Running through the valley between the hillside Alhambra on one side and the Sacromonto hill on the other, and lined with centuries old buildings, the Carrera del Darro is considered to be Granada’s prettiest street. It’s also the principal route to the Mirador San Nicholas, which provided us with a good view of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Then we walked behind the mirador (Spanish for lookout) and around the former Arabic quarter of Albaicín. Established when the Moors were forced out of Granada by the Catholics in the 1500s, Albaicin is a compact network of winding cobbled streets, whitewashed houses.
At about the same time, the next hill over was being occupied by newcomers who had followed behind the Catholic army. These were people from Romani or Gitano decent, who for years have been known by the misnomer “Gypsy” a derivative of “Egyptian,” when in fact they came to Europe from Northern India. Unable to afford conventional housing, or uninterested in living the conventional life in town, the Roma carved cave homes into the hillside, as had humans for centuries before.
Nowadays, the cave homes are still occupied. Some are dumps but many are fully serviced with electric, running water and internet. Still others have been expanded into venues for flamenco performances targeted to tourists.
There is even a cave house museum, which provides a snapshot in time through 10 recreated caves. The museum is good walk uphill, and rather informative so we enjoyed it as a nice change from the usual castles and cathedrals.