Welcome to Andalucia
Andalucia is the land of many mysteries and the southernmost region of continental Europe. It features a wide variety of landscapes from long beaches and rocky bays to agricultural land, desert, woods and Alpine mountains. One-fifth of Spain’s population lives in this colourful, southern region. Here are the Costa Del Sol, extending along the Mediterranean Sea from Almeria to Tarifa at the Straits of Gibraltar, and Costa De La Luz, washed by the Atlantic Ocean from Tarifa to Ayamonte at the Portuguese border. Blessed with a climate of eternal spring, the vegetation is subtropical, abundant and varied. The thin soil, aided by irrigation, yields olives, citrus fruits, almonds, figs and an assortment of wine grapes. World-famous sherry is produced in Andalucia.
Miles of sandy beaches are broken intermittently by picturesque fishing villages whose white-washed houses climb the gentle slopes of coastal foothills.
Andalucia has eight provinces, and the capital of each area is a major city with the same name.
Huelva tucked away at the western extremity of Andalucia, receives fewer foreign visitors than most of the other provinces regardless of its many and varied attractions. It shares a common frontier with Portugal, marked by the Rio Guadiana.
The province’s capital city grew up on the spit of land on the estuary of the rivers Tinto and Odiel. Oriented towards the sea and towards trade, fishing and industry. Huelva’s luminous Atlantic front runs along the beaches of fine sands with their dunes and pine woods which have primarily retained their natural beauty. An uninterrupted 50 kilometres stretch of beach extends to the west of the city from Mazagon and Matalascanas to Donana.
Seville is the capital of Andalusia, the metropolis of the regions, head of an archdiocese, and the first and oldest court of the ancient kingdoms. The city’s ancient perimeter measured some 18 kilometres and was enclosed by great walls. In the course of the centuries, these have almost disappeared, thus allowing the suburban districts to expand steadily as far as the municipal boundaries.
Cordoba is of ancient origin and was Rome’s capital of southern Spain. The city attained its full glory under the Arabs when it became the Court of the Caliphs of the West. From the 8th to the 11th Century, Moslem, Jewish and Christian societies lived harmoniously, each culture making rich contributions in art, science and philosophy.
The city of Cadiz is one of most delightful of all the Andalucian capitals. The most ancient city in Europe is suspended in the Atlantic itself, only joined to the mainland by a sandy strip and by the bridge over the Bay. Cadiz became the departure and arrival point for the fleets after the discovery of South America and in 1717 the colonial metropolis. In the 19th Century, the city was the basis for Spain’s liberal reform movement, and the first Spanish Constitution was pronounced here in 1812.
Malaga is the smallest province in Andalucia, but it is also the most heavily encrusted with tourists, ex-patriots from many different countries, tall concrete buildings, hypermarkets and golf courses. However, once away from the narrow coastal belt, it also has some of the most impressive dolmens to be found anywhere, ruined Roman settlements, well preserved Moorish castles, Christian palaces and atmospheric little villages.
The province is an oddly shaped area with a short Mediterranean coastline sandwiched in between Malaga and Almeria. It represents all the enchantment of Andalucia. The charms of the Alhambra and of a city which offers ever more delights the better one gets to know it, are repeated across the entire province, from the massive mountain range of the Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarras, to the eternal spring of the Costa Tropical.
Jaen is located 97 kilometres north of Granada. Magnificently set at the foot of the Sierra de Jabalcuz Mountains and rimmed by the lofty snow-clad Sierra Nevadas, the old city sprawls beneath the ancient Castillo de Santa Catalina. Built by the Arab King Alhamar, it was reconstructed by Ferdinand III who captured it in 1266 on Saint Catalina’s Day.
The well-preserved 15th Century Arch of San Lorenzo, towers, gates and parts of the old city walls, the 16th Century Cathedral, the 13th Century Monastery of Santo Domingo and the Provincial Museum are a few of the exciting sights in Jaen.
The region is bounded by Granada in the west and north, Murcia to the north and east, and has a Mediterranean coastline fractionally longer than those of its two neighbours put together. It is also the most easterly of the eight provinces of Andalucia.