The Nazarite Kingdom of Granada

Granada, the last bastion of Islam on the Peninsula, nurtured its grandeur between the 13th and 15th Centuries, when it was the head of the most beautiful cities in all of the Western world. The Nazarite kings built awe- inspiring palaces: the most part of the Alhambra, a fortified Palatine city, which houses the National Museum of Hispanic- Muslim Art, and which also includes its Alcazaba Citadel and the Palaces of Los Leones and Comares; the Generalife, a summer residence, set in beautiful gardens; the socalled Royal Room of Santo Domingo built in the orchards of Almanxarra; the Palace of Alcázar Genil used by the Nazarite queens. A 13th Century mansion may be visited at the House of Los Girones.

Granada still boasts many of the ancient constructions of its walled area (11th- 14th C.): the perimeter of the Qadima Alcazaba Citadel and numerous gateways ( Monaita, Elvira, Fajalauza…); Vermilion Towers and the Castle of La Silla del Moro completed its defences. Minarets of Granada´s mosques have survived at the Curch of San José (Caliphate) and at the Convent of San Juan de los Reyes (Nazarite). The Episcopal Palace houses the only Madraza School for the study of the Koran conserved in Al Andalus. Other buildings of interest are the Baths of El Nogal (11th C.), the Corral del Carbón and the Alhóndiga Gidida (14th C.).

The Albaicín was the most important suburb of Granada; from its steep streets, the red- coloured form of the Alhambra can be seen, and one may find vestiges of its main mosque in the Church of El Salvador and of Nazarite dwellings in the Convent of Santa Catalina de Zafra and in the House of Daralhorra; one can also see the ruins of 13th Century Baths aswell as numerous wells.

In the district of Atarfe, in Las Monjas “Cortijo”, is situated the archeological site of medinat Elvira, the most important city of Al Andalus for three centuries, which was destroyed in 1010. In Alcafar, Nivar, Churriana and La Zubia, ancient baths may be visited. In Alhama de Granada, what remains of some of the most important baths in the kingdom of Granada are worth a visit.

Itinerary 2 takes us to Guadalix, to its Alcazaba Citadel. In Baza a visit may be paid to the unique Baths of the Jewish Quarter (11th C.), smaller than the Arab Baths. Vestiges of other baths are also conserved in Jeres del Marquesado, Aldeire and Huéneja. In Fiñana the Hermitage of Santiago is located on the site of an old mosque. Arab baths are to be found at the spas of Alhama de Almería and Pechina (Baths of Sierra Alhamilla). This route may be rounded off in Almería, at its Alcazaba Citadel (10th- 11th C.) or at its Aljama Mosque (11th- 12th C.) at the Church of San Juan el Nuevo. From Almería a visit may be paid to Berja (Baths of Benejí) and Dalias, where the Baths of Celín have survived intact.

To the north, the Castle of Tahal (15th C.) may be seen, one of the last to have been built by the Arabs. Those not easily tires may continue up as far as Vélez Blanco, where they can see what remains of a mosque at the Church of la Magdalena.

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