The Centre-Sagrario neighbourhood is the heart of Granada’s historic quarter and a hub of life and business activity since the 8th century. It currently has 16,000 residents and welcomes thousands of tourists seeking out the historic remains of this ancient city on a daily basis. Every inch of Centre-Sagrario has witnessed the years as they passed, starting with the cathedral, which the Catholic Monarchs ordered to have built on the former site of the Great Mosque following the Christian conquest of the city in 1492. The Royal Chapel next to the temple is the resting place of those monarchs who changed the history of Granada and the rest of the world.
Intersected by the famous Gran Vía de Colón, the neighbourhood borders Albaicín to the east at Plaza Nueva and Puerta de Elvira—the first gate to the Moorish city—and is separated on the south from the old Jewish quarter of Realejo by Plaza de Isabel la Católica and Calle Reyes Católicos. Three neighbourhoods that represent the three civilisations that defined Granada’s destiny.
Next to the cathedral we come across the Alcaicería, an old Moorish silk bazaar that today houses handicraft and souvenir shops. Just a few steps away is Madrasah Palace, the location of the Moorish university (and also the first university) in Granada, until Cardinal Cisneros ordered its closure and plundered the library in 1499. The books ultimately wound up in the nearby Plaza de Bib Rambla, where they were burnt in a public bonfire under the accusation of being Korans that went against Christian faith. As you can see, one thing leads to another in the city centre, inviting us to make our way from spot to spot as we become immersed in their amazing histories.
A perfect example is the Monastery of San Jerónimo, which was built to the north of the neighbourhood in the early 16th century. Here lies, next to his wife, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, who was famously known as the Great Captain for his historic military actions during the Granada War that ended the Nasrid dynasty. According to legend, he established a friendship with King Boabdil after taking him prisoner and ultimately convinced the ruler to surrender and hand over the keys to the city.
To refuel our stomachs after a heavy dose of culture, Plaza de la Trinidad is a great spot to try Granada’s tapas without leaving the city centre. Traditional taverns coexist in its eclectic atmosphere with newer indie establishments that have become extremely popular in Granada. One thing they all have in common is that they follow the city’s sacred ritual: a tapa is served for free with every beer.