martes, 25 de noviembre de 2014

The Albaycin al-bayyāzīn, the old Arab Quarter in Granada

The Albaycin is the old Arab Quarter. It comprises approximately the area between the hill of the Alhambra, the hill of San Cristobal, the Sacromonte and Elvira.  It was declared a world heritage site in 1984, along with the more famous Alhambra.

The name albaicín appears to derive from the Arab word al-bayyāzīn, pronounced with an imala in the Granadan Arabic accent as al-bayyīzīn, meaning "the falconers", although this is disputed by some linguists.

El Albayzin in Granada Spain is a wonderful neighborhood to explore on foot. While strolling along the whitewashed streets, visitors can admire old Moorish homes, beautiful fountains, and attractive plazas. Among the more renowned plazas is the Plaza de San Nicolas. It is at this plaza that the Mirador de San Nicolas can be found. This "mirador," or lookout point, offers amazing views of the Alhambra, especially at sunset.

 The Albaycin is like a different world within Granada. This is due to the strong Muslim influence in this area. It was the place where the first Ziri court was built in the eleventh century.

The city descended from Saint Nicholas to the banks of the River Darro. The Albaycin featured luxurious carmenes and public baths, like the Banuelo

There is a lot to see in the Albaicin Quarter, including remnants of an old gate, Puerta Elvira, to the city and numerous cisterns that harken back to days gone by.

Despite the development that followed the Christian conquest, the Albayzín still bears witness to the medieval Moorish settlement, as its urban fabric, architecture and main characteristics (form, materials, colours), were not changed when it was adapted to the Christian way of life, to survive as a remarkable example of a Spanish-Moorish town.

Nowdays, Albaycin Bajo has a very North African feel, and you will find kebabs and falafel on the local restaurant menus. As for the shops, they offer all kinds of things, including Moroccan handicrafts. Many are found along Calle Caldereria Nueva, which extends from the Albaicin to some of the city's more modern neighborhoods.

Next to the Arabic Quarter in Granada it's  Sacromonte. A neighborhood of sorts, Sacromonte is known for its gitano (gypsy) heritage and features some interesting caves. It's also where the Granada flamenco shows take place.

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