Monthly Archives: mayo 2021


The Plaza de España – Heritage of Sevilla

The Plaza de España is an architectural complex located in the María Luisa park in the city of Sevilla (Spain).
It was designed by the architect Aníbal González. It was built between 1914 and 1929 as one of the main constructions of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.
It constitutes the largest building of all those that were erected in the city during the 20th century, comparable to the other two outstanding historical constructions outside the walls of the city, which are the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas (16th century) and the Royal Tobacco Factory (18th century).
The square has large dimensions (170 meters in diameter) and a semi-elliptical shape, which symbolizes the embrace of Spain to its former American territories, and looks towards the Guadalquivir river, as the way forward to America.
Its total area is approximately 50,000 square meters, of which 19,000 are built and the remaining 31,000 are free space.
It is bordered by a channel that runs for 515 m and is crossed by four bridges.
The buildings that surround the square are structured in a central building, wings with intermediate buildings that compensate for an excessive length and towers at the ends.
The construction is made of exposed brick and has extensive ceramic decoration.
The ceilings of the gallery in the square have wooden coffered ceilings that are supported by marble columns. The backs of the benches and some lampposts are made of wrought iron.
The medallions with effigies of famous Spaniards, the marble columns and the coffered ceilings give the whole a Renaissance atmosphere.
According to the writings of Aníbal González, his inspiration for designing the square had been the Spanish Renaissance, with the Sevillian architect providing it with new modern elements.
The two towers that flank the square, which provide a Baroque-style atmosphere, are 74 meters high.
The central fountain, the work of Vicente Traver, has been highly questioned because it breaks the emptiness of the square. The canal it contains is crossed by 4 bridges that represent the 4 ancient kingdoms of Spain (León, Castilla, Aragon and Navarra).

On the walls of the square there is a series of 48 benches that represent, in alphabetical order, forty-six peninsular Spanish provinces (all except Seville) and the two archipelagos (Canary Islands and Balearic Islands), with their shield, a map and a cloth Pisan tile with outstanding historical facts of that territory.

The archaeological site of Madinat al-Zahra

Medina Azahara, Madīnat al-Zahrā («the Bright City»), was a palatine or aulic city that the first caliph of Córdoba, Abderramán III, ordered to build, about 8 km outside Córdoba in a northwesterly direction, at the foot of from Sierra Morena.
The archaeological site of Medina Azahara has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest in the Monument category since 1923.
In addition to being officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 1, 2018.
The main reasons for its construction are of a political-ideological nature: the dignity of caliph requires the founding of a new city, a symbol of his power, in imitation of other eastern caliphates and above all, to show his superiority over his great enemies, the newly established Fatimid Caliphate of Ifriqiya, the northern part of the African continent.
In addition to being political opponents, they were also religiously opponents, since the Fatimids, Shiites, were enemies of the Umayyads, mostly from the Sunni Islamic branch.
It is located about 8 kilometers west of Córdoba, in the last foothills of the Sierra Morena, on the slope of the Yabal al-Arus, in front of the Guadalquivir valley and oriented from north to south, on a spur of the mountains, between two ravines , which goes into the countryside that is Medina Azahara or Madínat al-Zahra. It has been described as the Versailles of the Middle Ages.


Girona:The historic city

Gerona (in Catalan and officially, Girona) is a Spanish city and municipality, capital of the homonymous province and of the Gironés region, in the autonomous community of Catalonia.
Its historic center or Barri Vell is delimited in the east by the so-called Paseo de la Muralla, the walkway of the old Carolingian walls (9th century) and the late Middle Ages (14th and 15th centuries). Its monuments include the Call, an old Jewish quarter, one of the best preserved in Spain; as well as the colorful Casas del Oñar, built on the banks of the river and very close to the cathedral, with the widest nave in the world in Gothic style.
The history of the city goes back to the settlements of the Iberians of the indigete tribe in the towns that surround and close the Llano de Gerona. Around 77 a. C. Pompey built an oppidum on the Via Heráclea and the Roman occupants founded the original Gerona, called Gerunda in Latin. The new city of Gerunda was repopulated with the inhabitants of the town of San Julián de Ramis, becoming an important center of the region, with the articulation of a Roman ager that surrounded the city. Although Gerunda was inland, away from the coast, it had a good connection with the port of Ampurias.
The city had its first period of splendor as a diocese of the Church attached to the metropolitan see of Tarragona, followed by the ruralization that was unleashed throughout the ancient Roman Empire, due to the general ruin and loss of weight of the citizens. It belonged to the Crown of Aragon like many other territories.
In 2016, the city was awarded the Europe Prize, a distinction awarded annually by the Council of Europe, since 1955, to those municipalities that have made notable efforts to promote the ideal of European unity. It was the second Spanish city to obtain the award, after Santiago de Compostela.

