Climbing the Alhacaba hill and following the walls of the alcazaba Cadima, one reaches plaza Larga and the arco de las Pesas. From here on, one of the visitors pleasures is to become lost in the neighbourhoods labyrinthine streets, without forgetting a few points of interest. Like the mirador de San Crístobal, next to the church with the same name, with a magnificent view over the vega, Sierra Nevada, the alcazaba Cadima and DaralHorra. Or the church of Salvador, once the medina of the ancient mosque, which still preserves its patio of ablutions. A little further up, we find the more intimate Albaicín, absorbed in itself and eternal: this is the area of San Luis street, Fajalauza, Cruz de Rauda, the lane of Pinchos already close to Sacromonte
A visit to San Nicolás is a real must, evidence of the Catholic Monarchs systematic operations: to substitute mosques for churches in order to Christianize a mysteriously distant community. Having said that, the famous view of the Alhambra from the plaza may not grant much time for historic meditations on the conquest.
Walking down from the mirador towards the plaza de San Miguel bajo we come across the Max Moreau CarmenMuseum, an opportunity not only to discover the private world and fascinating personality of this highly versatile artist but also as a way to become familiar with a carmen, a typical house found in the Albaicín.
The convent of Santa Isabel la Real, en route to the plaza of San Miguel is one of the Albaicíns best kept secrets. This convent of the Order of Saint Clare was founded by Queen Isabel in the early 16th century and can be accessed by a gateway which hides it from the road. The gates decoration is reminiscent of the Capilla Real, while its strikingly high altar encourages the viewer to contemplate the ceilings mudéjar framework with its Plateresque decoration.
Now in the plaza of San Miguel Bajo, visit the church dedicated to the former and closeby take a walk down a tiny alley leading to the DaralHorra´s Palace, an example of domestic Morisco architecture, the palace was lived in by the mother of Boabdil.
In the same plaza, the mirador de la Lona grants us another splendid view: the Gran Vía, railway station and, above all, the Elvira mountains on the skirts of which the ancient city was established. In the direction of the calle San Juan de los Reyes, one now passes the church of San José, what was once possibly the oldest mosque in Granada. The placeta de Carvajales, very near, offers beautiful views of the Alhambra. From here, you will inevitably arrive at San Gregorio and calle Calderería, in this street while you sip a glass of tea or hear the call to prayer from the nearby mosque, it is tempting to contemplate the capricious nature of history.
Crossing the path that leads from the abbey to the whole of 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 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 Córdovas palace which houses the city archives, and the paseo de los Tristes. There, below the Alhambra hill, a modest square fills with people, sitting at candlelit tables into the small hours of the night. Here, one is free to do what one pleases though most come to flee from the city heat on summer nights or hunt for the midday sun in winter.
Following the river along the Carrera del Darro, in the direction of plaza Nueva, one comes across the church of San Pedro and San Pablo, the convent of Santa Catalina de Zafra, founded in 1520, which preserves the casa morisca de Zafra from the 14th century.
Close by, el Bañuelo, it seems likely that it was built on the mosque of these baths, which are some of the oldest surviving in Spain. On the other shore, the remains of the Cadí´s bridge. Next door, note the interesting facade of the casa de Castril, a beautiful 16th century palace which at present houses Granadas 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 finest facades in Granada, both in its proportions as in the distribution of its features. Started in 1501 and completed in 1562, it is real masterpiece of mudéjar architecture.
However the building which best characterizes plaza Nueva is the Royal Chancery 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.