‘A step back into middle eastern time in the Arab quarter of Granada, The Albaycin’
The Albaycin is the old Arab Quarter that is a hillside section of Granada on the opposite side to the Alhambra. By far, this was the most beautiful section of Granada dating back to the 11th century, because of the strong Muslim influence in the area. This region used to by filled with luxurious carmenes (rustic house with grape vine filled gardens) and public baths. When you walk around and peak through houses iron gates, you discover beautiful hidden garden, decorated walls with mosaic plates and hundreds of year old draping of vines. The character and historic quarter shows many of stories within its cobbled streets and squares and it is best seen, by roaming around.
Make your way up to the hilltop and enjoy the stunning views of the Alhambra and if you are there for sunset, it fills up with locals gathering for beers and various street musicians as the sun starts to turn red. The Albayzin region has a street dedicated to cinnamon lingering tearooms draped in Arab fabrics which set you straight back in Middle Eastern time. One morning we came to enjoy a typical Arabian tea made from milk, cardamom and cinnamon, what we often had in Dubai.
For centuries, Granada is a city of passing cultures that have all left imprints behind, just like in many other Andalucían cities. Again, there is a heavy Moorish influence here as they ruled in the 10th century, which is easily seen in the architecture. There is a mixture of typical catholic towering cathedral spires combined on top of something that looks more like a mosque, showing how they built on top during different eras of rule.
You get to experience the whimsical spell of Albayzin either early morning or late afternoon when the sky slowly starts falling into a saturated golden hour. I loved the morning because it was so peaceful to walk around, stop for some Arabic coffees and soak in the beauty of the old architecture. All the colourful flowers stood still with time and a gentle guitar play in the background as a local sat playing in the corner.
Read more about the Alhambra palace from here.