Granada – The Albaicin

The Alhambra sits high on a hill – opposite, below, is the heart of the old Moorish city of Granada, the Albaicin. At night, you look up, and there on the ridge is the looming bulk of the great fortress and citadel – perhaps with the moon rising behind it.

The Alhambra by night

A warren of steep and crooked streets and alleyways, the Albaicin is bounded, at the foot of the Alhambra, by a winding stream and the ancient, cobbled Carrera del Darro. Narrow as it is, and thronged with sightseers, pedestrians, shopkeepers, buskers, taxis and cars nose through their way through it, and even buses. You squeeze yourself up against a wall, or back to the stone parapet overlooking the river, to allow the vehicles to go by – and then the throng closes like water over the gap they have created, and the busy human world goes back to its business again.

Along the Carrera del Darro are the inevitable Moorish baths, at El Banuelo, and museums – here, in this image, is one of those geometric water features, in a quiet courtyard, that seem to me the embodiment of stillness, perfection and an almost spiritual simplicity.

Fountain, El Banuelo

Start your exploration of Albaicin, I’d suggest, by following the winding path of the Carrera del Darro, then turn up the hill and follow your instincts.