We had to revisit this beautiful and diverse city named for the pomegranate – reminders of which can be found all over in the form of mosaics, paintings, engravings, etc. We chose not to visit the Alhambra this time (we’ve been before), but to take a walking tour of Albaicin and learn about the history of the region.
Briefly, the first muslims arrived in Spain in the 8th century, with noblemen from Arabia and armies of berbers. Albaicin is the site of a Moorish settlement from the early 1000s and the time of the Zirid kingdom – some sections of the citadel wall of that time remain. In the 1200s the Nasrid palaces of the Alhambra were built.
In December 1499, Albaicin become the boiling point of rebellion triggered by the forced conversions of the Muslim population to Christianity. Many of the churches in the district have since been converted from mosques with the bell towers modified from the minarets. Evidence of Moorish architecture and their stunning craftsmanship is found throughout.
The skylights in this 11th century hammam were originally colored glass and one can only imagine how the baths must have been when tiled.
From the steep and winding alleys of Albaicin there are magnificent views of the Alhambra and the snow capped Sierra Nevadas in the background.