Granada is a city of craft

The city of Granada, since time immemorial, has stood out for its crafts, being a reflection of the different cultures that have passed through throughout history, leaving an important legacy of artisans in the Alhambra and Granada.

One of the most deeply rooted cultures in Granada was the Muslim Nasrid, as is the case with inlaid, fajalauza pottery or the quality of its luthery, to mention some of the most relevant trades.

This mixture of cultures has given rise to a multitude of artisan trades reflecting their traditions, customs and versatility.


Laguna’s marquetry workshop, in the Alhambra
  • The taracea (a marquetry technique) is the Granada handicraft that best represents us, as it reflects the influence of the Alhambra.
  • The name comes from the Arabic word Tarxia, which means inlay.
  • This technique consists of forming geometric figures or stars by embedding in the wood various types of fairy woods such as mahogany, ebony, palo santo, walnut, fruit tree woods, as well as bone, silver and metals.
  • The designs are the same as those used in the 14th and 15th centuries to decorate furniture, ceilings and doors in the Alhambra.
  • There are two types of finishes for the pieces, the traditional “crankpin” which is matte, and the polyester with gloss.
  • Today this technique still exists in only two places in the world: Damascus and Granada.
  • We this technique we can find jewelers, music boxes, trays, furniture, frames, trunks, chess boards and other more modern items such as magnets and ham holders.

Fajalauza pottery

Fajalauza: Artisan ceramic plates and dishes
  • Granada pottery is of Moorish origin.
  • The name Fajalauza comes from one of the gates in the old Granada wall that protected the potters’ neighborhood in the Albaicin.
  • It has reached our days characterized by its green and blue colors.
  • Also known for decorations and plant motifs such as birds and the presence of the pomegranates as a symbol of the city.

Manila Shawls

Gypsy Dress with Manila Shawl
  • The origin of shawls dates back to 600 BC. when Chinese women of upper classes wore this kind of shawls.
  • In Andalusia, as in Seville, Cordoba and Granada, floral motifs are the best known.
  • The shawls stand out for the embroidery of the rose and in Christian symbols it refers to the Passion of Christ. In Granada, on the Corpus Christi Festival it is very common to see women dressed in shawls.
  • As a general rule, shawls are made of natural silk, although we can find another material such as crepe. There are many traditional shops in Granada that elaborate Manila shawls.
  • The shawl is more beautiful with the fringes, it is usually made by hand, even in those shawls that are machine, the work of this consists of knotting natural silk threads.


Women dressed with mantilla during Easter week
  • The mantilla is a piece of tulle embroidered with a very fine thread, which is the one that is filling in the drawing that is outlined in the tulle.
  • As a general rule, the decorations of the mantillas usually have floral motifs.
  • The hours of work to make a piece of craftsmanship of this level are many.
  • The ladies who have spent their whole lives embroidering mantillas in Granada often have eye problems, losing sight and suffering from tired eyesight.
  • It is increasingly difficult to find authentic Spanish mantillas made by hand, because fewer and fewer people want to dedicate themselves to this trade, but in Granada we can still find traditional artists who enjoy the personal satisfaction of making these garments so that family and friends wear them on the most special occasions.


Workshop for the elaboration of “Spanish Guitars” in Granada
  • Granada is where the largest number of leading guitar masters in the world can be found.
  • Great figures from Granada related to guitar making are geniuses of the stature of Andres Segovia and Angel Barrios.
  • The Granada school, along with the Madrid school, is the best in the world: the best world stars who interpret music want their guitars to be made in Granada, like Sting for example.
  • Today Granada and Madrid are, without doubt, the guitar capitals of Spain.
  • There is no other place in the world where so many good guitar makers can be found as those who occupy the workshops of Granada.
  • The construction process begins with the selection of the wood and ends, after months of quiet effort, in the hands of the most important guitar players in the world.
  • Even the climate affects the production of the guitar and apparently the one we have in Granada is ideal for its construction.

Moroccan leather goods and crafts

Leather goods stores in the Alcaiceria of Granada
  • The artisan trade of leather goods also has a wide range of shops in the city, many of them can be found in the Alcaicería de Granada, a souk full of shops and in Calderería street, better known as Calle de las Teterías (Street of Teahouses), even in the ascent of the Alhambra by the Gomerez street.
  • In addition to tea shops, restaurants and pastry shops with delicious Arabic sweets, it is full of shops with artisan products, most of them from Morocco such as leather bags, clothes, lamps, jewelry and costume jewelery, souvenirs …
  • In the lower Albaicín there are several artisan shops where you can find this product, which recalls the Andalusian Granada.

Back combs

Woman wearing back comb and mantilla
  • The comb or tile is the main complement of the mantilla.
  • Its use became widespread in the last century because it favored and somehow dressed women’s face.
  • Bullfighters used them (in a smaller size) to gather the ponytail, since at that time the bullfighter wore his long hair gathered in a braid that rolled and held the comb. In Granada, during the Corpus Christi festivity, bullfighters can be seen with the comb during the bullfight.
  • Originally, the combs or tiles were made with Hawksbill turtles, but to avoid the total extinction of this species, shell combs began to be replaced by others made of synthetic materials.

