There isn't much I can add to all that has been said about this magnum opus of Muslim rule in Spain. It's one of those places that you just have to visit at least once in your lifetime. I've been lucky enough to visit it three times and I'm still waiting to go back for a fourth and snap some more photos. I tried going last August, but it's almost impossible to go in the high season if you don't reserve tickets well ahead of time. And anyways, the summertime heat and groups of tourists make me prefer to visit in the spring or fall.
It's no coincidence that the Plaza de España has been the set for many movies (Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, etc.) thanks to its masterful architecture. Anibal Gonzélez designed multiple buildings from the Ibero-American Expo of 1929 but this is definitely the high-point. It's simply so photogenic that I never get tired of snapping it from all angles.
To go inside the Cathedral-Mosque of Córdoba is to go inside another world, where you can see the remains of different cathedrals and of different time periods in the floors, structures and walls, as well as in the relics.
This church, “Mother of the Diocese”, like it is called, is not just a symbol for the believers but it is also a millenary witness of a passionate and captivating history. From the first Islamic influence inspired in the Mosque of Damascus, combined with Roman-Hispanic art and the superimposed arches alternating with bricks and red stones, along with the enlargement of the naves of the oratory, or with the materials used by Byzantine artists with beautiful mosaics for the construction of the “mihrab” (sacred space where the imam conducts prayer), and the Christian contribution of the floor with a Latin cross structure or the eight naves that vary in colors.
The current tower covers the minaret crowed by a statue of St. Raphael, Guardian Archangel of the city. This tower has the Puerta del Perdón (Forgiveness Door), which is the main entrance to the place.
The first mass that was celebrated after the Christians took back the space was conducted by the King Ferdinand the 3rd in 1236, and they build the Main Chapel of Villaviciosa, which marked the beginning of the Christian cult that was interrupted with the Islamic domination.
The choir is covered with a vault inspired from the Sistine Chapel. The beautiful side chapel, the infinite number of paintings, images, chapels and altars are impossible to describe.
La Giralda is a part of the Cathedral of Seville, although for its history it deserves its own separate chapter. Not for nothing, it is all that remains of the mosque on which the aforementioned cathedral was built.
It is the tallest building in Seville, not counting the Alamillo Bridge, and at one time, was the tallest tower in the world.
Inside it does not have stairways but ramps. It was created this way so that horses could climb to its highest point. It is crowned by a set of bells and Christian architecture (Renaissance) and by the very well-known Giraldillo, a weathervane statue that symbolizes faith and which eventually gave name to the whole building.
Although the ascent might be a little harsh, it is worth walking the Paseo de los Tristes (The Path of the Sad) until the higher part of Albaicín. A magical neighbourhood, full of mystery, almost a village in the middle of the mountains which looks upon the Alhambra and the snow-capped mountains.
And in the higher area there is the view of Saint Nicolás. A raised area at the feet of a church from where there is a magnificent view of the Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada in the background. Additionally, the craftsmen of the area take it as an opportunity to offer all sorts of craft (necklaces, earrings, rings, ashtrays, puppets and a great variety of products) because every visitor to Granada has to go up there. They are not annoying nor insisting so the charm of the place is preserved, they even contribute to it.
Dusk at the Mirador is one of the best sensations one can have in Granada.
The descent through the narrow streets and alleys of the Albaicín until arriving at Elvira Street is wonderful. And the last stretch, La Calle de Calderería Nueva, better known as Tea-Shop Road, is the perfect place to sit down and have a tea with Arabic sweets, and rest after the walk.
When you walk into this place you get the feeling that it was great. If you take it slowly you can appreciate Arab, Jewish and Christian craftsmanship in a harmony that makes you reflect on tolerance and respect between different cultures and religions. In particular, the Patio de las Doncellas (courtyard of the maidens) is a gem to discover.
The sentence that might best describe Granada is "There is no greater misfortune than being blind in Granada" and the trendiest touristic slogan comes from the ex-USA president Bill Clinton, declaring that the sunset from Albaicín is the loveliest in the world.
