The magical city of Granada has a curious name. The word in Spanish means Pomegranate, exactly the same as the red fruit. This symbol appears on many things around the city, as well as it´s official flag and coat of arms. Also on grates, drainpipes and the stunning stonework pavements.
Here´s more about this powerful symbol in the city of the Alhambra:
Here´s a real Pomegranate on a tree seen in Granada city. Pomegranates grow well in this Mediterranean climate, so it´s not surprising to see trees in and around the city. The fruit is in season from Autumn until the new year. The tree in summertime brings vibrant orange flowers. You can see tiny pomegranates coming through towards the end of the summer when you look up close.
Pomegranates have been cultivated for as long as 5000 years and once picked are very long lasting. Linked in folklore to survival, fertility and good health, across many cultures it is a highly prized fruit.
This local variety of pomegranate is used for eating as fruit, or the seeds on top of a salad (rather than for juices). They have more fibre than the other variety seen in the middle east which have softer centres.
The importance of the Pomegranate symbol for the city of Granada goes centuries. In the 15th century we can see this on fabric patterns, which I saw in the Alhambra Museum, inside the Palacio Carlos V. Since Isabel la Catolica came to power in 1492 the pomegranate was incorporated onto the official flag of Spain.
Origin of the city´s name Granada
There are many different theories about why Granada is called Granada or Pomegranate. (in Spanish), to be honest I have never got a definitive answer to this question even after living here for over 17 years. Here are a few of the different theories:
- Garnatum – The Roman word for Pomegranate was given to the city as there were many pomegranate trees here when the Romans came to this region.
- Garanat – This means Pilgrims Hill of Pilgrims in arabic.
However it is not the only name for the city over the centuries. Elvira and ilberis was previous names given by Roman and Ibero settlers.
Pomegranate on Fajalauza Ceramics
Traditional local ceramics designs are decorated with the fruit. As you can see on these Fajalauza tiles here. All the street names in Granada on set on Ceramic wall plaques, the Granada symbol is painted on the top of the sign.In blue or sometimes in Blue and green.
All over the city are bollards shaped like pomegranates. Especially around the Cathedral and Plaza Nueva area. The local council adorns manhole covers, fire hydrants and other urban features with pomegranates. So you may come across them in the most unexpected places.
This fountain below is called Pomegranate Fountain, on Plaza del Humilladero and is decorated with lots of pomegranates at the centre.
When you visit Granada keep an eye out to see where you spot pomegranates.
What are the most curious or beautiful ones you see on your travels?