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retain the heat, is the oven that heated the water. The   School of Arabic Studies that comprises two Morisco
        capitals that support the portico in the main room are a   dwellings with later Christian style additions, a typical
        mixture of Roman, Visigothic and Caliphal, clearly   example of the architectural style employed immediately
        showing this building’s origins and continued use   after the reconquest. You will then enter the Plaza del
        through the ages. A Moorish innovation was the star-  Paso de la Harina with, on your right the Camino del
        shaped holes in the arched ceiling. They were initially   Sacromonte. At the entrance to this road is a statue, a
        covered with coloured alabaster to allow a rainbow of   Monument to a Gypsy, for this narrow, winding street
        light to illuminate the interior. The whole atmosphere was  leads to the barrio famed for its gypsy cave houses. You
        enhanced by aromatic smoke from the perfume holders   soon find yourself in an area of dilapidated dwellings that
        on the walls.                                       merge with the rock behind. Chimneys protrude from the
        Opposite the baths, you will see the remains of the   solid rock above and narrow, twisting alleys lead to
        Puente del Cadi - a bridge built by King Badis that was   flamenco taverns. The Sacromonte gypsies are credited
        the main communication route between El Albaicin    with the creation of the Zambra or flamenco fiesta and
        behind you and the Alhambra ahead.                  the house of the flamenco dancer, Maria la Canastera, is
        With its bars, cafés and artisan shops the Carrera del   open to the public to celebrate the event. One of the
                                                            cave dwellings has also been opened as a museum and
        Darro is a good place from which to explore the small   shows a sanitised, romanticised, version of how these
        alleys across the tiny pedestrian-only bridges. These   people lived. It is hard to imagine the poverty, filth and
        narrow streets, nestled at the foot of the Alhambra,   disease that must have been endemic in this area so
        contain some of the nicest, and oldest, stores in the city.   close to the opulent El Albaicin. Many of the cave
        At the end of Carrera de Darro, just before it becomes   dwellings are still inhabited, and you are given a unique
        Paseo del Padro Manjón, on the left is the Granada   opportunity to glimpse life as it must have been in
        Archaeological Museum.                              Mediaeval times. You are given the impression, probably
        Continue on Carrera del Darro. It soon changes its name   totally erroneously, that this is not an area in which to
        to Paseo del Padre Manjón popularly known as Paseo de   linger and it will only be the most adventurous who
        los Tristes (Passage of the Mourners) since this was the   venture back here at night to sample the Zambra.
        route taken by funeral corteges. You will enter an open   Retrace your steps to the Monument to a Gypsy.
        space with the river on your right; there are fine views of
        the Alhambra above and a few cafes. From here you can   Turn right onto Cuesta del Chapiz. This road leads up
        admire the small houses clinging to the side of the   into El Albaicin, the former Alcazaba district that was
        Alhambra hill, nestled under the walls for protection,   clustered around a fortress built by the Ziri monarchs.
        each with its vegetable plot, still inhabited as they have   The hill on which this district sits is the site of the original
        been for the last six hundred years. Now we go to an   Iberian and Roman settlements although nothing now
        area of the city less frequently visited by tourists.  remains of that period, or the fortress. El Albaicin is
        At the end of the Paseo del Padre Manjón, a bridge over   however packed with wonderful examples of Moorish
                                                            and Christian architecture. Time does seem to have
        the river leads to two paths, one of which is a steep   stood still in these narrow, winding streets.
        winding climb to the Alhambra. Take the Cuesta del
        Chapiz to your left, a steep street leading into the   A notable feature of El Albaicin is the aljibes or cisterns.
        northern part of El Albaicin. A couple of hundred metres   These were used to collect rainwater and protect it from
        up this street, on your right, you will see the Granada   evaporation giving the residents a source of fresh water.
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   14                    April 2019
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