I recommend visiting the Alhambra early in the morning and going in the late afternoon to see the sunset from the Mirador de San Nicolás in Albaicín then continuing on to Sacromonte, the neighbourhood of the cave-houses and the art of "zambra", the music and dance of Arabic origin which is typical there.
The Albaicín preserves much of the original urban physiognomy like various other medieval constructions. The three elements possess a complementary value to the whole and succeed in creating a unique and universal significance.
Albaicín was the Court of the Zirid monarchs in the 11th century; it is considered the last Arab stronghold before they were completely expelled from Granada.
Today Albaicin is a suburb of the city from where one can see the Alhambra, in which still remains parts of the Moorish wall as well as different doors such as Puerta Elvira or even an Almohad Mansion.
Perhaps the fact that being half from there and having family there, my objectivity may be impaired, but along with those of Toledo and Granada (cathedrals I've seen), that of Seville is one of the most impressive and beautiful in Spain.
Since before Easter it has been undergoing an exterior remodelling process recovering the authentic background colour of its stone, whilst its interior pillars remain in process of repair.
For those who do not know or have not seen, besides the cathedral itself, the price one pays to see the treasure that lies at the side and the to climb La Giralda, I sincerely recommend, although you must be patient, as there are 36 flights of ramps (by the way, do not wear shoes that slide).
From each one of the ramps you have small windows from which you are able to take photos of the details of the roofs and spikes of the cathedral which are amazing. On top of everything, from the bell tower, you have the best views of Seville.
With a good zoom, La Maestranza (Plaza de Toro’s) seems right next door. A place I recommend, especially if you like photography.
For me, the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower) is one of the most beautiful monuments in the city, both by itself and in its strategic location, always safeguarding the river Guadalquivir...
It has always been "undervalued" when compared with La Giralda, but townspeople have wanted and respected it in through its most difficult times, so much so that after the conquest of the city by Ferdinand III in 1248, the abandonment ensued with the Tower. Thus, it arrived in the sixteenth century in a ruinous state, which meant it needed to undergo important works of consolidation.
Thanks to this consolidation work it reached the eighteenth century, in which the terrible Lisbon earthquake of 1755 shook the city and severely affected the tower. These were critical moments in its continued existence, because although in 1760 they mended the damages and added the upper section, just before the chief officer of Justice Marqués de Monte Real proposed its demolition, to widen the promenade for horse carriages and leave the passage of San Telmo to the Triana Bridge straighter.
The strong opposition from the people of Seville (Even reaching the King) prevented the perpetration of such destruction. A subsequent death threat came from the hands of the Revolution of 1868, whose revolutionaries, who had hurried the demolition of the canvas walls, went up for sale so they could exploit their demolition materials.
Again, the popular opposition were those that made sure the tower survived. It is therefore that I think the Torre de Oro is a symbol of struggle and survival in itself, for all the times it’s had to face destruction and yet always emerged triumphant.
Named, through history, as the “Pirate Coast”, this name comes from the maritime incursions of the Berbers and pirates that arrived at the coasts to get fresh water and rest in the calm villages before going back to the sea.
The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park is Andalucía’s first maritime-land park. It is of volcanic origin and it is the largest protected space with ecological relevance of all the Western Europe Mediterranean Sea.
It has one of the most beautiful and rich coastal strips of the Mediterranean, with 65 kilometers of coast. This park has become one of the natural jewels for the tourism in Almería, Andalucía and the rest of Spain.
It has coves, nudists’ beaches, with rocky cliffs, sandy and pebbled beaches. It is not massively frequented, so the tourists can enjoy a mild climate to practice water sports and other activities relates to the marine world throughout the year.
It is one of my favorite paradises, where it is calm and peaceful.
This newly opened building leaves no one indifferent. Beyond absurd political disputes, it’s a place unlike anything elsewhere.
