The Sacromonte is also known as the gypsy quarter of Granada. Located in the Valparaiso hill, next to the Albaicin, it makes with this latter and the Alhambra the essential historical and cultural triangle of Granada. It is undoubtably one of the cradles of Flamenco in Spain.
Sacromonte of Granada
This might as well be called the neighborhood of sighs. Sighs when raising the view and discovering the majestic Alhambra of Granada. When looking at the Darro valley or the Granada plain in the distance. Sighs with the flamenco sounds, so present in the Zambras and gypsy caves. You can hear the sacred sigh of the imposing and forgotten Sacromonte Abbey. Furthermore, the sound of tourists and couples who, sitting on the exceptional viewpoints, sigh in love admiring the magnetic beauty of the city.
What is the Sacromonte Granada?
Why is it called the Gypsy Quarter?
Back in the 15th century, Moors and Jews took advantage of the natural cavities in this area to live after the fall of the kingdom of Granada. About 1000 gypsies arrived in Granada on January 2, 1492 with the Catholic Monarchs. They were experts in the making of weapons and in dealing with horses, two fundamental elements for the army. When the army was dissolved, the gypsies became sedentary in the Monte Sacro, although their dwellings still reflected their nomadic character.
During the next 400 years, Sacromonte will have a gypsy accent, until it became the cradle of the most genuine flamenco. In the 1960s, severe flooding served to evict and clean the place. The gypsies were installed in houses, although some decided to stay. Those who left gained quality of life, but lost a history and family structure of more than 500 years. In the 70s the hippies tried to recover it, but they couldn’t. Today, the census is about 600 people. Most of the caves are used as flamenco halls, bars and/or restaurants.
Sacromonte is a neighborhood filled with art and essential to know the history of Granada. Its incredible caves carved in the rock have become its sign of identity and one of its main tourist attractions. Today, many of these caves are fitted out to host flamenco shows. Watching any of the many live zambra in the caves that are located near Art Chapiz Apartment rentals is a must.
What to see and what to do in the Sacromonte Granada?
SACROMONTE CAVES MUSEUM
Just 600 meters from the best apartments for rent in Granada, this is the place to visit if you want to know the origin and history of the city. It is located in the heart of the Monte Sacro. With no doubt a privileged enclave to witness Granada’s bastion, the Alhambra. Two characteristics stand out in this museum. On the one hand, its patrimonial value is evident in the group of 11 cave-houses. On the other hand, its environmental importance, visible in the landscape and natural elements. They explain, through magnificent panels and audiovisuals, when this neighbourhood was born and how its people lived. As well as a long etcetera of issues related to flamenco.
The perfect symbiosis between architectural, cultural and natural heritage results in one of the city’s most interesting museums. Moreover, the place is a haven of peace, far from the saturated tourist centres of Granada.
The Sacromonte Caves Museum is located in the Barranco de los Negros, in the heart of Sacromonte, in front of the Alhambra. Open from 10:00 to 18:00 (winter) and from 10:00 to 20:00 (summer).
The eastern end of Granada is this abbey at the top of the Sacromonte hill, as if it wanted to govern the rest of the ravines by sight. A somewhat pharaonic, disproportionate and dreary work that in the end becomes a pleasant surprise for the few visitors that know about it.
The impressive complex dates from the 17th century. It was built following the discovery of the remains of two martyrs and of the Plumbeous Books of the Sacromonte. These books tried to combine Moorish beliefs with Christianity. In their day it was thought that they were true, revealed by the Virgin herself.
With the Cathedral and the Alhambra, it forms the triumvirate necessary to understand the transformation of Andalusian Granada to Christianity, as well as the appearance of the Modern Age and the Spanish Renaissance.
The Abbey is a priceless heritage. It includes jewels such as the medical treatise by Averroes or the World Map by Ptolemy. All this in a little corner of the world, a great unknown of the city of Granada, blinded by the brightness of the Alhambra.
Sacromonte Abbey. Camino del Sacromonte 4, Granada. Visiting hours from 10:00 to 18:00 (reservation required: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The privileged situation of the neighborhood causes the existence of a good number of natural viewpoints. In fact, the whole neighborhood is a viewpoint full of picturesque corners. During the day, in the afternoon or at sunset, enjoy an unknown jewel. Many visitors, tourists and the curious crowd at the San Nicolas viewpoint to witness the most beautiful sunset in the world, not knowing that a few meters away, they can see the same sunset in the most exquisite of solitudes.
Our favourite one is the popularly called Mario Maya’s viewpoint. It is dedicated to the gypsy dancer and choreographer. It is in the Verea de Enmedio, a pedestrian street that goes through the boulevard giving on its way beautiful views and 100% original corners that could be taken from the past. La Verea de Enmedio leads to another of the best places to stay in Granada, the Albaicin quarter, reached by accident and discovered thanks to the greatest hustle. However, suddenly appearing in squares like Aliatar is not a pity…
ZAMBRAS & RESTAURANTS
Visiting a zambra, enjoying a flamenco show or experiencing an event in one of its famous caves is with no doubt a must in Granada. Get to know the cultural space of La Chumbera, Manolete’s Flamenco International school. It boast of the most beautiful views in the world. On the Camino del Sacromonte, enter the Zambra María La Canastera, a genuine place created more than 50 years ago by María Cortés Heredia, dancer and singer.
Enjoy any of the best restaurants in Granada located in the streets throughout the quarter. Don’t be in a hurry. Wander around, go up and down, ask questions, look and see until you come across the Casa de la Sevillana, one of the most particular places in the city. And finally, climb up to the sky of the sacred mountain through one of its seven slopes to experience the spectacle of Granada’s sunset. The Sacromonte is pure inspiration!