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Scotland and Spain have been inextricably linked since the time of the Crusades. There are many historical and cultural connections.. Read all about them on this blog!

Alhama de Granada
20 February 2015 @ 08:33

High on a plateau between the Eastern Costa del Sol at Torre del Mar and 53 kilometres from the historical city of Granada is the enchanting town of Alhama de Granada.  As you drive into the town, you can see the holy Church of Saint Maria of the Incarnacion sitting proudly on the hill - still standing after being attacked by the French, the Spanish and, in 1884, an earthquake which not only shook Alhama de Granada to its foundations but which had a devastating affect on  Competa and other places in the Axarquia on the southern side of the Almijaras mountain range.  There is something about the ambience of Alhama de Granada which makes you want to pause your journey and stay a while.  If you are just driving through enroute to Granada and don't stop you are missing out on a gem. 

Until about eight years ago, Alhama and its citizens did not really make much of the tourist attraction which it is.  With so many important monuments, an atmosphere of openess and friendliness of the local people, and the smattering of bars and restaurants, ancient balnearios (hot springs) on the outskirts of the town, it is definitely worth taking a break and having a look around.  If you do not have much time, drop into the excellent tourist office and you will be made feel welcome and leave with so much information it will make your head spin!  In the nicest possible way.  We were given a whistlestop tour of the four most important monuments - the 16th century Church of Incarnation, which is made entirely of stone; the Church and Convent of Nuestro Senora del Carmen with its shrine of the Virgen; the Queens Hospital and the outside of the Inquisition House which is now a private residence.  You can take a four hour tour for 5 euros (generally bookable in advance) or use the guide book, but many places are locked so it is recommended that you take the official tour.

Examining historical links between Scotland and Spain, which is the purpose of this blog, the Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabella, had an enormous influence on Alhama de Granada and ordered the building of the magnificent Church of Incarnation to be build on the site of a major mosque. Queen Isabella also commission the hospital. Ferdinand and Isabella were the parents of Catherine of Aragon, who was the first wife of the Tudor King Henry VIII. Their daughter,  Mary I (known as Bloody Mary), was Queen of England from 1553 until her death in 1558.  Mary Queen of Scots was a first cousin first removed of Queen Elizabeth I of England.  

As you walk round Alhama de Granada, admire its magnificent gorge, the birdlife in the gorge and enjoy the magnificent cakes of the cafe La Creme, think about the history of the place.  There is a lot to see - and you will want to come back for more.

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