Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of four rivers, the Beiro, the Darro, the Genil and the Monachil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea level, yet is only one hour by car from the Mediterranean coast, the Costa Tropical. Nearby is the Sierra Nevada Ski Station.
In the 2005 national census, the population of the city of Granada proper was 236,982, and the population of the entire urban area was estimated to be 472,638, ranking as the 13th-largest urban area of Spain. Its nearest airport is Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport.
The Alhambra, a Moorish citadel and palace, is in Granada. It is the most renowned building of the Andalusian Islamic historical legacy with its many cultural attractions that make Granada a popular destination among the touristic cities of Spain. The Almohad influence on architecture is preserved in the area of the city called the Albaicín with its fine examples of Moorish and Morisco construction. Granada is also well-known within Spain for the prestigious University of Granada which has about 80,000 students spread over five different campuses in the city. The pomegranate (in Spanish, granada) is the heraldic device of Granada.
Realejo was the Jewish district at the time of the Nasride Granada. The Jewish population was so important that Granada was known from the Al-Andalus Country under the name of Granada de los judios (in Arabic, غرناطة اليهود gharnāṭah al-yahūd). It is today a district made up of many Andalusian villas, with gardens opening onto the streets, called Los Carmenes.
This district contains the Carthusian monastery of the same name: Cartuja. This is an old monastery started in a late Gothic style with Baroque exuberant interior decorations. In this district also, many buildings were created with the extension of the University of Granada.
The toponym existed at the time of the Arabs. Nowadays, Bib-Rambla is a high point for gastronomy, especially in its terraces of restaurants, open on beautiful days. The Arab bazaar (Alcaicería) is made up of several narrow streets, which start from this place and continue as far as the cathedral
Main article: Sacromonte
The Sacromonte neighborhood is located on the extension of the hill of Albaicín, along the Darro River. This area, which became famous by the nineteenth century for its predominantly Gitano inhabitants, is characterized by cave houses, which are dug into the hillside. The area has a reputation as a major center of flamenco song and dance, including the Zambra Gitana, Andalusian dance originating in the Middle East. The zone is a protected cultural environment under the auspices of the Centro de Interpretación del Sacromonte, a cultural center dedicated to the preservation of Gitano cultural forms.
Main article: Albayzín
Albayzín (also written as Albaicín), located on a hill on the right bank of the river Darro, is the ancient Moorish quarter of the city and transports the visitor to a unique world: the site of the ancient city of Elvira, so-called before the Zirid Moors renamed it Granada. It housed the artists who went up to build the palaces of Alhambra on the hill facing it. Time allowed its embellishment. Of particular note is the Plaza de San Nicolas (Plaza of St Nicholas) from where a stunning view of the Alhambra can be seen. The artist George Owen Wynne Apperley RA RI (1884–1960) owned houses on both sides of the Placeta de San Nicolás, also known as El Mirador.
This formerly blue collar but now upmarket neighborhood houses 100,000 residents of Granada, making it the largest neighborhood or ‘barrio’. Traditionally populated by Romani people, now many residents are from North and West Africa, China, and many South American countries. Every Saturday morning it hosts a large outdoor market or «mercadillo», where many people come and sell their wares of fruits and vegetables, clothes and shoes, and other odds and ends.