Santa Fé is an unassuming town just 11 kilometres west of Granada City with a population of approximately 14,000. While it may not at first appear to be the most remarkable destination in Andalusia compared to the many pretty villages, towns and cities, it played a key role in Spain’s history. Santa Fé began as the encampment set up by the Catholic Kings at the end of the 15 th century, when the siege of Granada commenced. In 1481, out of the army camp grew an imposing town of bricks and mortar within a record time of just 80 days. The structure of the town follows the form of a cross based around two roads that cross at the centre.
The speed of the construction and the very name, Santa Fé (Fé referring to the Catholic faith), were both means used by the Christians to transmit to the Muslims the symbolic strength, faith and determination to win back Granada. The protective wall and moat added around the town provided security and was another defiant move to demonstrate their supremacy to the Arabs.
The sight of the massive powerhouse emerging out of the dust went a long way to convincing the besieged Moors that the Christians meant business and the surrender treaty was signed in January 1492. Another important historical event that took place in Santa Fé was the agreement reached between the Catholic Kings and Christopher Columbus to finance the great voyage to the East Indies.
Although the municipality of Santa Fé still has an agricultural background, in more recent years it has become an important dormitory town for many people who work in Granada. Architecturally speaking, although none of the original towers and walls are there, an important reminder of the dramatic historic past still stand in the form of the three of the four famous walled gates which were erected around the original royal infantry town.
Places of Interest
- The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación dates back to the 18th century and is built in the neoclassic style. It is constructed on the site where the Catholic Kings built the original church, which was destroyed during an earthquake.
- Three of the four monumental gates that were built around the camp still stand open. They are named Loja, Granda and Sevilla. The fourth gate (which was named, Jaén) is no longer there. In the 18 th Century the three gates had to be more or less rebuilt and chapels were added on, which have important baroque style features. Francisco, the brother of the famous poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca, apparently once said “how many times on our way to and from Granada did we pass through those walled gates in our mule cart”. Indeed recent historical research has revealed that there was a marriage union between Lorca’s ancestors and the well-known family of Santa Fé. Lorca was born just a few kilometers away in the village of Fuente Vaqueros on the 5 th June 1898.
- The Hermitage of Cristo de la Salud dates to the end of the 15 th Century and was built by Galician soldiers who fought in the battle of Granada.
- What is today the Town Hall and Tourist Office was once the public granary. It is worth taking a look at this neo-Mudejar building.
- Santa Fé also has strong connections with several Hispano American cities, due to the many cultural events tied up with the connection with the Discovery of America.
- La Cruz de Mayo (May Cross) is a much celebrated festival in Santa Fé, when crosses are beautifully decorated with flowers and put on public display.
- Santa Catalina, is a fiesta celebrated on the 25 th November, when the people of Santa Fé go into the countryside in groups of friends and families and join together for a picnic lunch.
Where to Eat in Santa Fé
There are many excellent bars and restaurants in the town of Santa Fé, including the following:
- La Baculilla: If you like meat, this is an excellent choice for grilled meats. Avenida Hispanidad, 18. Tel 958 442 449
- El Pescaíto: For those who prefer fish and sea food, this restaurant serves fine fish dishes. Castillo, 7. Tel: 958 510 200
- Alexis Viernes: For a wide range of international dishes. Ctra. Atarfe Km 1. Tel: 958 440 226
If you are passing through or looking for something special, you might try the Restaurante La Pulga. This brightly lit, modern restaurant was founded in 1965 and was moved to its present situation in the Hotel Capitulaciones in 2004. It serves established, traditional dishes, using natural local produce, fresh every day. They offer home made stews, fresh fish and shell fish, grilled meats, lamb, ox tail, etc. Deserts are home made and delicious. They also have large rooms for hire for special celebrations. Take the A-92 from Malaga and take the Santa Fé turn off. Carry on the A-392 until you reach the traffic light. Turn back towards Malaga and just after the Atarfe turn off, you will see the hotel and restaurant on the right.
Carretera de Malaga Km 442.5
18320 Santa Fé (Granada)
Tel/Fax : 958 440 229
Hotel: 958 513 360 (ask for the restaurant)
Where to stay in Santa Fé
The Hotel Capitulaciones is a conveniently situated modern hotel very close to the A92 motorway, just 10 kilometres from Granada and about 40 minutes drive from the Sierra Nevada Ski station. It is also just 3 kilometres from the Granada Airport. It has 93 rooms, all with Satellite TV, en suite bathroom, phone and internet connection. The price of a double room is approximately 120 euros and singles approximately 96 (plus IVA tax).
Tel: 958 513 360
For further information on Santa Fé, contact the tourist office or the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall):
Ayuntamiento de Santa Fé
Plaza de España, 4
18320 Santa Fé (Granada)
Tel: 958 440 000