The varied origin and diversity of religions which so characterized
Granada's population in the 17th explains, to certain extent,
the strange unifying operation which led to the foundation
of the abbey of Sacromonte. Its history, inscribed
in a century plagued by miracles and the discoveries of relics,
has a variety of protagonists among which the archibishop
Pedro de Castro stands out, its grat inspiration; as does
Heylan, a Flemish engraver whose workreflected these find
and the saintly remains of Cecilo and Tesifonte, who were
buried on the hill after the martyrdoom. However, still stranger
than the relics themselves are the so called Libros plúmbeos
del Sacromonte or the books accompanying them, which were
said to have been ordered by King Solomon himself, a Jew highly
respected by the Arabs. Thus, with these dicorveries all the
mystical needs of the three religions seemed to have been
solved. Unfortunately for Castro, the board governing the
relics validated the remains of the Saints, but not the books
which were deemed to be false.
Crossing the path that leads from the abbey to the whole Sacromonte, one finally reaches the School of Arabic Studies or casa del Chapiz. This building clearly shows that the 16th century not only adopted architectonic elements from the recent past, but could also combine these with the new, the idea being that the architecture among other things could be, for those who inhabited it, a joy to the senses.
A little further down the hill, next to the river, stands the Córdoba's palace which hab been moved from the placeta of the Descalzas.
From here, the Darro river which divides the Sabica and Valparaiso hillas, disappears from view, from the puente de los Tristes onwards, in a discredit to the senses, reason and all logical thought. Undisturbed hours of contemplation could lead you to the conclusion that although visible, the river never really existed.
Following the river in the direction of Plaza Nueva, one comes across the convent of Santa Catalina de Zafra, founded in 1520 and inside is preserved the casa morisca de Zafra from the 14th century.
Work began on the church of San Pedro and San Pablo in 1501 and having closeby el Buñuelo, it seems likely that it was built on the mosque of these baths, which are some of the oldest surviving in Spain. Next door, note the interesting facade of the casa de Castril, a beautiful 16th century palace which at present houses Granada's Archaeological Museum.
Also nearby, although in a small alley, one finds the casa de los Pisas, a 16th century palace converted into a museum dedicated to San Juan de Dios. The Church of Santa Ana in Plaza Nueva, boasts one of the finests facades in Granada, both in its proportions as in the distribution of its proportions as in the distribution of its features. Started in 1501 and completed in 1562, it is a real masterpiece of múdejar architecture.
However the building which best charactizes Plaza Nueva is the Royal Chancellery of Granada, the only supreme court of justice in the kingdom along with that of Valladolid. Work commenced on its building in 1531, the facade would later become a quintessential example of classicist decorative architecture.