View of Plaza Nueva from the central apartments.
The image above is very useful for understanding the layout of Granada. Plaza Nueva is considered to be the absolute centre of Granada from a tourist point of view. The tower on the right of the the photo is the Torre de la Vela which is a big tower in the Alhambra. On the right between the two buildings is the Cuesta Gomeres which is a hill which goes up to the Alhambra. Just in front of that are the bus stops for the C30 and C32 minibuses which will take you to lots of interesting places in Granada. On the left is the Albayzin district. In the valley between the Alhambra and the Albayzin runs the River Darro which is very picturesque Right in the distance straight ahead is the Sacromonte neighbourhood. There is a taxi rank underneath the trees. The picture is taken from the start of the Calle Elvira famous for its lively night life.
Tapas bars around Plaza Nueva
History and info about Plaza Nueva
Bars and restaurants around Plaza Nueva
See more photos of Plaza Nueva.
See map of Plaza Nueva
Get to Plaza Nueva on the bus More info
The nearest hotels to Plaza Nueva More info
The Albaicin is a “barrio” (a neighbourhood) of Granada which has been built on a hill opposite the Alhambra. The layout came about when Granada was ruled by the Arabs long before the advent of cars so the streets form a narrow cobblestoned maze interspersed with small squares. The geranium filled balconies, glimpses of the Alhambra at every turn, the silence and the sound of running water in numerous fountains all give the Albayzin a romantic slightly enchanted atmosphere.
San Miguel Bajo
There are lots of squares in the Albaicín perfect for al fresco dining, people watching and generally chilling out hopefully with some good company. The photo above shows San Miguel Bajo but there are many more squares with open-air restaurants such as Plaza Larga, Paseo de los Tristes, Plaza San Nicolas etc.
The photo above shows the stones which cover the streets of the Albayzin. Car access is difficult or impossible in the labyrinth of streets. This can make building work difficult because it is difficult to transport the materials. It was possible to hire a man with a donkey to bring sand but sadly the last donkey powered haulage contractor retired in 2002. Comfortable footwear is necessary in the Albayzín, wearing high heels would be a big mistake.
Plaza Larga on market day
The Albayzin is not just a tourist attraction. In the photo above we can see Plaza Larga on market day. Many of the geraniums on the balconies are bought here. There are normally a couple of gypsies selling live snails from a bucket.
How to get to the Albaicín ?
The C30 and C32 minibus do a constant loop of the Albayzin and they pass by every 15 minutes or so. The most popular alighting point is Plaza Nueva.
What to do in the Albaicín ?
The Albaicin is all about eating out in restaurants and wandering around. An example of a good plan would be to get the minibus to Mirador de San Nicolas which has an amazing view of the Alhambra, then go and eat in an outside restaurant. Then afterwards just wander about without a map and see where you end up
Where to stay in the Albaicín ?
Granadainfo.com have a large selection of places to stay. Accommodation in Granada
More photos of the Albayzin
Walking routes in the Albaicin
Restaurants and other establishments in the Albayzin
Map of the Albayzin
Torre de la Vela Granada - From here you can see the whole of Granada
Here are some links to information about monuments and places in Granada.
MONUMENTS AND PLACES
This is now taken up with souvenir shops but it was once a great bazaar where silk was made and sold. Alcaicería literally means either the “house of Caesar” or “belonging to Caesar” in recognition of the fact that Emperor Justinian granted the Moors permission to sell silk. Traditionally these bazaars were situated in the centre of a city, with inns where the merchants could stay, and with gates at all the entrances to guard against looting and which were closed at night. The narrow streets inside were then patrolled by watchmen.
On the night of the 19th July 1843, a fire broke out in one of the shops making matches in nearby Calle Mesones and consequently the entire original bazaar burned down. It was soon rebuilt but never regained its importance as a bazaar.
I was really excited to find an olive cooperative where they press the olives using traditional methods to make the oil. The oil has a fuller, fruitier taste than other virgin olive oils but is fantastic. We had taken most of our olives from this year’s harvest to the normal cooperative but just found this one in time so that we could take the last load of olives there. Because of the rain, we weren’t able to finish picking all the olives but hopefully they will still be on the trees next time we go up and we can take them here. Here are some pictures of the cooperative with a brief explanation:
You park on the right of the grid and pour your olives through it.
You then use a broom to sweep through any that are stuck on the rungs.
The olives don’t need to be cleaned before they are put through and twigs and leaves are removed in the next stage.
The olives are taken up from the pit by the first conveyor belt and air is blown through them to remove the leaves and twigs.
The clean olives then travel on a second conveyor belt to a third which takes them up further and then drops them into the green weighing hopper. The ones in the picture are actually our olives – all picked by hand that day.
Unfortunately the day we went it had been raining so the weighing scales weren’t working as they should have been and our olives only weighed in at 1kg – a bit disappointing. However, having unloaded them by hand and put them through again it was a relief to see the correct weight on the scales – 370kg.
The next stage of the process goes on inside the building where the olives are milled and pressed. During the milling, the olives are passed through three rotating millstones to produce a sludgy mixture. This is then “iced” thickly onto plastic raffia mats.
The mats are threaded onto a pole which is then inserted into a press. By means of a system of chains and pulleys, the press compresses the mats upwards and oil comes out through a tap at the bottom of the press.
The subsequent bottling process takes another six months. Our oil should be ready in June and I’m looking forward to trying it.
This blog is about SANTA CASILDA olive oil factory located between Darro and Diezma on the road between Granada and Guadix.
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