Towns and Cities in Andalucia
Cadiz is situated on a peninsula and is largely surrounded by water giving this large port a more intimate feel. Cadiz gained International prominence when it became the main launching point for ships journeying to America. It was then raided by Sir Francis Drake in a power struggle for the trade of the 'New World' when it also managed survive a siege by Napoleon's army. Cadiz then became a very liberal city and in 1812 the country's first Constitution was declared there. Cadiz is in the main part very picturesque with cobblestone streets, historical buildings and cathedrals which help it maintain a more traditional and relaxed feel.
Jerez de la Frontera is slightly in land from Cadiz and is world known for its sweet wines originally named after the town Jerez they then became known as 'sherry' due to the British pronounciation. The town became known as Jerez de la Frontera as it originally stood on the frontier between the Moorish and Christian regions. The main local attraction is tours of the local Bodegas (wine manufacturers and wine cellars) where you can see some famous names above their doors as British Sherry manufacturers have been distilling wine in Jerez for centuries. Jerez is also famous for its highly trained 'dancing' horses which can be seen at the royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art. It also hosts a large horse fair every year in May which is becoming increasingly popular for its displays of splendid equestrianism.The town of Jerez de la Frontera is n aristocratic town with wide streets and colourful squares surrounded by fabulous bars and restaurants where it is not uncommon to see the local Flamenco dancers who are famous throughout the world.
Huelva is located on the mouth of the Odiel and Tinto estuary and is an important
trading port with it's history dating back several centuries.Local sailors where
recruited from Huelva to travel with Christopher Columbus to discover America.
Industrial developements in the late 19th century due to mining activity in
the north meant companies built huge ironwork loading quays that still exist
today although in a state of disrepair. In the late 19th century and early 20th
century when the
Algeciras is a port town on the opposite side of the bay from Gibraltar. It was originally developed to absorb the Spanish workers who used to be employed in the British Naval dockyards in Gibraltar. Algeciras is a very industrial town with a large migrant population which is primarily Moroccan hence there is a great Arab influence throughout the town with many Moroccan teashops and most signs in Arabic as well as Spanish. Algeciras contines to maintain its working port atmosphere although it boasts some terrific restaurants with beautiful views of 'The Rock'.
Ronda is set in the mountains on a towering plateau. It is famous throughout the country for its plunging river gorge with the River Guadalevin dividing the two main parts of the town, the medieval part from the 18th century. The gorge is known as El Tajo meaning The Cliff and is spanned by a vast stone bridge which at one time housed a prison. Ronda also has the oldest and largest bullring in Spain, it is widely considered to be the most spectacular and has a museum to chart its history of bullfighting in Ronda and the whole of Spain. Ronda has spectacular scenery now accessible by a newly built walkway along the gorge. There Ronda's lovely colourful flowers are naturally displayed. Ronda has a pedestrianised shopping centre with several shops there maintaining there traditional feel and there is the usual spanish array of superb restaurants and bars.
Malaga is the major coastal city of Andalucia. On the outskirts of the city it is very industrialised but the centre has a very traditional feel and is steeped in history with a gothic cathedral and narrow pedestrian streets strewn with bars. Historically Malaga was a merchant trading post built around La Alcazaba, a fortress from 1065, which is now an archaelogical museum. In the 19th century Malaga became popular as a winter resort for the wealthy and hence added an air of elegance and sophistication to its veneer. There are open air concerts every week in the winter at the park on the Calle Alameda which is a famous botanical landmark from originating from this era. As would be expected there is a museum in Malaga dedicated to the works of Pablo Picasso - the citie's 'famous son'. there are several nature parks and reserves on the outskirts of Malaga as well as beautiful 'pueblos blancos' - white villages. Malaga has a very active social feeling to it which mainly takes place in the numerous bars and restaurants where you can eat a wide range of foods, mostly at reasonable prices and with most businesses in Malaga closing on a daily basis for siesta time, where better to have a long lunch?
