A map of Granada
Granada has a population of 300,000 people - a university city with many international students.
It is 630m above sea level, and situated just at the point where the Sierra Nevada mountains meet the fertile plain of the Vega. Behind are steep mountains and in front flat agricultural land. There is always a supply of water coming from the mountains from melting snow, and the rich soil in the Vega provided for agriculture and settlements as early as the Bronze Age.
Granada is a city with ancient history and modern style. The Alhambra is considered by some to be one of the 10 wonders of the world. It consists of a castle constructed over many centuries, including gardens, fortifications and sumptuous palaces. It was the home of many of the Arab Sultans who ruled the whole province and represents an artistic peak in interior decoration and architecture. The Koran suggests that heaven is a garden with running water, and the Alhambra is an Arabic attempt to create heaven on earth. It is Spain's most visited monument with 8000 visitors per day.
The Albaicín, the old Arabic quarter on the hill opposite the Alhambra, with cobble-stoned streets and white-washed houses, still has a strong Arabic feel. There are many squares with terraces and places to relax and have a bite to eat. The Albaicín is an oil painter's paradise with every turn an attractive view. Go to Mirador de San Nicolas for a brilliant scene of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada.
Moclin is one of the fortified villages and towns on the Caliphate Route between Granada and Corboba with its wonderful Mosque (begun in 786 AD). Nestling in the Sierra del Marques, Moclin guards the road leading from Alcala la Real (15km north) to the fertile plains of Granada. The route was used by the Moorish Caliphs between Cordoba and the Palace of the Alhambra in ranada.Today the route is the N432 road from Granada to Cordoba and you can follow the Caliph’s footsteps as they rode north to Cordoba.
Every year there is a pilgrimage to the shrine of El Cristo del Paño, in the castle town of Moclin. This famous painting of Christ bearing the cross is believed to heal aged people of their cataracts (el paño, or the cloth, is the popular name for this condition, which "veils" one’s sight). Touching the painting is also supposed to make childless women fertile, and the miracle is mentioned in Lorca’s tragic play ‘Barren’. This is on the 6th October every year when 30,000 people visit the town, bars open in village houses, and stalls of all kinds appear everywhere.