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Granada is a city in southern Spain known widely for its beauty and architectural magnificence. It is located next to the Sierra Mountains in Andalusia. Behind it lay steep mountains and in front lay flat agricultural plains. Its current population is approximately 280,000 people due to tourism and students coming from outside to study, both of which are extremely important to the local economy .
When Granada was first settled by native tribes in prehistoric times, it was known as Ilbyr. It later became Illibris when the Romans colonized southern Spain and built there own city. The city's current name "Granada" came from the Arabs who invaded the peninsula in the 8th century. Various Christian groups joined together and steadily drove the Arabs out of Spain. Granada was the last stronghold to fall to the Christians in 1492, under Queen Isabel of Castile and her husband Ferdinand of Aragon. This takeover of Granada by the Catholic Kings put an end to the Nasria reign and to the Muslim domination of Spain. The Moslems and Jews were then forced to leave the country or convert to Christianity. Granada's new rulers constructed palaces, religious buildings and other monuments. In the 16th century, Diego de Siloéé, a pioneer of Plateresque architecture, enriched the city's artistic landscape by building a cathedral, the Patio de la Chancilleria, and numerous portals.
The cultural in Spain is generally plain in comparison with most over developed countries. Ninety-five percent of the population are white Catholics. The "granadainos" don't have a particularly good reputation and they are renown for their "mala follar" which means bad humor. They tend to be less friendly and lighthearted than the average Spaniard.
Along with the usual churches, museums, and sights, Granada has the Alhambra, which is considered by some to be one of the ten wonders of the world. The Alhambra is an exquisite castle with a series of palaces and gardens. From the summit of its wooded hill, the Alhambra rises about 150 m. above the city. Its palaces were built by several rulers starting in the late 13th century. The carrying ideas behind several of the buildings of the Alhambra have been said to be an Arabic attempt to create heaven on earth. The romantic design is made up of a mixture of slender columnar arcades, fountains, and light-reflecting water basins.
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Other important sights include the university that was chartered in 1531 by Charles V, the cathedral built between 1523 and 1703, the Sacromonte hill that overlooks the city from the North, which is famous for its cave dwellings, the Generalife, a summer palace that stands at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, and the Albaicin, an old Arabic quarter located on the hill opposite the Alhambra.
Entertainment in the city of Granada, besides visiting the many monuments, includes folk festivals, international music performances, dancing, jazz, theater, and tango festivals. Sports include skiing through the Sierras, windsurfing, golf, and other various activities.