Sunday, January 13, 2013

Granada - La Ciudad Católica

The GRIIS program in Granada is incredible and has been really helpful in getting to know the city. Every night we go on a paseo (walk) in a different section of the city and our wonderful guide, Teresa, points out tourist attractions, monuments, historical buildings, and most importantly, the best tapas places in town! In addition to the paseos, our program has almost weekly activities where we visit points of interest throughout Granada and all of Andalusia (Southern Spain). This week our stops included La Catedral y La Capilla Real in Granada, as well as a walk through the beautiful Albaicin, the oldest barrio in Granada.

Although Granada was occupied by Muslims for over 700 years (711-1492), it has an incredibly rich Catholic history, beginning with Isabel y Ferdinand, los reyes católicos. The cities amazing Cathedral was built over the course of 2-3 centuries and is made up of architectural styles ranging from the Baroque era to the Renaissance and on. The building is so detailed, every inch is covered in intricate designs with deep Christian meaning. 

In addition to the beautiful cathedral, los reyes católicos commissioned a smaller chapel, la Capilla Real, to house their graves and as a testament the mark they left on the city. Although the chapel is considerably smaller in size, it is just as intricate and meaningful - a wonderful testament to the religiosity of Isabel and Ferdinand.  

Below I've included some pictures of the beautiful churches we've seen this week, and some incredibly scenic pictures from the Albaicin. This city is constantly taking my breath away and although I know these pictures don't do it justice, I hope they help explain the beauty that is surrounding me here. 

This is part of the beautifully detailed facade of the Cathedral 

These two photos are in the interior of the Cathedral and show the painstakingly detailed architecture and sculpture of the building.

This is a panarama of the most impressive Belen I've seen so far. A tradition in Granada during the Christmas season is to set up enormous Nativity scenes, known as Belens, around town and within Churches and homes instead of putting up Christmas trees. 

It was impossible to pick just one photo of the Alhambra that I took last night in the Albaicin because they were all so beautiful. Here is one of my favorites, but there will definitely be plenty more where this came from over the course of the semester!

Hasta Luego!

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