The Sacromonte without peteneras
This distant cousin of the Albaicín earns his tips at night, when the minibuses make virguerías at the wheel to be able to arrive and disembark to hordes of thirsty girneo guiris, caves and enea chairs. And yet, the Sacromonte has diurnal reasons to leave behind the San Nicolás viewpoint and to disorient among ravines, streets of lime and spelling mistakes. Come on, you don't need anyone to tear your shirt to feel it 'as it should.'
THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE OTHERS
Not even the most twisted designer-programmer of Mario Kart would imagine such a complex route to get here. If Carrera del Darro is closed, drivers have to manage to cross the Albaicin, beat the slope of Chapiz with the brakes screaming, turn where there is no room for a broom and take the Sacromonte road. In the 21st century it seems to remain that neighborhood left by the hand of God, from Allah or from the one who creates each one.
His story betrays him. Here nomadic gypsy tribes of Indian origin settled in the 16th century. It is also said that it was the home of those black slaves who abandoned their Nasrid lords when Boadbil 'The Boy' cried handing over the keys to Granada, some in search of freedom, others in search of the treasure that was said to be among the hidden olive trees. The fact is that its ravines and natural caves served to welcome the other Grenadians. From there to the present day.
Recent decades speak of improvised street tablaos on the fly to impress tourists, of Eighties apogee, of ninety nightclubs and bad naval fame. Also of gypsies who have taken advantage of their flamenco veins to turn everything into a destination for tourists when night falls, with shows with the fluted elf and heels on insurance.
However, getting to him still has that little point of anthropologist adventure, that feeling that he is not in Granada, or that it is another Granada, or that Granada has grown behind the Valparaíso valley and from Darro's throat. A totally white, twisted and surprising suburb of the suburb.
Looking at the Sacromonte is a show © Corbis
THE FINDING OF THE ABBEY
The last eastern end of Granada is this abbey that sits at the top of the Sacromonte, as if he wanted to rule the rest of the ravines by sight. A somewhat pharaonic work, disproportionate and discouraged that in the end becomes a pleasant surprise for the few visitors who do not succumb to the previous stops of the regular minibus lines. The welcome is a brick arch seen that preludes a large facade with similar characteristics.
An impressive complex that rose in the seventeenth century, taking advantage of the turmoil and fervor that produced the findings of the remains of two martyrs and the Sacromonte Plúmbeos Books, false gospels that tried to combine Moorish beliefs with Christianity. In his day it was thought that they were true, that they had been revealed by the very virgin, nothing more and nothing less.
All this religious fever led to what can be enjoyed today: a set that wanted to be the southern Escorial where no monastic room is missing and that has as a differentiating element the Holy Caves, some cavities converted into chapels where, according to popular Christian tradition, San Cecilio, San Tesifón and San Hisicio were martyred. It is even said that in one of them, in Santiago, the apostle celebrated the first mass in Spain and that the virgin appeared here (rather than in Zaragoza). Legends and beliefs apart, the Abbey is enjoyed for being a true megalomaniac pot and for having a museum that, since 2010, shows a series of works by artists who lived in Granada as well as a series of incunabula and quite curious codices.
Sacromonte: pure flamenco art © Corbis
THE ALHAMBRA + GRANADA
Turning your back on the abbey allows you to discover a view that never bores. The Alhambra is further away, stronger and, above all, most owner of her city. And this is the only point from which you can enjoy both jewels, the Alcazaba and Cathedral, Generalife and skyscrapers. It is not that it makes shade at sunset from San Nicolás, but it does allow this 2X1 with which it is understood that the Nasrid kingdom I wasn't just looking for postcards with the Mulhacén in the background, but dominate a fertile valley and dazzle the enemy with its aesthetic and military power.
CROSSES AND MACETS
The return to the Way reveals a reality: the Sacromonte, by day, it's almost a ghost neighborhood. Few people live in it and to walk it sometimes is to live with emptiness and silence. However, this climate does not diminish the spectacular. The hermitage of the Holy Sepulcher and its Via Crucis are imposed as mandatory stops and photographic elements in this calm environment that some can interpret as spiritual and others as malrrollero. Luckily, life appears with joy in other corners as in the Casa de la Sevillana, a homemade monument that stands out for being an isolated construction where the Vacui horror It is shown with dozens of pots hanging on its facade.
A new icon that its owners have taken with some joy, suggesting a tip for photographing it and even selling cold drinks by the window (with a sign with so many spelling mistakes that it looks like another language).
Views of the Alhambra from the Sacromonte © Corbis
A LIFE UNDER EARTH
In addition to the holy caves and those of the revelry, the Sacromonte treasures an informative space dedicated to the rock life of its neighbors, a lifestyle that seems primitive but that was in vogue until the seventies. He Sacromonte Caves Museum Its main objective is to show everyone how this neighborhood was a few decades ago and how its inhabitants had managed to live, work and enjoy in the underground cavities. Touring its different rooms, the visitor finds curious rooms won to the rock as well as artisan workshops, stables and even forges.
A visit that is worth it to return to the origins, discover how they managed the others and better understand the culture that was being generated here. Without leaving the top of the ravine the Manolete International Flamenco School and its auditorium 'La chumbera', probably the cultural space with the best views of the world.
Caves in the Sacromonte © Corbis
BY SEE IN THE MIDDLE
Everyday life is touched with the fingers to go zigzagging through the ravines that form the Sacromonte, leaving the asphalt and stepping on the cobblestone. To discover your current day to day, it is best to walk through the Middle area, a pedestrian alley that overcomes each rambla and that gives away, in its path, beautiful distant views and 100% native corners. Small squares as the source of the poppy and its tiled verses or the Nasrid walls.
Places that could be before yesterday, but to which the today they don't feel so bad. La Verea leads to the Albaicín, which is reached by accident and which is discovered thanks to the greater noise. Of course, suddenly appear in places like Aliatar no shame ...
In Sacromonte, everyday life is touched with the fingers when zigzagging © Javier Zori del Amo
THE 'GOODBYE' OF CHORROJUMO
Saying goodbye to this neighborhood along the Sacromonte Way is to exchange the beauty of the routine with that of civil art. In its confluence with the slope of the Chapiz, interesting places accumulate like Carmen de la Victoria, a typical estate of the suburbs that is characterized by its beautiful orchard. Also noteworthy are the houses of Chapiz, two 16th-century buildings built on an old Nasrid palace that today houses Arab study schools.
The statue of Squirt, a character chaste and extravagant of the nineteenth century that called itself king of the gypsies and that was dedicated to trick the tourists of then with stories of the Alhambra, says goodbye this walk by the wildest and most authentic pomegranate. It would be hard to find a better goodbye.
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Sacromonte neighborhood © Corbis