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Spring Break: Granada Edition

                                                                       View of Granada from the back of Alhambra (Courtesy of Yumeng Ren)

At the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies Granada, a city in southern Spain, known for its splendid architecture dating back to the Middle Ages. Beyond Sierra Nevada flows the water in Alboran Sea, whispering the legends of Al-Andalus, a historical coexistence of Muslim, Jewish and Catholic traditions in the city of Granada.

1.Tour around the city

                                                                       Night scene of Granada from Alhambra. (Courtesy of Yumeng Ren)

Wandering through the maze-like alleys, people from all over the world are experiencing the peacefulness and diversity of the culture here in this Mediterranean city. On sunny days, street musicians play guitar and Arabic musical instruments on plazas, accompanied by bell rings from the Catholic churches. On rainy days, people run to local restaurants, asking for Moroccan tea and tapas. At night, Flamenco shows in small theaters with clangorous stamps strike audience’s hearts, and bars are filled with young foreign students studying in universities in Granada.

                                 Street view of Calle de Antequeruela Alta, a road leading to Alhambra from the city center. (Courtesy of Yumeng Ren)

                                                               Moroccan tea in Granada with a sweet, mint-like taste. (Courtesy of Yumeng Ren)

                                                                                        Garden in Alhambra (Courtesy of Yumeng Ren)

            Musician is playing Flamenco music on Plaza Victoria, Granada. His dog took a nap beside him in the warm sunshine. (Courtesy of Yumeng Ren)

Under the prosperity of this famous touristic city, various cultures struggle, converge and collide with each other, condensed in the mosque-turned cathedral Alhambra, the only mosque--Mezquita de Granada allowed to be built in the past 300 years, the “little Morocco” community Albayzin and Granada Cathedral in city center.

2. History and religion in Granada

Once the last strongly-held city of Moor, an empire which had ruled Spain for about 1,000 years, and a home which some Muslim and Jewish residents could never come back to after “the Reconquista” in 1492, Granada now is a very Catholic city, but with a considerable number of Muslims who work in businesses, like restaurants and souvenir shops, who are mainly from Morocco. And less than 300 Jewish residents reside there, because of the prosecution and expulsion of Jewish people after Catholic ruled Granada.

                                                                  The main chapel of Granada Cathedral at the city center (Courtesy of Yumeng Ren)

Local people are worried about the rush-in of Muslims from North African countries like Morocco, since they have fear that the Muslims would take back their previous land and past glory. So, they take actions to oppress Islamic religious practice, including preventing them from building mosques and public prayer. Also, some Muslim women said that they are discriminated against and laid off from work because they wear hijabs.

However, some Muslim students from Morocco and businessmen think they can freely practice their religion in Granada and see no discrimination. Even the Islamic religion identity allows them to attract tourists as a substantial part of the colorful culture of Granada.

Two Muslim shop owners originally from Morocco pose in front of the camera with their friend in a street of Albayzin. It was 8:30 p.m. and they still welcomed                                                                               tourists here in Granada. (Courtesy of Yumeng Ren)


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