|Calderería Nueva is a delightful street in the Albaicin area of Granada.|
Albaicin Walking Tour
Although the Alhambra gave Granada its fame, it is far from being the most ancient monument of the city, for Granada was born on the hill on the opposite, western side of the valley, El Albaicin. After being used as a fortress by the Iberians and the Romans, it was chosen by the Zirid Dynasty in the 11th century as the center of their feifdom or "taifa". They later gave way to another North African tribe, the Almoravids, who were in turn displaced by the Almohads.
By the 13th century, the Christian conquests in northern Andalucia drove the warriors of the Nasrid dynasty south to Granada, where they seized power and soon built a new, larger palace on the eastern bank of the river, the Alhambra. The old Zirid fortress was slowly abandoned, leaving only the gates and remnants of walls which we see today among the Albaicin's honeycomb of streets.
As this map shows, El Albaicin is a labyrinth of secluded plazas, alleyways, mosques-rebuilt-as-churches and horseshoe-shaped gates. You can use the map to follow my expeditions through this ancient Moorish medina, which a 17th century poet described as "a paradise closed to many".