Granada has many things that make it unique and one of them is that it has been the cradle of many people who have made history in Spain and the world. Among them are writers, painters, singers, sportsmen and women; a bit of everything. The diversity that exists in the city is reflected in the people and their passions.
There are a thousand stories about Granada and its people; the illustrious characters that we present to you below have known their true passion in the streets of this wonderful city and thanks to its essence. These people have left their mark on the city, making it even richer in culture than it already was. Some of them made history beyond the borders, but still they always had their origin and their city very much in mind, and they made everybody know the city of Granada.
Spanish Literature is made up of many authors; it is almost impossible to say who is the best. However, if we can say that many of those who have formed our literature have come from Granada. Perhaps they have been inspired by the beauty and uniqueness of this Andalusian city.
He is one of the most well-known and recognized poets both in Spain and abroad. He was born in Granada, specifically in the town of Fuentevaqueros, in 1898. This author belonged to the Generation of 27, a period that received a group of important avant-garde artists.
Federico García Lorca lived many events in his life; he had a surrealist style and also an avant-garde one. He travelled a lot and he was known as Federico of the gypsies or Federico de los gitanos, due to his passion for flamenco and the gypsy ethnic. But one thing is certain: Lorca never stopped being Federico de Granada. He was inspired by his city for many of his poems and works, and, as it is said, Granada is Lorca and Lorca is Granada. Some of his most important works are Bodas de sangre and Poeta en Nueva York.
In spite of his full life and all he contributed to our history, as he is still the most read Spanish poet today, Lorca’s life had a tragic ending. It is impossible to forget how this poet died. His story ended when he was shot on the road to Víznar de Alfacar after the coup d’état in 1936. In the day he died, August 18, his story was still unfinished, but his legacy was never forgotten.
The writer Francisco Ayala was born in Granada in 1906 and was one of the most important avant-garde writers of the 20th century. He travelled a lot during his life, but he always remembered his origins. During the Civil War he had to go into exile in Argentina and later worked at the University of Puerto Rico, and then in the United States.
He received the Cervantes Prize in 1991 and became a professor of Spanish literature, as well as a sociologist. Some of his works are El boxeador y un ángel (1929) and Cazador en el alba (1930). He was also named Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Granada. On the other hand, and not less important, he was also an important translator. In conclusion, Francisco Ayala was a man with many occupations, as he had many more. He enriched the culture of Granada as the culture of his city enriched him.
We must tell you about historical characters who were born in Granada. It is one of the cities with more history in the world since many people and cultures have walked through its streets. We present you two women who marked the past of Granada.
This woman from Granada was born in 1826 and has a very curious history. One day in the Albaicín neighbourhood of Granada, a fortune-teller read her hand and told her that one day she would be queen. A few years later she met Napoleon the 3rd and he fell in love with Eugenia, a woman full of life who conquered all hearts. She married in 1853 at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and at that time she began her period as Empress of France until 1871. Eugenia de Montijo was very much loved by all French people and obtained many decorations. However, the end of her life was not as beautiful as the beginning, as she had to endure the death of her beloved, her son and her sister, bringing her period as Empress to an end and also her happiness. She lived in deep mourning until the end of her days.
She was a pure-bred Andalusian and Granadan woman and she spread her charm wherever she went. Madame Carette described her personality as incomparable and full of grace, typical of someone born in an Andalusian city, especially Granada.
She was born and died in Granada and she was a liberal heroine. She was born in 1804 and although she had a short life, she did a lot to help liberals. She had three children when she was very young, but that didn’t stop her from continuing to do her work. During the Liberal Triennium, Mariana joined the cause and welcomed into her home many people who were being persecuted. After the death of her husband, she disappeared from Granada and no one knows where she was, but she returned to her hometown which she loved so much. She continued to help people, like her cousin, Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor Ramírez, to escape from prison. Over the years, the mayor and authorities became suspicious of her and that she might be related to the liberals.
She ended up being arrested and sentenced to death, and many poems were written in the city of Granada against this event, for example:
“Granada is sad
Because Mariana Pineda
To the gibbet she goes
Because Pedrosa and his people
Her executioners are,
And this has been his revenge
Because Mariana de Pineda
Didn’t give him her love”
«Granada triste está
Porque Mariana Pineda
A la horca va
Porque Pedrosa y los suyos
Sus verdugos son,
Y esta ha sido su venganza
Porque Mariana de Pineda
Su amor no le dio»
She died at the age of 26 in 1831. Her death was interpreted as a punishment for the cause of the liberals, but Mariana did not abandon her dignity even at the moment of her death, since it is said that she refused to have her garters removed in order to, in her words, “not go to the scaffold with her stockings down”.
We cannot forget this art so characteristic of Spain and, above all, from Andalusia. Of course, some important flamenco artist should be from Granada and that is the case of Enrique Morente.
He was born in Granada in 1942 and was a flamenco singer who renewed this art form. He is a very famous cantaor (flamenco singer) and he released many albums that showed this renewal: he mixed the classical style with modern touches that gave another meaning to flamenco.
In 1972 he was offered the Premio Nacional del Cante, a national award. Moreover, he sang in many cities around the world, taking Spanish art and, above all, the art of Granada beyond the borders. He was known as Enrique el granaíno and always took into account his origins wherever he went.