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View of the Sacromonte from the Alhambra
Location of the neighborhood of Sacromonte in Granada
View of Sacromonte

Sacromonte, sometimes also called Sacramonte, is a traditional neighbourhood of the eastern area of the city of Granada in Andalusia, Spain. It is one of the six neighbourhoods that make up the urban district Albayzín and borders the neighbourhoods of Albayzín, San Pedro, Realejo-San Matías, El Fargue and Haza Grande.

It is located on the hill and valley of Valparaíso, in front of the Alhambra, emblematic places of Granada, occupying both banks of the Darro River, whose name seems to be derived from the phrase "D'auro" ("of gold") for its famous gold-bearing sediments.

It is the traditional neighborhood of the Granadian Gipsies, who settled in Granada after the Christian conquest of the city in 1492. It is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods of the city, with cave houses installed in whitewashed caves.[1]

The gypsies of Sacromonte have a dialect, "Calé", which is currently little used. It's derived, according to tradition, from India, from where the gypsies (or Roma), originated. The Roma of Sacromonte were portrayed by the poet Federico García Lorca in his book of poems Romancero Gitano.[2]


The neighborhood owes its name to the episode occurred between 1595 and 1599 on the hill of Valparaíso: the alleged discovery of relics and the so-called lead books or "lead books the Sacromonte" with indecipherable drawings, texts in Latin and Arabic characters that came to be interpreted as the fifth gospel. These findings were declared a forgery in the 17th century, but led to the construction of the Abbey of Sacromonte,[3][4] where today are the alleged relics of Saint Caecilius, co-patron of Granada and the lead books.[2]

Origin of the caves[edit]

Some of the famous caves (troglodyte houses) of Sacromonte

The origin of the houses excavated on the slopes of Sacromonte, which are the traditional dwelling of the neighborhood is not very clear. It is assumed that they began to be built from the 16th century, when the Jewish and Muslims population was expelled from their homes, which joined to them the Gypsies of nomad customs. The caves have emerged as housing for the marginalized, located outside the Walls of the city, which meant being outside of administrative and ecclesiastical control. To dig a cave it was necessary to carve away a part of the face of the hill where they wanted to build, making a vertical cut that served as a facade. They then inserted an arch at midpoint arch to serve as a door. Later they excavated the necessary divisions that the terrain allowed.[2]

The forms and limits of this unique house type is determined by the terrain, altitude and extent of the hills where these are, so there are not two equal caves. These elements, along with the paths, gullies, small squares, whitewashed facades and interiors form a unique landscape, with the customs and crafts of its inhabitants, giving it a unique character.[2]

In addition to the troglodyte houses, another important feature of the neighborhood are the legends that relate to all corners and places, one of the most known of the Ravine of the Blacks.[2]

A neighbourhood legend: Ravine of the Blacks (Barranco de los Negros)[edit]

Popular legend say that after the Reconquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs were much the noble Arabs who made their way from exile to African lands. They carried in their hearts to the city of their parents and grandparents, in which were born them and their children, the city that hoped to return someday.

Fearful they (Arabs) that on the way to the ports of Almuñécar or Almería, where they embarked, robbed them their fortunes the robbers of roads, groups of soldiers renegade of Christians militaries, hid great treasures among the olives that one day populated this mountain (Sacromonte).[2]

These events occurred in parallel with others, which were given freedom to many slaves owned of these noble Arab families because they found it too expensive to perform this journey with a large entourage. Many of these slaves -which were blacks- knowledgeable about the comings and goings of their owners to Mount of Valparaíso (as this was called then), of the fears and thoughts of their, heard in more than one conversation between those, organized their stratagems. Recovered their freedom and without job or belongings, decided to climb the mountain and recover for theyself the treasures that had once been of their owners.[2]

They dug and dug into the slopes of the ravine without known success, and exhausted by the effort and no alternative shelter, did in these holes, which subsequently conditioned resulting in the caves that became their homes. Hence comes the name of "Ravine of the Blacks", being their first inhabitants of this race.

Later, already mixed with the inhabitants of Gypsy ethnicity, they conducted more than a spell in search of the exact place where the treasures were hidden. It is known the mysterious doings of some old witch "ferminibí" talking sometimes with the water and others with fire, or staring unblinking the basin of water, trying to get some clues with which to find the lost treasures, of which at present it is unknown whether were discovered by any of those seekers, who secretly appropriated them, or if they keep hidden anywhere near here.[2]

Other sights[edit]

Abbey of Sacromonte
Iglesia de Santa Ana y San Gil (16th century)

Abbey and College of the Sacromonte; Holy Caves[edit]

In addition to the numerous caves, the main monument of the neighborhood is the Abbey of Sacromonte, built by Archbishop Pedro de Castro y Quiñones in 17th century at the top of the hill, where appeared the alleged relics and other remains that would have been of the first Christians of Granada and evangelizers of the Roman Baetica, including Saint Caecilius, martyr and first bishop of the city, in the 1st century AC, and other apostolic figures, companions of Saint James. Annex to the abbey also found the College of Sacromonte, founded also by Pedro de Castro.[5]

The set is formed by the abbey (17th century), the Old College of San Dionisio Areopagita (17th century), the New College (19th century) and the "Holy Caves" (Santas Cuevas)Template:HarvRef. The abbey has an important library with numerous incunabula and manuscripts, which currently is closed. The Santas Cuevas are old catacombs where there are several chapels. In one of these, according to tradition, officiated James the Less. There takes place the festival of Saint Caecilius.

in the abbey also are schools of the Hail Mary, founded by teacher and priest Andrés Manjón, known as padre Manjón at the beginning of 20th century to teach Gipsy children whose pedagogical innovations are still in use.

The abbey is canonical seat of the confraternity of the Gypsies. There is Mass every Sunday at 12:00.

Other buildings[edit]

In Carrera del Darro there numerous monuments, among which are:


  • In Granada is celebrated the Fiestas of San Cecilio (Saint Caecilius) (first Sunday in February) with pilgrimage to Sacromonte; the Carnival, in February; the Día de Mariana Pineda in May acquires each year more importance. Has achieved spectacular spread the Holy Week. The neighbourhood of Sacromonte celebrates its fiestas in the first ten days of August.

Native cuisine[edit]

Famous Sacromontinos people[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Zambra, a dance which originated in this Granadian neighbourhood[6]


  • Translated from the Portuguese and Spanish Wikipedias


  1. ^ "Discover the Albayzín and Sacromonte". Granada Spain. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2018-09-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Cite error: The named reference mus1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference cec1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference cec2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference gg1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ "Definición de zambra en el DRAE". 

External links[edit]

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