Have You Been to Pomegranate City?

(This is part two of the sites and sounds from our recent excursion to the city of Granada, Spain.)

No story of the city of Granada can take place without mention of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella.  It was here in Granada that Columbus received his commission from the Queen to sail for the West Indies.  He made it to the shores of America instead.  Columbus finding the America’s helped to make Spain a world power.

The statue depicts Columbus receiving his royal orders.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is the entrance to the Royal Chapel.  It is the final resting place of the Catholic Monarch’s, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Aragon.  The chapel was built between 1506 and 1521.  Photos were not allowed of the inside rooms or museum treasures.  Besides the vault area where the monarch’s lie in repose there are on display sculptures, tapestries, paintings and Isabella’s scepter, crown, chest, mirror and Ferdinand’s sword.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

In 1511 by order of King Fernando V this hospital was commissioned to be built.  It was constructed to give the common man a place for proper medical care and is still in use today.  It is called the Hospital Real.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

One of the positive aspects of being in a city with a younger population is that the food fare is often healthier.  This vegetable sandwich was made with beets, carrots, corn, lettuce and tomatoes.  When the cost of sugar became too expensive in Granada many years ago they turned to beet production.  Beets are therefore very important to the economy of Granada and found in many dishes.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Almost every major city in Spain has a bullring.  This is one of the largest with a seating capacity over 14,000.  It is still in use today as Granada hosts several bull fights a year.  It opened in 1928.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Granada is a mixture of architectural styles.  It seems as if no door or window is left unadorned, be it with wrought iron balconies, flower boxes or decorative carvings.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Cathedral of Granada.  Construction began in 1518 and took 181 years to be completed.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

A closer view of the main altar of the Cathedral of Granada.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

To give you some scale as to how high these columns were Mike is shown standing at the base of one of the columns.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is the tower in front of the Granada Science Museum.  The Science Park is a 70,000 square meter interactive museum which invites participation in order to understand environmental phenomena such as inertia, gravity and Archimedes’ principle.  I could not find any data as to when it opened.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

These are piononos, a dessert named after Pope Pius IX.  They are made with sweet roll, syrups and cream.  This is a dessert from this region of Spain.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Alhambra is not only the name of the local tourist attraction but also one of the local beers.  They have been making this beer since 1925.  It is made right in the city and the water comes from the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

While we never found any pomegranates to eat in the markets we did find the symbol in the oddest places scattered throughout the city.  Here is was on the light poles.  The name Granada actually means pomegranate. 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Here the pomegranate symbol was used as a barrier between the road and the sidewalk.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

And this statue was found in a local park depicting a water nymph on top of a pile of pomegranates.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Water fountains such as this were found scattered throughout the city.  The water coming forth was fresh and clear.  However I was worried about the water in the well portion and my fears were confirmed.  Just after Mike drank some of the water coming from the tap and then used some of the water from the well to rinse his face a man came up to the well; removed the leash from his dogs collar and the dog jumped completely into the well.  Mike returned to the hotel and promptly washed his hands and face.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

A view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  This is considered one of the best ski resorts in all of Europe.  There was still snow on the mountains even in early May.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The history of Granada goes back 2500 years.   It’s economy is derived from tourism, fishing, manufacturing, and higher education and its population base is mostly young.  It enjoys mostly a warm and dry climate all year.  This is a very easy city to navigate and the hop-on, hop-off bus ride takes just 90 minutes to drive you past the landmarks and the local attractions.  There are many cafes and restaurants to eat in and the tapas bars are plentiful.  It is said that Granada has more tapas bars than any other city in Spain per capita.

Granada is also home to gypsies who do more than dance Flamenco; scammers and pickpockets troll the city streets looking for their next victim, be they locals or tourists.  We were given several verbal warnings to be on the lookout for these folks and the types of flimflam they are perpetuating so we had our guard up at all times.  We did not let that stop us however from enjoying the city, and its vibe.  Our next exploration will be to the cities of Seville and Cordoba.  Maybe I’ll learn to dance Flamenco for my birthday…

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

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