Seriously, Granada was temporarily the capitol of united Spain after the final defeat of the moors. It has a grand neoclassical cathedral, lovely medieval cityscapes, a remnant of a moorish caravanserai and bath, and a fun market. And yes, 1492 marked both the conquest of Granada and the deal with Columbus. Plus the expulsion of the Jews, but that’s another story.
I’m not sure tapas are the best thing about Spain, but they’re up there. Infinite choices of small plates, at $4-5 each? With a $2 glass of dry sherry? Available almost any time of day or night? Yes please! In Sevilla, even in the more touristed sections of the city, we found delicious and atmospheric tapas at Bar Catalina, Bar Las Teresas, Casa Roman Taberna, and Bodega Morales (photos in order).
A central courtyard/atrium/peristyle—an open space, usually surrounded by columns, at the entrance to a building or in its interior—has been an essential feature of domestic and public architecture from ancient Rome and earlier. Andalusia’s exceptionally pleasant and welcoming patios echo the entrance courts of mosques (like that preserved as a cloister in the otherwise thoroughly baroque Church of El Salvador) and the central courts of buildings like the Alcazar.Peeking into Sevilla’s open wooden doors to look at patios is an essential feature of a stroll through the city.
Sevilla’s narrow medieval streets are a delight to wander. Picture postcard plazas lurk around every corner. Among the sights are Don Juan (operas set in Sevilla include Don Giovanni, the Marriage of Figaro, the Barber of Seville, and Carmen), the bullring, and the Tower of Gold (one half of a pair of towers anchoring the chain across the Guadalquivir that protected the harbor from invasion). Mixed among the older structures are attractive art deco buildings incorporating the style known appropriately as neo-mudejar.