Flamenco and Granada: La Zambra Gitana

The history of flamenco places the city of Granada as one of the main flamenco capitals of Andalusia. To understand the history and roots of Flamenco in Granada you have to go back and look back, specifically to the Sacromonte neighborhood. It is this picturesque neighborhood of the city, the gypsy neighborhood, the epicenter of the duende, the jondura and the origin of the Zambra.

History and origin of Flamenco in Granada

The history of Flamenco in Granada dates back to the time when Arab, Jewish and Christian cultures coexisted. It is thanks to the fusion between the different musical and cultural traditions of these towns that flamenco begins to develop.


But to truly understand the origin of Flamenco in Granada we have to travel to Sacromonte, a neighborhood that is one of the best-known cradles not only of Flamenco in Granada, but in all of Spain.

After the conquest of the city by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, the Moors who lived in the city of Granada were forced to abandon the city walls, so they had to settle on the outskirts, specifically in Sacromonte. It is in this neighborhood where they mix with the gypsies from India who had been entering the south of the peninsula and had already settled in the area.

It is at this moment when the two cultures begin to live and coexist, mixing in different ways, since there was a lot of affinity between them because both were marginalized by the society of the time.

In 1499, the Catholic Monarchs enacted a law that forced gypsies to leave their nomadic lifestyle and settle in one place. This fact, together with the definitive expulsion of the Moors, made Sacromonte become the definitive gypsy neighborhood of Granada.

La Zambra Gitana, what is it?

Zambra gitana

The Zambra Gitana is an undoubted part of Granada Flamenco. The origin of the word comes from the Arabic zamra, which means flute, so its own etymology already gives us a clue to understand what it is about.

La Zambra was born in the Sacromonte neighborhood, specifically in the caves inhabited by gypsies. This song and dance is inspired by the Moorish weddings in the city of Granada, which were prohibited in the 16th century but continued to be celebrated clandestinely. Over time this inspiration focuses squarely on that of the gypsies, thus beginning to be part of their own weddings.

It was between the 16th and 19th centuries when travelers and romantic writers arrived in Granada, and Zambra and flamenco emerged as an artistic expression that was beginning to be appreciated throughout the world.

The resurgence and rise of Flamenco in Granada is also due in part to Federico García Lorca, Manuel de Falla and other members of the Rinconcillo gathering who organized a Cante Jondo competition, dignifying and disseminating flamenco culture and the Zambra Gitana of Sacromonte.

La Zambra Gitana Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Flamenco en palacio

In February 2019, the Granada City Council began the procedures for UNESCO to recognize the Zambra Gitana as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

To this day, flamenco continues to be a very important part of Granada’s culture, with places like Flamenco en Palacio where you can enjoy the deepest flamenco in Granada.