Sacromonte

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From Sacromonte one can see Alhambra to the left and Albayzín to the right.

Sacromonte is a neighbourhood of Granada, in Spain. It derives its name from the nearby Sacromonte Abbey, which was founded in 1600 on the hill of Valparaiso outside the old city, and is built over catacombs (originally mine workings of Roman date).

The slopes of the hill form the traditional gitano quarter of the city; and on the Sunday following 1 February each year, are also the location of the Fiesta of San Cecilio, when large crowds gather to celebrate the city's first bishop and Granada's patron saint, Caecilius of Elvira (San Cecilio). The fiesta and abbey act as key instruments for the preservation, propagation and dissemination of the pious legend of Saint Caecilius, by which the city of Granada in the 17th century sought to redefine its historic identity, replacing its Moorish past with fabricated (or re-discovered) accounts of Christian origins.

Abbey of Sacromonte

The legend states that the catacombs are the site of Saint Caecilius's martyrdom, and the abbey preserves the supposed relics of Caecilius and eleven other saints' bones, ashes and the oven in which they were believed to have been burned. It also possesses the inscribed lead plaques and books that were found with the supposed relics, but which were subsequently officially dismissed as forgeries. These are known as the Lead Books of Sacromonte.

The Morisco population of Granada had been expelled to other parts of Spain following the Morisco Revolt of 1568 (except for those few trusted Moriscos who had served in the royal forces, and who were permitted to remain in the old Moorish quarter of Albaicin adjacent to Valparaiso). By the 19th century, the area had become home to a substantial Gitano community, who built their homes in caves excavated from the soft rock of the hillside. The area became famous for Flamenco music and dancing, but major floods and forced evacuations in the 1960s left the neighborhood population dramatically reduced. Since the early 1990s, however, the area has slowly become developed as a tourist attraction, and as a centre of Gitano culture.

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Coordinates: 37°10′51″N 3°35′34″W / 37.18083°N 3.59278°W / 37.18083; -3.59278