When we speak of legends, we are referring to those very old tales, such as myths, fables and fairy tales, which all belong to the cultural heritage of a population. These stories are typical of the oral tradition and combine real narrative elements with wonderful ones. Legend derives from the Latin word ‘legenda’. It means ‘things to be read’ or ‘worthy of being read’. They often refere to stories about the lives of saints and especially their miracles. Over the years, this term has acquired a broader meaning, to the point of meaning any tale containing real elements, but transformed by the imagination, which is handed down to celebrate facts and characters fundamental to the history of a people, also to narrate features of the natural environment or to answer questions. Andalusia is notoriously magical and mystical, and its cities are also famous for the legends that circulate about various themes and events.
1. The treasure of the Sacromonte
The Sacromonte holds a thousand and one stories, but there is one that, if true, could change someone’s life, financially speaking. According to legend, when the Nasrid Kingdom fell during the War of Granada (1482-1492), fleeing Arab nobles hid their possessions on Monte de Valparaíso, the hill on which today stands the spectacular Sacromonte quarter, a must if you visit the city of Granada. These hidden treasures were eagerly sought after by the slaves. They were freed after the Arab-Christian conflict. According to legend, although they found nothing in their excavations, this work served as their refuge. They were the creators of the famous Sacromonte caves, or so they say. The treasure? No trace yet.
Legend has it that in 1492, when the Catholic monarchs conquered the kingdom of Granada and after King Boabdil, the last Moorish king to surrender without a fight, handed over the keys to the city, an event occurred that gave rise to a phrase we have all heard at one time or another. The Catholic monarchs exiled Boabdil and hoisted their flag of Christian Spain on the heights of the Alhambra to show the victory and surrender of the Moors in Spain. It is said that during his journey to his exile in the Alpujarras, Boabdil did not even dare to turn his head back. Once far away, he stopped on the hill formerly known as ‘El Suspiro del Moro’. He looked at the palace and the whole city he had just lost at his feet. In this last glimpse, according to the legends of Granada, he sighed and burst into tears. And it was at that moment that his mother, Ayesha, surprised and angry as well as embarrassed, addressed the familiar word to him: ‘You cry like the women you have failed to defend as a man’.
One of the most famous rooms in the Alhambra is the fountain of the lions. Its origin is not very clear. It has several legends, none of which are confirmed. On the one hand, the twelve lions have astrological symbolism, each lion alluding to a sign of the zodiac. On the other hand, it has a political or Mayastatic meaning. It is linked to King Solomon’s temple and to the bronze sea of the same temple. Finally, it alludes to a heavenly symbol. They refere to the original source of life and the four rivers of the Koranic paradise. But what seems clear is that the fountain as such is an allegory of the power residing in the sultan.