Charles V’s reign sparked some of history’s greatest cataclysms: Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe, Cortés’ annihilation of the Aztec Empire and Pizarro’s (distant cousin of Cortés) destruction of the Inca civilization. Charles also knew a thing or two about the Inquisition.
Emperor Charles was a project manager for many magnificent Counter-Reformation buildings such as the Cathedral of Granada – a psychological assault by the limitless wealth of Catholic Kings.
Towards the end of his life, Charles moved into a monastery to nurse his gout, his epilepsy and painful TMJ from his Habsburg jaw. Positively exhausted by his own reign, he abdicated to his brother and his son. Then he succumbed to malaria long before the cathedral could be finished.
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Next door to the Granada Cathedral is the gothic style CHAPEL ROYAL (erected 1506-1521). No strangers to spin, Charles’ grandparents (King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella) were determined to be buried in Granada to send an unambiguous territorial message to the defeated Moors of North Africa, “Granada is ours, even in death.”
Caveat: photos are strictly prohibited inside the CHAPEL ROYAL so the next three photos were the result of a secret mission to capture the likenesses of Ferdinand, Isabella, their daughter Joanna the Mad, and her husband Philip the Handsome, even if they had clearly stipulated in their wills 500 years ago that they never, ever wanted to turn up in a 21st century travel blog.
I usually recommend TIME OUT guides for hotel and restaurant advice, and THE BLUE GUIDE series for enriching information. Too bad I can’t recommend the THE BLUE GUIDE, SPAIN, because the author, Ian Robertson, doesn’t like Spain and drones on about the burden of travel writing, “… particularly in Spain, where obtaining any reliable information can be a pointless and time-wasting occupation.” Whew! Ian, you’ve got to stop eating so many bitter oranges.
We found the cuisine of Granada much less youthful and innovative than that of Sevilla. However, we recommend restaurant RUTA DEL AZAFRAN, Paseo de los Tristes, 18010 Granada, Spain 958 226 882. The restaurant is situated in the valley beneath The Alhambra so if you reserve a window table you’ll be looking straight up into a medieval world.