From Granada to Sierra Nevada
The Sierra Nevada district is well-communicated both with the nearby Granada and Costa Tropical. The A 92, Andalusia's arendal dual carriageway which links up with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula's road network makes access easy from any point of departure. The dual carriageway reaches Granada whence radiate the different roads which cross the district reaching as far as Pradollano. The Granada-Matril dual carriageway communicates the coast with the district as does the main road which climbs into the Sierra Nevada. Sierra del Sol is the mountain range which captivated the Muslims of Al-Andalus and is the background to some of the most beautiful views in the province of Granada. Its received its present name »Sierra del Sol« in medieval times and between the snow-capped peaks, its rivers and rocky scenery present us with the beauty of a land where nature is in all her slpendour. Villages and towns full of charm neste halfway between the monumetnal city of granada and the impressive Sierra Nevada massif.
Towns and villages between Granada and Sierra Nevada
The towns and villages below Sierra Nevada mountain are in the heart of nature, maintaining their traditions with the advantage of being halfway between Granada and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada.
Rivers and water channels cross the districts towns where silence is all around. It is the ideal place to enjoy peace and quiet and to relax in a welkoming atmosphere. These towns are characterised by the fertile farmlands of La Vega, forming picture postcard scenery with the ever-present sentinel the Sierra Nevada. Its history has always been linked to that of the city of Granada.
The origins of many of these towns date back to when they were Islamic agricultural or silk-producing hamlets dependant on the capital. The Muslim stamp is dearly visible in the network of irrigation channels which colect the waters produced by the Spring thaws on the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Transporting them la Vega, the wisest way to make full use of them.
The Sierra Nevada mountain range includes the highest peaks in the Iberian Peninsula: Mulhacen (3,482 m. above sea level) and Veleta (3,394 m.).
Because of its rich and varied vegetation, this area was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986, a Nature Park in 1989, and finally a National Park in 1999.
Its geological origins date back to the Teritary Period, when the mountainous range erupted. During the Quaternary era the area was covered with glaciers which left an deep imprint on the summits: U-shaped valleys, cirques crowned by ragged peaks and about fifty lakes in the valley and cirque glaciers of the peaks.
This sierra contains the highest mountains on the Iberian Peninsula, with sixteen peaks over 3.000 m high. The Sierra Nevada Natural and National Park is mainly in the province of Granada, but it also covers Almeria, to a lesser extent. The highest peaks on the Iberian Peninsula are to be found in this sierra, with sixteen over 3.000 metres high. The best known are: Mulhacen, the highest on the peninsula, with a height of 3.482 metres, Veleta with 3.396 m and Alcazaba with 3.364 m.
The most well-known part of the Sierra Nevada is its Ski Resort, the most southern in Europe and for many the best in Spain. The fact of the matter is that the exceptional location of this resort gives it a set of qualities that are very difficult to compete with: thirty kilometres from Granada, one of the cities with the best monuments in Europe, and a hundred from the coast, so you can go from snow to sea in less than two hours. This very southern location, combined with its altitute, also make it the resort that has the most days of sun in the whole of Europe and one of the ones that has the longest snoe season, from the end of November to the beginning of May.
The origins of this rich variety go back to the glaciation of the Quaterrnary period when plant species in Europe gradually moved to warmer latitudes, with various species from the north of the continent reaching the Sierra Nevada. Later, because of the isolated nature of the area, various new endemic species emerged. At a hight of 2,800 m. we find pasturelands, and wooded areas with pines and savines while lower down we find acorn trees and scrub as well as a variety of other tree species next to river banks.
Almonds, olive oil, cereals, pork products etc. Eating in any of the Sierra Nevada towns or villages is an authentic pleasure for lovers of traditional cuisine.
Recipes dating back to the Andalusi past, exquisite dishes such as maimones soup, Cajar sausage, cured ham and kidney beans, Granadine soup, kid in garlic, polenta and fried bread-crumbs, mushrooms, trout, chichen in garlic, air-cured delicious grape ham from Sierra etc., all must from Huetor vega accompanied by a glass of Dilar or Monachil, where sloe gin is also made.
And for sweet, nothing better than pasries from Huetor Vega, such as aniseed wafers, aniseed rings and the exquisite deep-fried custard with honey. The most noteworthy of the district's handcrafts are carpets from La Zubia, marquetry from Monachil, a legacy of its islamic past and in Huetor Vega, embroidery, artistic wrought-ironwork and wood carving.