Sevilla is known as the administrative capital of Andalucia but it is famous for many other things besides. Sevilla is said to be one of the largest historical centres in Europe and has several convents, churches and palaces. The enormous cathedral of La Giralda has a tower which you can climb for amazing views of the city and the Archive of the Indies where the historical records of the American continent are held along with The Fine Arts Museum there is something for all tastes. There is also the traditional bullring where the oldest Spanish sport can be viewed. Sevilla is renowned for it's feeling of vitality and Sevillans are known for their humour which is cleverly incorporated in the several festivals that Sevilla plays host to every year along with the parades of men on horses and women dancing in colourful dresses.
Cordoba was founded by the Romans and used primarily for shipping spanish olive oil, wine and wheat. The Romans also built a huge stunning stone bridge spanning the the River Guadalquivia called El Puente. When the Moors took over Cordoba it became known as the capital of the Moorish kingdom of El Andalus and they built the Great Mosque which after being added to over several centuries became known one of the largest in Islam. When the Christians became rulers of Cordoba in 1236 the Mosque was considered so beautiful they built their cathedral in the middle of it! Cordoba boasts several other historical attractions and museums and is full of narrow winding streets and pleasant courtyards. In may every year there is a competition for the most beautiful courtyard which is considered very prestigious and therefore the courtyards are full of flowers all year to show off their splendour. Cordoba is full of small shops with traditional wares such as handmade guitars, pottery, cordobese hats and handcrafted leather as the specialities.
Granada which is thought to mean 'Great Castle' due to the Roman fortress which once stood on Albaicin Hill. It is now an ancient Moorish casbah or 'medina' with narrow street and white-washed houses with interior courtyards or gardens. On the hill opposite Albaicin is the stunning and atmospheric Alhambra - a collection of palaces and gardens built in the 14th century. As well as its amazing architecture and historical sights Granada has a wealth of lively bars and tapas restaurants and also specialises in shops selling traditional Moroccan teas due to its Arab ancestry.
Almeria is located at the foot of a mountain range and has the magnificent Alcazaba, an Arab fortress. which overlooks the city. In times of war it is said that the Alcazaba is capable of holding 20,000 men! Almeria is also known for its 'Barrio de la Chanca' - a famous caved section of the city. The growing of fruit and vegetables has become one of the main industries in Almeria and plastic greenhouses are a common sight as much of the produce is for export purposes as well as being found on the menu of the numerous restaurants in Almeria.
Antequera is a town really steeped in history and diverse natural beauty. It has been possible to trace the origins of the town back 5000 years giving it a very impressive historical time line! It is no wonder that there are some amazing historical sights in Antequera! Along with its history and stunning landscape Antequera is also known for being very fertile with rich farmlands irrigated by the Guadalhorce River. Antequera is now one of the leading producers of olives, asparagus and cereals. It is also famed in the area for its fields of glorious sunflowers in the summer and its 'Pink Lagoon', one of its lakes that hosts migrating flamingoes from Africa. In all aspects Antequera is truly an amazing place to see.
Jaen is located in northern Andalucia and is home to some amazing churches and cathedrals. It has a beautiful cathedral which was built between the 16th and 18th centuries and a Moorish castle built on Mount Santa Catalina with fantastic views of the city amongst others. Jaen is famed for its celebration of its patron saint San Antonio Abad, who was protector of animals, when it has huge bonfires in honour of him.
Estepona is commonly known as the 'Old Town' and suprisingly for a coastal town on the Costa del Sol has been able to maintain its character despite having adequate facilities for tourists. Along its narrow cobblestone streets are several small tapas bars and restaurants mingled in with unusual shops.
Nerja is to be found 50 kilometres along the coast from Malaga and a lthough it has a population of over 12,000 now it still remains virtually unspoilt by tacky tourist attractions. Nerja has 16 kilometres of sandy beaches and clear seasagainst a backdrop of the Sierra Amijara. Nerja is famous for its spectacular views and its enoromous pre-historic caves situated just outside the town. One of these is so large that it has been turned into a concert hall where some top entertainers have been known to perform.