Javier F. Barrera
Friday, 25 August 2023, 09:49
The Albaicín residents' association in Granada has recently held a meeting with the mayor, Marifrán Carazo, to ask her to do more to protect the old quarter of the city, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
“We must protect the Albaicín for permanent residents, reversing the process of abandonment that it has been suffering for years," they explained to the mayor.
Members of the association presented a document with a series of demands that they have drawn up, the main one being the effect that mass tourism is having on the lives of the residents and they believe that it is a matter for the city hall to deal with.
The list includes making tourist signs more visible and recommending that tour guides do not bringing large groups of visitors who the residents claim obstruct narrow streets making it difficult for residents to get around easily. They have also called for tour guides to ensure that their groups keep the noise down while visiting the historic area. "The ban on the use of loudspeakers must be enforced,” the document states.
However, one thing that the residents say they find particularly annoying is the explanations given by some of the city’s tour guides to buildings and landmarks in the Albaicín. They are calling for the guides to be faithful in their explanations and not embellish stories. "We recommend that they stick to reality and history in their descriptions, without fantasising or falsifying to embellish their story,” they state in the document.
The Albaicín residents' association recognises that "most of the guides are completely professional. In fact, the tradition of Granada's guides is recognised all over the world for their quality and good work," they say. However, they add that there are some less professional companies that have started to operate and they are the ones causing the problems.
Some of the erroneous stories that they have heard about their neighbourhood include, for example, La Carmen de la Media Luna: "It's not a palace of a prince of Islam or anything like that. That's nonsense. It is a century old and corresponds to the style of the times in which it was built. They never tire of talking nonsense about it. It's true that it's a marvel and it attracts attention, but that's it,” one fed up resident said.
Another added, “In the Placeta de Carvajales there is the problem with large groups and you can't even spend some time enjoying one of the magical corners of the Albaicín.”
Another said, “They embellish their stories without basing them on the tradition and history of the Albaicín. In the residents' association we are making an effort with conferences and guided tours to highlight the World Heritage neighbourhood, but there is no way.”
In San Gregorio Bético. "Some tourist guides love the subject of the cloistered nuns. We have even heard them say that they are young prostitutes who entered the convent to atone for their sins. It's all false.”
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