Anand & Madhura Katti are memerised with Andalusía’s vibrant history and magnificent architecture. Pablo Picasso was born in this town.
Andalusía in Southern Spain is an amazing destination. It is from here that Christopher Columbus had first set sail to discover America. The Moors ruling parts of Andalusía for 800 years from the early 8th century have left behind vibrant history with magnificent art and architecture that can still be seen at the alcazabas (citadels), fortalezas (fortresses) and castillos (castles).
Malaga, the capital of Costa del Sol region in Andalusia have added to the cultural mix through incoming sailors and merchants from Eastern Mediterranean. The lunch at restaurant Entremere, literally meaning between the seas (Mediterranean and Atlantic seas) by the sea-side is refreshing on arrival into the city. The view reveals people enjoying walks at the harbor-front. A fleet of anchored Habega (fishing boat)s await their evening venture into the sea. A crane levels the bund on the harbor, a regular activity to maintain pace with visitors rush.
City’s inviting beaches, moderate climate, relaxed pace of life and a fiesta of tasty cuisine make an attractive combination. The city has a population of half a million and receives 13 million visitors a year.
Eating and sunbathing are favourite pastimes in Malaga. When not involved in either, you can explore the city’s popular spots on foot, walking under the cool purple hues of Jacaranda trees. Two most popular sites-the Roman amphitheater and the Alcazaba, the Moorish Fortress lie next to each other.
The Alcazaba is a Moorish fortification dating from the 8th and 11th century Kings of Granada. It overlooks the recently restored Roman amphitheatre that is right below. City´s fortunes over the centuries can be followed inside Alcazaba, at the archeological museum that houses Phoenician, Roman and Moorish artifacts. It has intricate archways and a well maintained garden. The view point at the top gives a bird’s eye view of the city and its port, including the bullring near the harbour. Streets leading to the Cathedral of the Incarnation, a renaissance majesty have a nineteenth century atmosphere. The city centre is a combination of the old design and Islamic legacy. The house where Picasso was born is now a foundation dedicated to the study of his work and retains many of his things in-cluding his childhood clothes and toys.
Malaga is the city of Picasso; the legendary artist started his famous artistry from here. The Picasso Museum houses varied display of works from all his eras. Sketches, paintings, sculptures and porcelain art, which Picasso developed in his 60’s on visits to potters in Paris, are all on display.
We move onto Sevilla, the capital of Andalusia. On a walking tour, the picturesque city with roots drawn from deep history reveals a marvel at every turn. Intricately carved heavy iron patios of homes and offices seem to vie with one another to display their prize possessions of geraniums, carnations, pansies, bougainvillea and ivy.
Cathedral and Giralda Tower
Sevilla Cathedral is the world’s largest Gothic building and the Giralda tower standing next to it is a masterpiece of Almohad architecture. Consecrated in 1507, it is the third largest church in the world next to St. Peter’s in Rome and St’ Paul’s in London. The Cathedral was originally built as a mosque by the Almohads in the late 12th century. Later it was renovated for a long time to incorporate intricate architecture of the imposing basilica built over the mosque. It has a massive gold altarpiece. The supposed tomb of Columbus here is a disputed claim.
The huge Alcazar palace has intricate Mardeka design owing to its construction by the then Muslim rulers of Spain. The Arabian style palace was built during various epochs. Its first fortifications probably date to 9th century, made to defend the town of the Normans. Later on architects and artists from Granada built here a palace for a Moorish king. But the major part of today’s palace was constructed after the Christian re-conquest of the town in 1248, by King Pedro “The Cruel”. Gardens of the palace are beautifully laid out.
Archivo De Indias
Located in the heart of Santa Cruz, ‘Archivo General de Indias’, the archive of all documents related to the discovery of America is a renaissance building that originally was a stock-exchange building built in 1572.
Together these three buildings are listed under UNESCO world Heritage site and form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville.
The quarter of Triana, across the bridge over river Guadalquivir has charming narrow streets and traditional ceramic factories. People walk and jog along the riverside.
Torre de Oro, the octagonal Moorish “Gold-Tower” along Guadalquivir River houses the maritime museum. Its name comes from the golden ceramic tiles which originally covered its front and.
Christopher Columbus’s voyage point
Down South, Huelva and its surroundings are home to attractions relating to Christopher Columbus and his famous exploration of America. Cristóbal Colón (as he is known in Spain), stayed at La Rábida monastery with his captains during 1491-92 waiting for financial backing from the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella before venturing on his voyage to the New World. As you move through the two storey building, the monastery shows how the world changed after 1492.
‘Rábida’, Arabic word for fortress, was constructed in 1412 during Moorish stronghold and its influences can still be seen in its Mudéjar architecture. The monastery has a 14th-century church, where Captain Martín Alonso Pinzón, who sailed with Columbus in one of his ships, is buried. Murals in one of the monastery’s rooms depict Columbus’s life, painted by the renowned local artist Daniel Vásquez Díaz in the 1930s. In the Banderas room are flags from all the Latin American countries, along with a casket of earth from each. The monastery is surrounded by well groomed garden with exotic plants.
Spanish cuisine is distinguished by the use of Olive oil as well as the inclusion of a wide variety of fruits along with vegetables. Andalucian cuisine is popular for its small fried fish and Gazpachos, soups of diced tomatoes, cucumber and the green peppers, vinegar and garlic served hot or cold with a sprinkling of croutons. Paella, Spanish rice dish with saffron, vegetables and seafood is a delicacy portioned directly from the flat iron cooking dish at the table. Tapas are snacks and appetizers typical to Spain. A combination of these, sometimes at different restaurants, can be a meal in itself.
Christopher Columbus’s passport can be seen at La Rabida Monastery. Columbus led his three ships the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria out of Spanish port of Palos on 3 August 1492. The tall monument erected at the port in 1992 commemorated 500 years of discovery of America.
Visa: Indian nationals need a visa to visit Spain.
Getting there: One can take an Air India or Lufthansa, flight up to Frankfurt, Munich, & onwards take Lufthansa, or Iberia, up to Malaga or Seville.
Hotels: There is a wide range of hotels available five star to budget categories.
Important websites: – www.airindia.in ,www.lufthansa.com , www.andalucia.org or www.spain.info/en_IN
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