Generalife and the Cathedral


We have previously talked about how Granada is a place of historical importance thanks in part to it being heavily influenced by Spanish-Islamic artists and architecture, including the amazing Alhambra and the Royal Chapel. Now we are turning our attention to two more awe-inspiring landmarks that Granada has to offer. Generalife was the summer palace and country estate of Nasrid rulers of the Emirate of Granada, and were built between 1032–1309 under the reign of Muhammad III before being redecorated by Abu I-Walid Isma’il between 1313–1324. It occupies the slopes of the Cerro del Sol hill, which is above the ravines of the Genil and Darro rivers and can be seen from various vantage points around the city. Like the Alhambra, Generalife was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984 by UNESCO.

When the palace was originally built, it featured a covered walkway across the ravine to the Alhambra, but this has since perished, but much of Generalife remains and it is one of the oldest surviving Moorish gardens in the world today. The current garden took 20 years to complete with Franscico Prieto Moreno starting work on them in 1931 and completing his project in 1951. The walkways of the Generalife gardens are paved with a mosaic of pebbles taken from the River Darro and the Revier Genil; back stones from Genil and white stones from Darro.

The Granada Cathedral is often called the Cathedral of the Incarnation, had its foundations laid in 1518 on top of the site of the city’s main mosque by Enrique Egas. Egas was replaced in 1529 by Diego de Siloe who spent almost four decades finishing the project from ground to cornice; the cathedral was finally completed in 1561. Several other architects were employed to make the cathedral even more grand and it would have been more spectacular had the two 81-metre towers being built, but the idea for those was shelved for various reasons, including the huge financial implications of completing such an ambitious task.

In its main chapel, the Cathedral of Granada features kneeling effigies of Isabel and Ferdinand, the Catholic King and Queen. These were created by artist Pedro de Mena y Medrano, while busts of Adam and Eve were made by Alonso Cano and are some of the most photographed pieces of art in Granada. Those of you who visit Granada’s Cathedral will discover it has five naves that cover the cross and it has a rectangular base because of this quintet of naves. Each of the naves is different in height, with the central one being the biggest. Head to the main chapel and you’ll discover a series of Corinthian columns and the vault which is the home to a series of intricate and delicate stained-glass windows. If religious history is something that piques your interest then you simply have to head to Granada and visit the likes of Generalife and the Granada Cathedral, you will certainly not regret it.