings Isabella and Fernando while the Royal Chapelle was built in the cathedral. Later on, it slowly fell into disrepair. In the XIXth century, it was abandoned, and it's only in 1929 that it was restored and saved from destruction. In 1954 it opened its door as a Parador.



During the Muslim era, Granada had countless hammam or Arab baths. El Bañuelo, in the Carrera del Darro is the last one to have survived the Reconquista in the city itself (there are other ones which have been preserved in the Alhambra), because it became part of a private mansion. Built during the 11th century, it is well hidden behind an unpreposterous facade :

The bañuelo has been recently restored and in order to cover the costs of the restoration and conservation of the place. In consequence the entrance, which was free until now, will now be charged for a "symbolic cost" from the 1st of September 2014.

You can enjoy the place from Monday to Sunday, 9h30-14h30 and 17h-21h. 

As in Roman times, the Arab baths were a public building where people could gather to pass time, meet and relax, but also had a religious meaning because this is where they could wash their sins. They counted three to four rooms usually, one room for hot water, one for cold water and one for warm water.

The ceiling of hammams are dotted with octogonals and star-shaped skylights in order to lessen the weights of the vault, let the steam escape and let light enter.