( 4 – 11 september 2015)
Geographically Andalusia is one of 17 regions in Spain, the southernmost, fully extending into the Mediterranean, so close to Africa enough to touch it.
But Andalusia is something different and embodies all the stereotypes we are used to identify the Spanish people: the bulls, bullfights, flamenco are all elements into disuse elsewhere perhaps but very present in this South of Spain.
It’s emblematic the case is of the bullfights. In Catalonia, for example, they are banned while in Andalusia bullfights are still held regularly and are an important part of Andalusian culture. Ronda is perhaps the location that best expresses this ancient culture. Infact, at Ronda there is still a monument to Pedro Romero, the greatest bullfighter of all time. An affront, perhaps, or a provocation to those who see in bullfights a bloody tradition to delete.
Andalusia is also the region that has been for over 800 years under the rule of the Arabs, so long a period as to leave indelible marks in the culture, traditions, architecture, and in the styles of the cities.
At Cordoba, for example, there was the largest mosque in that time and also today the most important civil and religious monuments of the region, (the Cathedral of Seville, the Mezquita, the Alhambra, the Collegiate Ronda, the Giralda) are Moorish style and are built in places that were once occupied by Islamic religious buildings. Andalusia as a true Arab outpost in the middle of Europe.
There are also, of course, modern elements, such as Spanish Square in Seville, newly built but absolutely unique style. Or Malaga, a modern, bustling port city that gave birth to Picasso (but also to Antonio Banderas).
The tours usually start from Malaga or Seville, the most important airports in the region.
Seville, Cordoba and Granada are the essential steps for anyone who wants to see this beautiful region. Cities such as Malaga and Ronda are a natural complement to any tour. Gibraltar, which strictly speaking is not Andalusia, still worth a visit.
NOT TO BE MISSED
At Seville, Plaza de Espana, the Cathedral, the Real Alcazar.
At Cordoba, the Mezquita.
At Granada, the Alhambra (in particular, the Patio of the Lions).
WORTH A VISIT
The historic center of Malaga, with the Cathedral and the Alcazaba
The historic center of Ronda
YOU CAN ALSO AVOID
WHERE TO EAT
At Seville: LA CUEVA – Calle Rodrigo Caro n. 18
At Malaga: BAR Hispanic – Plaza De La Merced n. 16
At Cordoba: TABERNA LA TAPA – Calle Deanes No. 1
At Granada: GALLIO – Plaza Bib Rambla n. 14
At Ronda:RESTAURANT CASA ORTEGA – Plaza del Socorro n. 1
At Gibraltar: FIGARO ENGLISH TEA ROOM 9 Market Lane
WHERE TO STAY
At Seville: SEVILLA CENTER HOTEL – Avenida de la Buhaira n. 24
At Malaga: HILTON GARDEN INN – Avenida Velazquez n. 126
At Granada: GRANADA CENTER HOTEL – Avenida Fuentenueva s / n