The peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims after the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada in 1492 did not last long. Even the district physiognomy was changing due to the increasing orthodoxy of the faith. The expulsion of the Moriscos in 1570 led to the depopulation of the Albayzín.
After the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada in 1492, the Albayzín would gradually become a stronghold for the Morisco population (the Muslims that remained in the Peninsula after the Christian conquest). During the first years, the cohabitation was peaceful because the Treaty of Granada of 1492 was respected, and so the Muslims had the right to practice their religion and to maintain their legislation.
However, on the 18th of December 1499, an uprising occurred in the Albayzín, due to a radical and prohibitive policy implemented by the Spanish cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, which violated the Treaty of Granada. In the XVI century, due to the change in policy, Christians started to burn Korans and to build the first churches in the district.
From the 16th century, the Catholic Church pressured its Muslim citizens to convert to Christianity. They started to burn Korans in the square called Plaza Bib-Rambla and to build churches. These were used as organisations for the indoctrination that ensued and for the control of the religious orthodoxy. The Albayzín of the 16th century would become the last stronghold of the Moorish population. Christians built churches where there were Mosques before and created the first religious orders. Christians also built noblemen’s palaces in the lower part of the Albayzín, widened streets and public spaces and generally modified the urban landscape of the district.
From 1570, when the Moriscos were definitively expelled from the Kingdom of Granada, the Albayzín district was left all but abandoned. At the time, the Spanish crown decided to institute a policy of repopulation, which was a total failure as the Christians did not want to live on the hill. This situation, coupled with a number of natural disasters, increased the process of decline that affected the entire hill except for the right bank of the Darro River, which was occupied by the Christian nobility.
In the 17th century, the Albayzín suffered from permanent neglect and ruin. The few people who lived in the district were farmers or practised some traditional activities such as: leather embossing, boiler making, typical sandal crafting , fabric dyeing , silk spinning, etc.
Miguel Carrascosa writes the following in his book titled El Albayzín en la leyenda, las tradiciones y la Literatura (Legends, traditions and literature of the Albayzín):
“The Albayzín has always been a poor and marginalised district except for the first 250 years of the Nasrid period (1232-1492). This period was marked by a growth of the craftwork and the silk industry (fabrics and labours related to it). The decline of the district started in 1572 with the expulsion of the Mudejar population, and it degenerated between the XVII and the XIX century. This decline intensified during the first fifty years of the XX century. During the sixties, its population decreased by 50% due to heavy rainstorms that struck Granada. The standard of living of the inhabitants was improved due to the restoration of democracy in 1978. So, it is possible to affirm that the district overcame the painful adversities derived from the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.”