Granada is the capital city of the province of the same name, in the southeast of Spain, between the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the interior of Andalusia. The city is situated at the foot of Sierra Nevada, the highest rank of the mountain of the Iberian Peninsula, at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level. However it is only forty minutes drive from the Mediterranean coast, the Tropical coast, so it is possible to ski and sunbathe on the beach on the same day. Granada is 133 km from Malaga, 264 km from Seville and 421 km from Madrid, approximately 400 km from Portugal and 883 km from Barcelona.
With more than a thousand years of recorded history, Granada is one of the most important cultural and architectural heritage of Spain. In addition to the Alhambra and the historical Moorish quarter Albaicin, both designated as Patrimony of Humanity by the UNESCO, Granada boasts a Renaissance cathedral dating from the 16th century and many other architectural monuments of the first magnitude.
The city has been inhabited from the dawn of history. Phoenicians, Carthagenians, Greeks and Romans have lived in this city. In the 8th century, nearly all the Iberian Peninsula was conquered (711-718) by the Muslim armies from North Africa. Córdoba, the capital of the caliphate, was the largest, richest and most sophisticated city of medieval Western Europe. However, in the 11th century, the Muslim territory was fractured into rival Taifa kingdoms. With the arrival of the Zirid dynasty in 1013, Granada became the independent Emirate Taifa of Granada and then, in 1238, the Kingdom of Granada. Important monuments of this period have survived to the present day: the Alhambra, the Generalife, the Albayzin, Arab baths.
On January 2, 1492, the last Muslim leader, Muhammad XII known as Boabdil to the Spanish people, surrendered complete control of Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella, "The Catholic Monarchs", after the city had been besieged. It is one of the most significant events in Granada's history. At the same time Christopher Columbus arrived in Granada to ask Isabella and Ferdinand for money to build ships, which made possible to conquer the Americas. The further colonization led to the creation of the Spanish Empire, the largest empire in the world at that time. Over the course of the sixteenth century, Granada took on an ever more Christian and Castilian character, as immigrants flocked to the city from other parts of the Iberian Peninsula.
There are many important Moorish and Catholic architectural sites in Granada: The Alhambra and Generalife, the Palace of Charles V, the Granada Cathedral and the Royal Chapel with the tombs of Isabella and Ferdinand, the Catholic Monarchs. The Albayzin is the ancient Arab quarter, containing many original houses from the 16th century.
The Universidad de Granada, founded in 1531, continues a long teaching tradition, the roots of which can be traced back to the madrasahs of the last Nasrid Kingdom. The University is a vibrant presence in the city of Granada, benefiting from the distinctive beauty of its environment and a privileged geographical location. In Granada, there are four University Campuses, as well as the “Campus Centro”, which comprises all the faculties that had previously been spread throughout the historic part of the city. The UGR's policy of using buildings of historical and cultural value has enriched its heritage; it also has promoted the restoration and maintenance of these buildings. In addition to this emphasis on more traditional elements, the Health Science Technological Park, which is still being developed, demonstrates our strong commitment with innovation by promoting interaction with technological bio-health companies and favouring high-quality healthcare and biomedical knowledge.
September is possibly one of the best months to visit Granada. The average temperature ranges between 29 º C maximum and 14 ºC minimum. The climate is dry, with an average of 3 or 4 days per month of rainfall. It is possible to have some thunderstorms in September. Spanish weather forecast (also in English) is available at the web site www.aemet.es.
Granada, a city of 300,000 people, not only enjoys a wealth of heritage and history but a living reality and present with a multitude of cultural and social activities. The University was founded in the early sixteenth century, and the students create a lively, youthful atmosphere. Granada is a multicultural meeting place, a space open to welcoming visitors from all the corners of the world.
The local currency in Spain is the Euro. Visitors coming from European or other countries with a different currency are encouraged to exchange funds to Euros in their home countries, at the airport on arrival, or at local bank. Regular banking hours are from 8.30 am to 1.30 pm hrs Monday to Friday. Most major credit cards are honoured in hotels as well as in most restaurants and other commercial establishments.
It is possible to find a variety of European and non European cuisines in Granada. Although perhaps not the most outstanding feature of local cooking, the tapas served free in all the province's bars to wash down with a glass of wine or a beer are a tasty symbol of Granada, stimulating the senses and getting immediately carved in the visitors memory. As miniature cooking, tapas are the most informal yet varied and tasty way to have lunch or dinner out.
Most shops in Granada are generally open from 9 am to 8.30 pm Monday to Saturday. In all the big shopping centres major credit cards are accepted and your shopping will be tax free.