The Muslim Moors used to rule almost the entire Iberian Peninsula and even attacked up across the Pyrenees during their heyday. But a couple of centuries later the tide on the Muslim expansion had turned and the Moors were on the defensive in Spain. City after city fell to the Spanish Christian kings and the once great state were gradually reduced. With the fall of Cordoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248 the Muslim land was reduced to a small stipe of land in the south with Granada as the new capital.
Despite being the last holdout of the Muslim in Spain Granada was a backwater – on the contrary the city flourished growing into one of the biggest cities in Europe in the 14th and 15th century. The city had a great deal of religious freedom hence combined with the wealth of the city it managed to attract the best artist of the Iberian peninsula – not only the best Muslim artist but also the best Christian and Jewish artist came to Granada to beautify the city and the amazing Alhambra Palace on top of the city.
At the end of the 15th century there was a lot of infighting among the ruling family about the succession – so the city became an easy target for the Catholic rulers of Spain who at this time was reaching new heights. On the 2nd of January 1492 the kings of Spain finally manage to get inside the city of Granada retaking the rest of the Iberian Peninsula just a few months before Columbus made land fall in the Caribbean. When they took over the city they also made their mark of the city with a large Christian cathedral.
The city if full of history and it is a wonderful place to go and explore with many small streets and old houses around the old town. You can walk around the area of the cathedral with many old buildings in addition to the large and impressive cathedral.
When you gross over one of the main streets of Granada you reach the old Muslim neighborhood of Granada which is built on a hill opposite Alhambra. The old twisty street is nice to go and wonder with many old houses. When you make it further and further up the hill you finally can make it to a big garden and from here it is a short walk to a little square with many old houses – but the reason so many people make it to this square isn’t the old buildings but the amazing view of the Alhambra across the valley.
Heading down the hill you reach an area with a lot of different tapas bars – it is obvious the city get many tourist so the selection of tapas bars and places to have a drink in the old town is huge. Fortunately the quality of the tapas bars we went to was pretty good despite the large influx of one time guest – I guess the pride of the Spanish tapas chefs is so great they don’t just want to get by serve lousy food.