Granada, Spain, is both a city and province in Andalusia. The city is incredibly old and is thought to date back to the prehistoric period when native tribes settled here and called their home Ilbyr. Later, when the Romans colonized souther Spain they built a city here which they named Illibris. This later changed again in the 8th century when invading Arabs gave it the name of Granada. The meaning of the name 'Granada' is somewhat obscure but it is thought to possibly mean "great castle" after the Roman fortress which one stood on the Albaicin Hill.
Granada is filled with beautiful buildings and architectural remnants that will take you back in time on a graceful journey of culture. Once you have offloaded your luggage at your Granada hotel, you may want to find your way to the Alhambra, one of the most brilliant architectural jewels in Spain. The Alhabra is a series of palaces and gardens which stands at the foot of the Sierra Nevada and overlooks the city and plains of Granada. The largest palace is that of Charles V which is a brilliant example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. The complex of fountains, gardens and airy buildings was built around the 14th century and the grace exhibited in its walls is timeless.
Closer to Granada is the Royal Chapel where Isabel and Ferdinand lie buried. The Monastery of La Cartuja and many of the other churches in Granada were built by Moorish craftsman and therefore display the unique mudejar style of the city. Once you've finished visiting these fine old buildings, there are many other activities to do in Granada. You might try visiting the Albaicin - a labyrinth of narrow streets, whitewashed houses and secluded inner gardens. At the center of it all lies the Plaza de San Nicolas which is popular as it is situated at a highpoint which affords both visitors and locals a magnificent view of the Moorish palace silhouetted by the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. There are also a sizable Medina where you can enjoy a pleasurable shopping spree.
Just outside the city to the North you will find the Sacromonte hill which is famous for its cave dwellings. These numerous dwellings was once the home of Granada's gypsy community but now serves more as a tourist attraction than as a dwelling place. Clearly Granada is a Spanish city with a lot to offer in terms of a cultural and architectural experience. No trip to Spain would be quite complete without visiting this little jewel of Andalusia.