Last week, if you missed it, was “World Anti-Noise Day”, and in Granada, they celebrated it with the inauguration of five “SoundTrails” – five walks where you are most likely to hear noises associated with the southern Andalusian city.
The University of Granada’s Department of Applied Physics has helped locate 53 specially designated “acoustic points”. These include the best streets and squares for hearing the wailing of the muezzin in the mosque, gushing water in Granada’s many fountains, the roar of its underground river beneath the Alhambra’s cliffs, the birds’ dawn chorus in the city’s old quarter – the Albaicin monastery church bells, the breeze through trees in Granada’s Carmenes (ornate, walled private gardens) and the sombre bonging of the clock in the former Royal Chancellery.
There are even locations where – eat your heart out Simon and Garfunkel – the aim is to listen to silence in the heart of the city.
Missing from the list of Granada sounds, of course, are more universal urban Spanish noises. These could include the late-night thud-thud-thud of high-powered moped exhausts, the bellowing of lottery ticket vendors or, in residential areas, the uncanny undulating electronic whistle sound heralding the arrival of mobile knife sharpening vans.