A Visit through Andalusia’s Cultural Heart

Por | 9 diciembre, 2016 | 0 comentarios

A Visit through Andalusia’s Culture Heart

If you are thinking about visiting Andalusia and you don’t still know what itinerary to follow, we strongly recommend you to discover Andalusia’s cultural heart, that is, the centre of Seville, Granada and Cordoba. Andalusian history and culture are nowadays mainly visible in the streets, the buildings and the people of these splendid cities, as the three of them are mayor history and culture doers and writers. Nowhere else in the world can the Moorish background be admired in such a balanced proportion in a mixture with the Western civilization. Andalusia is also the cradle of tapas; every day, bars and restaurants offer a large number of various dishes such as Iberian ham, marinated olives, seasoned potatoes or “pescaito frito” (specially fried fish). “La tortilla del Sacromonte” is characteristic in Granada; it is a kind of brain omelet (actually made of brain of pork). If you prefer, we can change it by “migas”, which are small pieces of leftover bread with some Iberian sausage or ham. In Cordoba you should have “salmorejo” (thick tomato soup) or “rabo de toro” (stewed tail of bull).

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Andalusian Patio
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Seville

Seville is the capital of Andalusia, the largest and most populated city in the region and the 4th most important city in Spain. Seville’s downtown is not only the largest in Europe but is also entirely filled with countless precious sights and dozens of touristic and cultural landmarks.

Located upon the River Guadalquivir, it can be proud to show four UNESCO World Heritage landmarks: the Alcazar, the Cathedral, Giralda tower and the General Archive of the Indies, which should obviously be on your list of sites to visit in Seville.

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The Alcazar of Seville

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The Alcazar is the Royal Palace in Seville and was originally erected by the Moorish kings and later developed by the Medieval Christian monarchs. It is considered one of the most superb palaces in Europe and regarded as a jewel of Mudejar art. The Cathedral of Seville, which is mostly Gothic, is the largest in Spain and the third-largest Christian temple in the world. Its construction began at the end of the 13th century and ended up in 1506. As it was projected to be the greatest cathedral in the world, its sizes, beauty and richness are incredibly stunning. Given that Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral, the architectural ensemble looks absolutely magnificent. Giralda, a 103 meter high tower, was the former minaret of the old Muslim mosque. Built between 1184 and 1198 under the direction of the Islamic Andalusian architect Aben Baso, is one of the most important symbols of Muslim art in Spain. The General Archive of the Indies is housed in the ancient Merchants’ Exchange building of Seville, a Renaissance construction from 1572, designed by the great architect Juan de Herrera. It is the depository of exceptionally worthy historical documents showing the whole history of the Spanish Empire in America.

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The Cathedral of Seville and Giralda

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Other sights that you shouldn’t miss are the most famous Santa Cruz quarter (the old Jewish quarter), Plaza de España (a huge square built in 1929 and considered the best example of Regionalism Architecture) and Plaza de America, which is bounded by the Museum of Popular Arts (Neo-Mudejar style), the Archaeological Museum (Neo-Renaissance style) and the Royal Pavilion (Gothic style).

There are also plenty of other things to do in Seville. You can stroll through the narrow streets of core of the city center, take a walk by the river at sunset, have some tapas in a traditional bar and watch a flamenco show.

If you are visiting Seville and want a really good hotel to stay, we recommend the family run Boutique Hotel Alcoba del Rey de Sevilla, which is well located in the North area of the city center, next to the Basilica of Macarena, the most famous and most visited church in city. Considered a charming hotel by most clients, the establishment is a small palace wholly inspired in the Arabic Seville period. With only 15 comfortable and agreeable rooms, the staff always provides all guests with personalized and close attention and intend to make them feel like at home. Every piece of furniture and all ornaments are imported from Morocco, where they are hand made by expert artisans. We think you’ll agree that it is worth it staying in this exceptional hotel.

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Plaza de España, Sevilla

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Hotel Alcoba del Rey de Sevilla

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Hacienda San Felipe

A trip to Andalusia should always include a visit to a place that makes its most important traditions continue to be extant, that is, an excursion to a horse and fighting-bull breeding range. Hacienda San Felipe, a time-honored 432 hectares land, is one of the most important stud ranges in Spain.

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Hacienda San Felipe
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It is located about 30 km from Seville, in a pure natural country-side area; so you can go there by yourself in your own car or use their transport from hotel to the range and the other way around. In this Sevilian range, you can ride on horse-back (on pure Spanish race horses), visit cattle breeding facilities (horses and fighting-bulls), walk through a genuine Andalusian natural environment, watch a horse show or witness pure virgin olive oil production, as the range is also dedicated, to a large extent, to olive trees.

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Granada

A tour through Andalusia is never finished if you don’t visit the fantastic city of Granada, which possesses three UNESCO World Heritage landmarks. We sincerely advise you to set aside at least three days in Granada to be able to enjoy its most important sites. The Alhambra is the most visited landmark in Spain, and you need a whole one day to visit it and its surroundings alone. We strongly recommend booking tickets in advance as they usually get sold out.

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The Alhambra, Granada

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You could easily spend another two days visiting other places such as the Cathedral, the Albaicin and the Alcaiceria (the old Moorish silk market). There is also very interesting nightlife in Granada to keep anyone busy overnight too. You can go for tasty tapas, call on genuine bars and enjoy a pure flamenco show, all while you behold the amazing background of Sierra Nevada mountains the Alhambra night ornamental illumination.

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The Alhambra, Granada

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Located close to the Alhambra and in the heart of the Albaicin, there is a 16th century noble house which has been restored as the Boutique Hotel el Ladron de Agua. It epitomizes the Grenadine experience if you are searching for somewhere to stay when visiting this exciting city. Choose from double or twin rooms up to the amazing Generalife Suite, which is perfect for a honeymoon or for that special occasion. El Ladron de Agua literally translates as “The Water Thief”, from an abstract poem written by Juan Ramon Jimenez, and this beautiful boutique hotel Granada also supports local and regional art in the community.

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The Cathedral of Granada

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Hotel Ladron de Agua, Granada

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Cordoba

Cordoba has likewise an interesting large history that starts by the Guadalquivir around the 8th Century B.C. Having been Roman, later Moslem and finally Christian, this city is also essential to understand current Andalusia and the cultural melting pot that outlived in Southern Spain for centuries. As it was the capital of the old Islamic Caliphate, it is believed by most historians to have been the most important city in Europe around 950 a.D., with nearly one million inhabitants. It is most famous for the Great Mosque, which is now a Roman Catholic Church (the Mosque-Cathedral), and a most outstanding UNESCO World Heritage landmark, a historic jewel for the eyes of visitors.

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The Mosque of Cordoba

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The ancient Roman Temple, the Alcazar of the Christian Kings, Calahorra Tower, the narrow pretty streets around the Mosque, the Roman Bridge and the old Jewish quarter are landmarks that you should not miss. If you are looking for some special advice on hotels to stay in Cordoba, the best one is, no doubt, Hotel Casa de los Azulejos, a 17th century typical house in the city center, specially devoted to please all your senses..

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The old Jewish Quarter in Cordoba

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Hotel Casa de los Azulejos, Córdoba

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