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Granada Historical regions and cities
This is a land of contrasts, but in all of its different regions, from the shady and fertile areas like the Valley of Lecrín to the dry areas such as El Temple and the Lands og Alhama there is never a lack of interesting cities, surprising landscapes and incentives to visit them. The north and north-east form one region, Los Montes, which is dominated by the olive tree, and was once inhabited by the ancient dolmen of the Peña de los Gitanos (Crag of the Gypsies) near Montefrío.
Montefrío itself is an unusual town as it sits precariouslyon a cliff and is dominated by its Arabic castle and Gothic-Renaissance parish church. The church of the Encarncación is surprising for its very pure Neo-classical style and its original round dome. It is a town, like so many in the province of Granada, of vantage points. Not too far away is Íllora, whose dwellings are overshadowed by the huge church the Encarnación which was designed by Diego de Siloé. This another attractive town with a wealth of monumetnts situated on the edge of the Parapanda Mountain Range.
High plateus define the north-east area of Granada. Vast open spaces, like in Baza and Huéscar, are good examples. These are regions of striking personality, such as the Guadix Valley, where the clay, along with the rugged countryside, has helped the proliferation of troglodyte caves which are still valued for their thermid qualities, cool in summer and warm in minter. Guadix, on the other hand, is a city of great monumental wealth. The latter Renaissance cathedral which also has Gothic and Baroque elements, the latter including the façade, exemplifies this. Second to the cathedral is the Renaissance episcopal palace which is closely followed by the alcazaba and numerous remains of the long Arabic presence in this area.
Between Guadix Valley and Sierra Nevada there is El Marquesado, another characteristic region which posssesses one of the most beautiful castles in Andalusia, the Castle of Lacalahorra, and many picturesque villages. And there still remain various regions and cities to be seen such as the Vegas del Genil which include Loja, a town with many monuments (castle, churches, fountains) and not too far away the splendidly situated spa town of Alhama de Granada.
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