May 9, 2012

The Great Granada Hunt: "Granada" = Pomegranate

The pomegranate plaque next to the entrance to our
lovely hotel, Hotel Zaguán del Darro.
So I still don't have time to write a very involved entry, but I've been sitting on a bunch of great photos for Granada for a really loooong time. Rather than write a more thorough entry on this famous overly-American-tourist-infested southern Spanish city, I thought I'd share with you a great photography game you can play when you visit there. I call it, the Great Granada Hunt!

Now, for those of you who didn't know, "granada" is Spanish for pomegranate. And it took me less than 2-3 hours upon arriving to the city of Granada to realize that they have pomegranate iconography run amok all over the place. (At one point I told my wife: "Man! Maybe they got a little carried away with this pomegranate stuff." To which she wisely responded: "I dunno. Can you imagine what it would be like if 'Valencia' actually meant something in Spanish? That something would be plastered on every official and unofficial wall of our city." Indeed, bats and oranges have already overrun Valencia, and I wouldn't be surprised if a motion was proposed to change the city name to Taronja or Rat Penat.)

Spot-a-pomegranate, the game: So here's how the game works. All you need is a camera and walking legs. Start looking for every instance of a pomegranate that you see and snap a photo. Pretty soon you'll have a wild collection of pomegranate footprints running all across the town.

Some ubiquitous instances of pomegranates in Granada are understandable. The "granada" appears in the lower right corner of the City's official seal. This naturally causes it to appear around town in various official capacities...



On street signs...




But also on the tourist guide signs...


To mark the fancy street name signs on the ground at street crossings on Gran Vía...



Even on utility covers...



But the City, in its zest for granadas, has also embedded them into the styled designs found in the ground all over the city and its landmarks...





And let us not forget what was easily the classiest touch: granadas used to form the tops of the cute posts that lined the streets to keep cars off the sidewalks...



And then there were the decorative fountains, which also naturally featured the city's favorite fruit...

"Fuente de las Granadas" next to the Río Genil

Even the fountain at Plaza Nueva is topped by a pomegranate

Look carefully and you'll see the granada adorning elegant facades of important city buildings...



At some point the denizens of Granada got into the game, because it's not just official buildings and emblems that are decorated with the distinctive fruit...

It's on metal flowerbed holders ...


... on the shop sign of one of many "Arab" shops on Calle de la Calderería ...


... on the entrance door to a residential building ...


... above the entrance door to a small church ...


Hah! I counted no less than 5 granadas on the journey up to and through La Alhambra, and that was without me even trying! Try finding some of these pomegranates while you wander through Spain's most famous monument...





Oh, my poor wife! At first my photo obsession irritated her. We'd be walking along, exhausted and eager to get to the next destination, and I'd be stopping every few steps, exclaiming, "There's another one! Just give me a sec while I snap a pic." (Confession: I have many, many more photos of granadas/pomegranates that I did not post.) But eventually even she got into it, spotting some of the harder to find ones, even showing a bit of sporting pride on her part about it. Spot the pomegranate is a great game, and a way to jazz up your more typical Spanish urban tourism visit. Granada is not just about the Alhambra. Apparently it is also about pomegranates. Go figure!

And as a prize for all your fun photo-documenting Granada's obsession with granadas, you can even buy yourself a ceramic decorative plate with, yes, you guessed it, a pomegranate on it...




________________ADDENDUM: THE VIEWER'S CHOICE
________________


Thank you to one of my readers (José, whose comment is below) for pointing out that the pomegranate is also in the Spanish national seal ("escudo") at the center bottom, representing the Granada kingdom. It's quite an elegant design for a pomegranate, if I may say so!



Molly, a Granada expat blogger at Piccavey.com, tweeted me this photo of a 15th century fabric which, in its pattern, features granadas. She then wrote this blog entry on "Pomegranates..." with her own photo take on granadas in Granada.



Please keep them coming! Have you spotted a pomegranate in Granada recently? Couldn't resist snapping a photo? If you share it with me on twitter or through my email, I'll post it here with full credits to you.

20 comments:

Nancy Todd said...

Great observations Zach! I saw a few when I was in Granada and did not know it was a city symbol. Will definitely be photographing them next time I am there.

Cat said...

Did you know its also on the crest of the flag, added after the city fell during the reconquist?

Unknown said...

Oh dear! I live in Granada, I will have to accept the challenge... watch this space!

Molly

@piccavey

Barca Mama said...

What a great blog entry and game!!! Must do when we visit Granada:)

An Expat in Spain said...

