In 2014 I went to Murcia. I took the time to visit other cities in the south of Spain as well, like Cartagena and Granada. In Granada, we visited Alhambra, an amazing complex of Arabic palaces.
Facts about the city:
Granada was a Muslim Kingdom for 800 years, which is the longest Muslim rule in Spain.
The Alcazaba, the Moorish citadel, is the oldest part of the Alhambra in Granada. It was built in the 11th century. The name “Alhambra” (meaning “the Red” in Arabic) derives from the red, sun-dried bricks of the citadel.
The city is funny and cozy. It has the big Cathedral of Murcia with narrow streets full of shops and some squares where you can sit down to eat an ice cream. Murcia also has great bars and it’s mainly a university town.
The city, as the capital of the comarca Huerta de Murcia is called Europe’s orchard due to its long agricultural tradition and its fruit, vegetable, and flower production and exports.
I spent a very fun week with him, Laura, Cátia, Sofia, Tainan, the Italian guy, the Brazilian girl, Bruno, etc. We had some dinner parties and went out to the Erasmus bar in the evening.
During my stay in Murcia, Ricardo and I took the opportunity to visit other cities in southern Spain, such as Cartagena. The town is funny, with a large, ancient amphitheater, and a very cute marina.
Cartagena is a major naval station. As far back as the 16th century it was one of the most important naval ports in Spain, together with Ferrol in the North. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and is home to a large naval shipyard.
The confluence of civilizations as well as its strategic Harbour, together with the rise of the local mining industry is manifested by a unique artistic heritage, with a number of landmarks such as the Roman Theatre, the second largest of the Iberian Peninsula after the one in Mérida (built between 5 and 1 BC).
This and an abundance of Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine and Moorish remains, result of the bourgeoisie from the early 20th century. Cartagena is now established as a major cruise ship destination in the Mediterranean and an emerging cultural focus.
We also went to Granada for two days and I loved the city. We stayed in a hostel called El Granado and we paid 36€ in total for one night, so 18€ per person.
Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is a fantastic city, full of Arab influences. I really felt like I was in Morocco! It has narrow streets with places to smoke chicha and shops that sell typical souvenirs (we went to one of these bars), places to eat tapas, etc.
But undoubtedly the most beautiful and special part of Granada are the Arabian palaces of the Alhambra! Well worth the money. The Alhambra, a Moorish citadel and palace, is the most renowned building of the Andalusian Islamic historical legacy with its many cultural attractions that make Granada a popular destination among the touristic cities of Spain. It is all Arabic, with typical arches and ceilings in detail carved with huge gardens and beautiful fountains.
We also visited the Generalife, which is a garden area attached to the Alhambra which became a place of recreation and rest for the Granadan Muslim kings when they wanted to flee the tedium of official life in the Palace.
We went to see the Cathedral of Granada. The cathedral is built over the Nasrid Great Mosque of Granada, in the center of the city. We entered the Royal Chapel. The Catholic Monarchs chose this place as their burial site by a royal decree dated September 13, 1504.
The Almohad influence on architecture is also preserved in the Granada neighborhood called the Albaicín with its fine examples of Moorish and Morisco construction. Granada is also well-known within Spain for the University of Granada.