Clone of Granada City - San Juan de los Reyes

San Juan de los Reyes

by Lawrence Bohme

This is the longest street in the Albaicin, and was once a Roman road which led to the city of Guadix, on the northern side of the Sierra Nevada.

It is called de los Reyes, or "of the Monarchs", because its church dedicated to Saint John was the first mosque to be consecrated by the Monarchs, after they entered the city on January 2, 1492. Other mosques were larger and more prominent, but this one was the Mosque of the Converts, the place where generations of Christians had given up the faith of their forefathers and become Muslims, some willingly and others under pressure of different sorts.

The church's symbolic importance made it the chosen place for reconverting those neo-Muslims who longed to return to their original faith. As the French expression puts it, revenge is a dish we eat cold!

If we walk up the hill to view it from the other side, we see one of Granada's most priceless antiquities: the old minaret which serves as the bell tower, made under the Almohad dynasty in the 12th century. With its geometrical brickwork tracery, it is strikingly similar to the Giralda of Seville.