Thanks Nancy & Barca Mama. It was a fun game, so I highly encourage you to try it next time you're there. (Be sure to tweet me pics or blog entry links if you do.) Barca Mama, I've added you to my expat blog roll. Glad to have you reading. Hope you enjoy settling into Barcelona!

Cat, I didn't know that, though that certainly makes sense. On this topic I didn't do my due diligence as a historian, but something tells me there is a good (hi)story (or several) about the symbolism of the pomegranate in Granada's history.

Molly, glad to hear you are up to the challenge! Look forward to seeing a future entry on it... and I am very grateful to you for the tips on Granada when we visited there!

jose said...

Si quieres llevar el juego de encontrar la granada un poco mas allá, la puedes encontrar también en el escudo de España.

An Expat in Spain said...

José, pues ahora que lo dices, veo que es verdad. Está allí justo en el centro (a bajo) a plena vista. Nunca me había fijado. ¡Gracias por compartirlo!

jose said...

Gracias a ti por el blog.
¿Savias que el dulce típico de Granada es el pionono? Pues te lo creas o no también están hechos con granadas.
Para que veas que en Granada tienen granadas hasta en la comida.

Tumbit - Mr Grumpy said...

As the web's resident expert on seeded fruits, can you tell me if the Pomegranete is the national fruit of Spain, or if I have just dragged that nugget of pointless information from the darkest recess of my limited memory ?

jose said...

Mr Grumpy
La granada solo es el fruto nacional de granada.
Aparece en el escudo nacional porque cada cuadro representa uno de los antiguos reinos que se unieron para formar lo que hoy es España.

Tumbit - Mr Grumpy said...

Interesting stuff guys. I look forward to your future post about the significance of the Murcielago, Hemmingway ...?

Mother Theresa said...

I was there a few years ago, and I can't believe I didn't notice that!

An Expat in Spain said...

José and Mr. Grumpy, thanks for adding this dialogue and clarification. I've added the seal to the entry, in a special section, "Viewer's Choice". Gracias por contribuir este diálogo y clarificación. He incluído el escudo a bajo en la entrada, en una sección especial, "Premio del público".

José, sí descubrí el (delicioso) pionono (de Casa Isla) en este viaje a Granada, pero no sabía que la granada era un ingrediente. ¡Que fruta más "granadina"!

Mother Theresa, hiding in plain sight. This is an underutilized English expression. I'm always struck by the number of things that are hiding in plain sight... particularly for us expat bloggers writing about our visits to places, or for locals who never really saw their own hometown through the eyes of a stranger. That's the real reward of these exchanges. Happy to share my discoveries, and love reading yours and other's.

Cassandra said...

Your post made me want to hop a bus to Granada and start The Great Pomegranate Search ASAP. This should be required reading for anyone heading to the city of pomegranates!

An Expat in Spain said...

Thanks Cassandra! Granada's pretty visit-able even without the pomegranates. It sounds like these days you've been close by... I can see from your Córdoba post that I'm going to have to go back there, since my 6-hour visit 12 years ago was clearly too superficial.

Cassandra said...

6-hours, eh? You should make Córdoba your next Andalusian destination!

An Expat in Spain said...

Guilty as charged. That was back in my "Conquest of Europe" days when I had that oh-so-American mentality of rapid in-and-out tourism... Two days to cover Sevilla, just over a day to see Granada (a.k.a. La Alhambra), and naturally 6 hours was enough to see La Mezquita in Córdoba. Who knew there was anything else there? ;-)

theartichokeadventures said...

Nice post and my favourite fruit!In Sevilla Cathedral at the foot of one of the bearers of Cristobal Colon's coffin/tomb there is a pomegranate perced by a spear...a representation of the reconquering of Granada from the Moors.

An Expat in Spain said...

Thanks artichoke adventures! I'll be sure to look for the speared granada the next time I'm in Sevilla. Thanks for the share.

Daniela Moreno said...

Hola !!! Enhorabuena por tu blog...me encanta !!
Yo vivo en el Albaicin de Granada , en un antiguo Carmen morisco y tengo 12 arboles siempre llenos de granadas ..tambien los hago en paper mache' y son muy conocidos ..si quieres verlos tengo pagina en facebook : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151065983930356.427334.289518545355&type=3 Ya me he apuntado a la tuya . Soy amiga de Molly , cuando vuelvas a Granada avisanos que nos encantaria tomar una copas en mi casa .


Gracias y feliz de conocerte

Daniela

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