Granada Province - Viznar

Typical house in Víznar

This town in the Sierra de Alfaguara, just outside Granada itself, is the highest in the area, at an altitude of 1050m. Its cooler climate and proximity to the regional capital has made it a favourite location for summer residences of Granada's well-heeled.

Viznar was also where the 18th-century Archbishop of Granada, Don Jose Manuel Mososco y Peralta, decided to build his summer palace in 1780. Archbishop Mososco was born in Arequipa in Peru, and named his impressive neoclassical mansion after his native land's capital city, of which he was also Archbishop. Palacio de Cuzco, built in 1795, has an Italianate garden, one wall of which carries depictions of scenes from Don Quixote, of which the Peruvian prelate was a keen scholar.

The town's parish church, which is attached to the Archbishop's palace, dates from the 16th century, part of the post-reconquest Kingdom of Granada.

The town is probably most famous as the site of the notorious murder of famous Spanish poet and playwright, Federico Garcia Lorca, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The actual spot is 3km outside the village on the road to Alfacar, although a recent excavation, part of the Law of Historical Memory which seeks to recover bodies of Civil War victims, found that his body was not buried where previously supposed.

Viznar has an ethnological museum housed in a restored olive mill, complete with tools and implements used in traditional farming and olive oil production. An even more long-standing reminder of the area's agricultural history is the Acequia de Aynadamar, a stone irrigation channel which dates from as far back as the 11th century when the Arabs built a sophisticated watering system throughout this part of Andalucia, especially in the Alpujarras. Much of this network remains in place, some of it still functioning to this day.

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This particular acequia was ordered by Abd-Allah to supply water from nearby Alfacar's 'Fuente Grande' all the way to the Albaicin in Granada, watering the carmens, with their vines, olive trees and other plants, along its route. In fact, the town was originally founded by the Moors as result of the acequia's construction. Now the ancient waterway only exists in part of its original route, as far as El Fargue, thanks to a reconstruction project in 1994.

Viznar is close to the Parque Natural de la Sierra de Huetor, with its ravines, cliffs and caves, such as the Cueva del Agua. You can find out more about the park at the visitor centre in Puerto de Lobo, near Viznar, which features an area with some native animals. You can also follow the Camino de los Molinos (Mills Route), looking at old windmills, mostly used for milling flour, which go by such enchanting names as Tia Maria (Aunt Mary) and Las Cacheras (the coarse wool ropes with long fibres).

Fiestas include the day of the town's male patron saint, San Blas, celebrated on 3 February with roscas, followed the next day by the Entierro de la Zorra (Burial of the Vixen, a symbol of evil), when residents feast on winter salad of preserved tomatoes, black olives, onions, cod and tuna. Viznar's female patron saint is the Virgen del Pilar, and her feast day is 12 October and sees hunters, whose patron saint she is, firing their guns during the procession.

Visitors to Viznar can buy local Fajalauza pottery, typical of the Albaicin (the ceramics are named after the medieval gate in Granada where the potters' workshops have been located since Moorish times; fajalauza translates as 'almond grove'). Fajalauza pieces are decorated with pomegranates (granadas), birds and floral designs in blue, green and white. Local cuisine includes various types of homemade bread, sheep's hooves and tortilla de colleja (a wild green-leaved plant).

Viznar is 7km north-east of Granada. Take the A92, leaving at exit 250. Then take the GR-NE 53; alteratively take the N342.