Andalucia as a region of Spain, has benefited as member of the European Union. It has experienced a dramatic improvement in the standard of living. The poverty of the Andalucian countryside has been largely eliminated and its people have regained their pride in the local culture, which flourishes alongside the benefits of improved roads, modern health care and high-tech infrastructures. On the other hand the GDP per capita and the levels of unemployment remain the worst in Europe. The romantic image of Andalucia, in spite of progress, is still very much a thing of the present.
Granada – The Alhambra Palace and much more
Granada city is famous for its rich culture and history. It combines influences from Moorish, Jewish, Roman and Christian traditions. From the gypsy neighborhood in the Sacromonte to the Moorish neighborhood in the Albaicin, the streets of Granada are a story of it’s diverse history.
Alhambra’s spectacular palaces and gardens have been declared UNESCO World Heritage site. Located in the city of Granada, this site received 2,315,017 visitors last year. (2013 figures) This began as a fortress over 1000 years ago. As the years passed it changed gradually as different monarchs conquered the Kingdom of Al Andalus.
The area of Cordoba is another region in Spain influenced by the occupation of several Kingdoms throughout history. Also famous for its colourful Patio festival or ‘battle of the flowers’ held in Spring, Cordoba is another one of Andalusia’s must see places.
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Mezquita of Cordoba is well worth a visit. Building of this impressive mosque began in 786 and took around 200 years to complete. This Cathedral mosque is located in the centre of old quarter of Cordoba. The central hall is full of hundreds of columns and arches. Many of these stone columns came from other countries across the empire although at a first glance they look alike.
The coastal towns of Malaga are popular places for holiday rentals because of their beaches and nightlife, but the old quarter of Malaga city should also be included on your visit. The city has it´s own fortress or Alcazaba and the impressive Roman amphitheatre too. The views from the Alcazaba over the coastline and the port are well worth the jaunt up the hill. As you walk around the city centre you may see flower sellers with white jasmine flowers for sale. Known locally as biznagas they make an unusual gift to take home. Don´t miss the Calle Larios, the main commercial street or the bar Pimpi, a must see for any visitor to Malaga.
The city of Seville is famous for its Easter processions and it´s traditional Feria de Abril. If you have chance to visit at Eastertime you will be able to enjoy the intense atmosphere of the Easter processions known as Semana Santa. The Feria de abril follows after easter and lasts for 10 days. Colourful flamenco dresses and lots of bottles of manzanilla dry wine are enjoyed each year at the fair. This time of year the temperature in Seville is perfect for exploring the city on foot.
Monuments worth visiting in the city are the Cathedral of Seville with the its famous Giralda, the Alcázar and the Archivo General de Indias. The three buildings are UNESCO listed. The Plaza de España, Parque Maria Luisa and the neighbourhood of Triana are also recommended for any visitor.
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