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  Alhama de Granada - City Information
  Municipality of: Ventas de Zafarraya
  Region: Poniente Granadino
  Post Code: 18120
  # of Inhabitants: 6184
  Inhabitants: Alhameños
  To Granada (km): 58 km



Alhama de Granada

Alhama de Granada in the Granada province is an especially well preserved village built along a narrow, dramatic gorge. Alhama is located near the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain in the Andalucia (Andalus) region. It is northwest of the Costa Tropical, southwest of the city of Granada, and to the east of the city of Malaga. Alhama de Granada is well known for its hot springs, resorts, Roman and Arab ruins, and dramatic vistas. Roads to Alhama are excellent and well marked, although they wind quite a bit through the mountains and can take longer than expected to traverse.


  Getting There

Alhama de Granada, near the large cities of Malaga, Granada, and Almeria, is readily accessible from the heart of the Costa Tropical, Almuñécar:

  • From Malaga, take the N-340 highway east towards Almuñécar, Motril, and Almería. Well before these cities, in about 20 minutes, you reach the town of Velez-Malaga. In Velez-Malaga take the well-marked road A-402 towards Zafarraya. Once you pass the Ventas de Zafarraya, the A-402 road continues towards Alhama de Granada. The road is winding and the views beautiful. The trip takes about one hour from Velez-Malaga.

  • From Granada, take the A-338 road to Alhama de Granada.

  • From the Costa Tropical town of Almuñecar, Alhama de Granada can be easily accessed via either a scenic route of backroads or a quicker highway route. For the scenic route from Almuñecar, take the Sospiro de los Moros road leaving from the back of the town to Jete and Otivar - about 20 minutes past Otivar, take the first left. This is the road that heads to the town of Jayena. After Jayena follow the signs to Alhama de Granada. Vistas along the Sospiro de los Moros road and the stretch between Jayena and Alhama de Granada are also stunning. For the quicker highway route from Almuñecar, take the N-340 highway west to Velez-Malaga (20 minutes). Once in Velez-Malaga, use the same directions described above for the approach from Malaga city.

  Description

Alhama de Granada is fantastically well preserved without much new construction and development. The ancient town is built along the cliffs of a deep gorge cut by the river Mechan.

You can take a winding footpath down the gorge cutting through the town and by the river you find century's old buildings perfect for exploration and photography - a mill and farmhouses. You will also find many caves in the walls of the cliffs, some of which have been converted into homes, others into goat pens. Herds of goats gather all along the gorge, and much of the cliffs are covered in deep green moss. In words, the place is beautiful.

Alhama de Granada is located in the province of Granada, approximately 50 km from the city of Granada and the same distance from the coast. The town's name is derived from the thermal baths located there, called al-hammam in Arabic. The town is known for being very quiet and low-key.

  History

Evidence of human settlement in Alhama de Granada dates to Neolithic times. The Romans were attracted to the area surrounding Alhama by the rich soil and the thermal baths. Alhama de Granada's town was actually settled by the Arabs who arrived in the 8th century. In 1482, it was taken from the Moorish Sultanate and Kingdom of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs. At this time many of the Arab palaces and mosques of Alhama were replaced by new construction. The splendid baths built in the 12th century by the Arabs in the Almohade style still remain. Alhama de Granada, to this day, retains its distinctive Moorish flavor.

In the thermal baths, the magnificent Arabic horse shoe arches were built over the remains of much earlier Roman construction and are covered by a vaulted roof, pierced by star-shaped openings that let the daylight filter in. Under the vaulted roof of the baths bubbles up the warm thermal waters of Alhama de Granada. The newest one, which springs up a few meters from the other, was discovered in 1884, many centuries after a terrible earthquake struck very near to the town.

Alhama de Granada has many historical monuments - including the Inqusition House, the Devil's Stairway, the old Arab dungeons Mazmorros, the old Moorish palace in the center of town, and several classic churches. Yet Alhama de Granada also offers so much to the nature lover, including hikes through the town's gorge, lake Bermejales, and the very large neighboring Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara, and Alhama National Park.

Traditional foods of Alhama de Granada and it's surroundings are based on products produced locally and in the Alpujarra area, such as plato alpujarreño (eggs, sausage, potatoes, black pudding), puchero matancero (potatoes, bacon and garbanzos), salchichón, longaniza, morcilla (cured sausages from local pigs), and sweets from local grapes, almonds, and figs such as soplillos (honey, sugar cane, egg whites and toasted almonds), and buñuelos (sweet fried fritters).


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