Granada is much more than the Alhambra. As you climb up Granada’s tiny, twisting streets, you will find street names on beautiful blue and white ceramic plaques. What is behind the names of these streets? Molly Sears-Piccavey experiences the nuances of this beautiful city.
By Molly Sears- Picavey
I have been living in Granada for over six years and thought that I knew the city well. However, walking down a street in the town centre I noticed an unfamiliar name of a side street, Calle Cobertizo y Faltriquera, a long name for a small street.
Even though I am bilingual, I realized that I wasn’t sure what cobertizo really meant and I’d certainly never heard of that name. I asked a few Granadino friends if they had any ideas about this obscure street name and no one seemed to know.
This street is just off to the right of San Matias, in Granada’s Realejo quarter. A cobertizo is a first floor covered gallery that links one building with another, with windows, creating a connecting space above a small street. There are examples of this feature still visible throughout Spain, such as in Toledo or Extremadura.
On the map of Granada you can read other street names that begin with the word Cobertizo, such as:
• Cobertizo de Zarate, named after the Zarates, a noble Basque family that lived in that house.
• Cobertizo de Santo Domingo. You can go to see still today this in the Realejo area.
• Cobertizo de Santa Inés. This cobertizo is part of a hotel called Carmen Del Cobertizo
The word faltriquera, as in Calle Cobertizo y Faltriquera, is also found on many street signs. It was a pouch used mainly by women to carry money, keys or trinkets and hung below the waist. Usually made of cloth, it was worn up until the 17th century when pockets began to be added to garments.
Although I now know what it is, I still didn’t find out exactly why the street has the name Faltriquera linked to it, it may be related to paying fines at an office along this road. Faltriquera originates from a Mozarabic word hatrikaya, which was a place to store trinkets.
There are many other names that get your imagination going. One of my favourites is the Arch of the Weights, el Arco de las Pesas, just a short walk from the Mirador de San Nicolas in the Albayzin quarter. On this solid stone archway, you can see the old weights nailed onto it’s walls. These weights were not true, but they were used by merchants to cheat customers at the market on near by Plaza Larga, by selling underweight merchandise. The weights were nailed high up so that they could not be used again.
Molly is originally from Nottingham, UK moved to Spain in the 1990s wanting to use her Spanish.S he lived in Barcelona for nine years and now lives and works in Granada . Find out more about life in Granada at her blog http://mollysp.wordpress.com/