Many people are unaware that Granada was one of the last Muslim strongholds in Europe. In fact, it took centuries for the Catholic Spanish leaders to conquer this area and drive out the Muslims (known to them as Moors).
The Muslim religion spread from the Middle East to Africa, and some Muslim leaders took their religion further north to Spain. This Muslim past is evident in almost every area of Granada, and it makes it unlike any other European city I have ever visited. Here are a few ways to experience this city that retains its unique Middle Eastern influence.
Food: Granada is probably the easiest place in Spain for a vegetarian to have no trouble finding things to eat. Falafel stands abound, and the it’s easy to find snacks loaded with feta cheese, vegetables, and hummus. The delectable desserts are unlike other Spanish treats, because they are sweetened with honey rather than sugar.
Architecture: Some of the main sttractions in Granada, including the Arabic baths and Alhambra, were created by Granada’s Muslim community centuries ago. They are rich in history, critical to understanding Spain’s Moorish past, and fascinating to visit.
Shopping: Stalls filled with harem pants, leather bags, hookah pipes, and tea line Granada’s streets. This gives the albacin, or Arabic section of the city, the feel of a Middle Eastern bazaar.