To me, a fan of photography, it is a place full of artistic possibilities. I get the idea that Parisians though of something similar when Eiffel sculpted his most famous work in old Paris.
Little by little, this enclave will acquire fame and everyone will want to see it when visiting my hometown of Seville.
In my opinion the Roman Bridge gives the most beautiful view of Cordoba. It crosses the Guadalquivir and has connected the two sides of the city for two thousand years. The best time to go is at dusk, when the lights of the mosque/cathedral and the city are blazing in all their glory. Views aside, the ride is very pleasant, there is a bike path on the north bank and a lovely walk under the bridge on the south bank. In the middle of the bridge there is a statues of the archangel Raphael which must not be missed!
It's part of my life, the source of my inspiration, I would stay here forever if I could. There are impressive sunsets, the color is worthy of the best paintings. Couples are drawn to the area and the murmur of the waves and seagulls makes for a very romantic setting. People from Cadiz are passionate about La Caleta, a family beach, yacht club and fishing area ... I assure you that it has real charm at any time of day or night.
Seville, 1845. By order of Queen Isabel II, did the construction of this marvellous piece of engineering begin. Seven years later, it would be completed.
It is now known as the "Triana Bridge" because that's the name of the neighbourhood in which it is located. Although christened Isabel II Bridge, nobody knows it as such.
The park has this romantic halo that different events throughout history, have contributed towards.
Fundamental the Latin American Exposition of 1929 which endowed a masterful architecture to the enclosure. Anibal Gonzalez, with his culminating work, the Plaza de España, knew how to conceive a space that for photography lovers presents a real gold mine.
In these times of stress and crisis, Maria Luisa Park, in Seville, takes on added value. One only need only stroll through it to realize that we are in a place with charm and a special magic.
The sound of the fountains and the fresh scent of the morning complete a revitalizing experience. At various points you can unite different experiences, such as feeding the pigeons (Plaza de America), ride a bike (including family cycles) or entertain one’s self taking photographs of the incomparable Plaza de España.
A place to lose or, better said, win a morning.
Los Muertos Beach is in Carboneras (Almería), Spain. This beach has superb quality waters that are always ready for you whenever you're ready to go down the narrow stairs, because if you spend a few hours enjoying one of the best beaches on the coast of Almeria you'll have to be prepared with an umbrella and a mini fridge because there's no beach bar or anything to eat at that offers shade and something cool to drink. The bedrock gives you some natural shade, but unless you wake up really early it's always busy.
The Courtyards of Cordoba is an annual festival which takes place in mid-May in the Andalusian city of Cordoba. During two weeks, the city’s residents open up their homes in a bid to out-do each other for the title of the city’s best courtyard gardener. Courtyards have always been a huge part of Andalusian design, from the days of the Romans to the Moors to the present, but these gardens take things to a whole new level.
Due to the increasing popularity of the festival among locals and visiting tourists, you need to reserve your passes online ahead of time (they’re free of charge). The competition is divided by neighborhoods and you can reserve morning or afternoon passes to as many of the neighborhoods as you like so long as there are openings and, of course, you have the time to visit them. The best courtyards are found in the Juderia (the old Jewish neighborhood) and the more traditional Alcazar Viejo neighborhood just to the southwest of the mosque. The gardens of the Juderia are the most famous but they’re also the most touristy and there’s a good chance that you’ll be swamped in long lines of tourist groups ve’ve traveled from around Spain and abroad just to see the festival. Your best bet is to get a morning pass and head to the Alcazar Viejo neighborhood first to enjoy at least some of the courtyards without all the crowds.
We did a route of around 5 or 6 courtyards and they were truly stunning: The combination of clear blue sky, white-washed walls, blue pots, and intense red geraniums is perhaps the defining image of Cordoba. In between visits, you’ll find a generally festive atmosphere on the streets with impromptu bars and public flamenco performances taking place. If you can, try to visit the courtyards during the week when there are sure to be less people.