Figures for Nativity scenes

Figures of Christmas nativity scene, Biblical-Historical style
  • The custom of representing the birth of Jesus Christ with figures originated in the Middle Ages.
  • The first Nativity scene is due to Saint Francis of Assisi, who in 1223 celebrated Christmas mass in a cave in Italy.
  • Carlos III was the one who brought this tradition from Italy to Spain since he had been King of Naples.
  • The Alcaicería de Granada is a typical neighborhood of Muslim culture, formed by narrow streets around which houses were lined and the souk or market where silk was manufactured and sold was located.
  • Nowadays, in addition to being a tourist reference point, you can find an infinity of Arab handicraft products, remembering and taking the visitor to the streets of the Arab bazaars and you can even meet the artisans who still create the Nativity Scene figurines so many years after their first elaboration.

10 essential places to visit in Granada

Granada is one of the most visited cities in Spain due to the large number of tourist attractions it treasures … among which two UNESCO World Heritage sites stand out, such as the Alhambra and the Albaicin neighborhood.

1. The Alhambra and Generalife

It is the best preserved Muslim palatine city in the world. A fortress started to be built in the 13th century and which has miraculously survived to this day to show us its impressive palaces and gardens that were once wandered by the Nasrid monarchs. Every year it receives more than 3.5 million visitors and, being one of the most visited monuments in the world, it is advisable to buy the ticket, or book a guided tour that includes it, well in advance to be able to choose, without problem, the access time to the Nasrid Palaces that suits us the best.

Partal Palace and Oratory in the Alhambra

2. San Nicolas viewpoint

This viewpoint, which is located in the upper part of the Albaicín neighborhood, is known worldwide for its incredible views of the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada. The best time to visit is, as we can see in the image, at sunset because we will have the best sunlight conditions to get the best pictures. In addition, former US President Bill Clinton described it in 1997 as the most beautiful sunset in the world!

Views of the Alhambra at sunset, from the San Nicolas viewpoint

3. Tapas bars in Granada

Going out for tapas in Granada is the most common among locals themselves and there is even a competition between those who value quantity versus those who prefer the quality of tapas. Every year a “Granada de Tapas” tapas contest is organized where a jury chooses those tapas with the best flavor as well as the most original. Our favorite area to go out for tapas is Plaza Nueva and the Realejo neighborhood … although it is already known that there’s no accounting for taste…

Bodegas Castañeda, tapas bar in Granada

4. Cathedral of the Incarnation

It is the culmination of the so-called Reconquest and its construction began in 1505. It is located where the Great Mosque of Granada or Aljama Mosque was located. It is one of the main works of the Spanish Renaissance, but it was never finished because a problem with the foundation of the building prevented the completion of the towers that Diego de Siloé initially planned. To highlight: Its imposing Main Chapel.

Main facade of Granada’s Cathedral

5. The Royal Chapel

The simple fact of knowing that the remains of the Catholic Monarchs rest here, make your visit a must. When visiting the mausoleums of the kings, the impeccable Carrara marble with which they were made is overwhelming. In addition, we can see the personal collection of flemish paintings of Elizabeth the Catholic, as well as original personal objects such as the crown of Elizabeth I and the sword of Ferdinand II.

Interior of the Royal Chapel

6. The Paseo de los Tristes

So called because the funeral processions passed through this street on their way to the San Jose cemetery, located on the same hill as the Alhambra, known as La Sabika. His real name is Padre Manjon. It is perhaps the most romantic street in Granada, located at the foot of the Alhambra and with numerous terraces to enjoy the views while having a snack and being entertained by the many artists and street musicians always acting in the area.

Carrera del Darro

7. Hammam Al-Andalus

They are fundamental in the social life of Arab culture and in Granada we have the opportunity to relax and enjoy these Arab baths that have successfully recreated the atmosphere of a hammam, in which, in addition to performing thermal contrast baths (at style of the Roman baths) while we have a delicious tea, we can also hire a massage with aromatic essences. An experience to forget about the world outside for a while!

Rooms for massage at Hammam Al-Andalus

8. The Carthusian Monastery

It is an authentic baroque marvel, which, being located on the outskirts of the city, in what was an old Arab carmen called Aynadamar, sometimes escapes the usual tourist route. But everyone, who finally visits it, is fascinated by the beauty of its High Altar and Sacristy. Its construction lasted more than three centuries and it is also very interesting to learn more about the peculiar Order of the Carthusians.

Monasterio de la Cartuja

9. San Jeronimo Monastery

Another architectural jewel that we can enjoy in Granada, this time of Renaissance style, where the remains of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the Great Captain of the Catholic Monarchs, also rest. A man who was a key piece during the Reconquest. Its construction marked a turning point in which the Middle Ages came to an end as the Modern Age began, and a light that illuminated the artistic and urban style of Granada in the following decades.

San Jeronimo Monastery

10. The Sacromonte quarter

Strolling through the Sacromonte is like traveling back in time, one has the feeling that the clock is stopping and in every corner we have a new opportunity to photograph the Alhambra from this other perspective that seems taken from another era. At night we will have the opportunity to visit one of its caves and enjoy a “zambra” – from the Arabic zamra (flute) -, a flamenco song and dance, that was born directly in the Sacromonte, inspired by Muslim weddings.

Viewpoint in the Sacromonte quarter

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