Spain, the world’s leading producer of olive oil

Spain continues to be today the world’s leading producer and exporter, with an area dedicated to olive groves of around 2.5 million hectares.
Olive oil is a product ingrained in our food culture for thousands of years. It was the Phoenicians who made this product known to the inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula in the 11th century BC. During Roman times the consumption of olive oil spread rapidly, being the Betica province, present-day Andalusia, the main producing area of the entire empire. After the fall of Rome, the use of olive oil was maintained through the centuries to this day.
The continued consumption of olive oil, especially the extra virgin, is an inexhaustible source of benefits for our health, many yet to be discovered.
We offer unique occasions for you to be fascinated with the taste of virgin olive oil and learn about the roots of the Spanish olive culture.
Tastings with virgin olive oil pairing and a professional will show you the most important aspects of the qualities of this product.
New and interesting activities to do during your trip to Spain!

The imposing Cathedral of Granada

The Holy and Apostolic Metropolitan Cathedral Church Basilica of the Incarnation of Granada or shorter S.A.I. Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Granada is a Catholic temple in the Spanish city of Granada, seat of the archdiocese of the city.
The temple is one of the masterpieces of the Spanish Renaissance. It is dedicated to the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord.
It is the first Renaissance church in all of Spain and one of the best examples of this architectural style.
For all this, its history and its monumentality, it becomes one of the most important events in the city.
The visit to the Cathedral allows to combine the Muslim past (like many other cathedrals in Andalusia, it was built on top of the city’s main mosque)  of the city represented by the Alhambra and the Albaicín neighborhood, with the Catholic influence.
The Cathedral of Granada was designed to be one of the most impressive on the continent thanks to its two huge 81-meter high towers.
The architectural ensemble of the Cathedral becomes a space with a multitude of interesting elements and a large container of works of art.

Casa Amatller. One of the most emblematic houses in Barcelona

Casa Amatller is a modernist building in Barcelona adjacent to Casa Batlló and close to Casa Lleó Morera. It was designed by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch between 1898 and 1900. The three buildings form what is known as The Apple of Discord, alluding to the mythological dispute between the goddesses Hera, Aphrodite and Athena, as they are considered to be those of greater beauty.

The building was commissioned by the chocolate industrialist Antoni Amatller to Josep Puig, who devised a model of an urban Gothic palace, with a flat façade, a central courtyard and a staircase that gives access to the main rooms.

On the façade you can see the two asymmetrical doors linked by a Saint George made by the sculptor Eusebi Arnau. Throughout the façade there is a sgraffito that joins the ceramic in a delicate way

The style is a mix between Catalan Gothic and Flemish (characterized by the flat triangular shape of the upper part of the façade).

Spain, a World Heritage Site

Spain is the third country with the most World Heritage Sites. Discover all our wonders!
With 44 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Spain is the third country in the world in the ranking of countries with the most UNESCO sites in the world, only behind Italy (with 49) and China (with 45)
The rich history of the bull hide and its islands has given a lot over the centuries, and a good example of this is the variety of protected monuments: from cave paintings to industrial engineering and modernism. In addition to some natural parks and intangible heritage, how many do you know?

Here we bring you the 30 UNESCO World Heritage monuments that you should not miss:

-Alhambra, Generalife Gardens and Albaicín neighborhood in Granada, Andalusia

-Historic center of Córdoba, Andalusia

-Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias, Seville, Andalusia

-Renaissance monumental ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza, Andalusia

-Mudejar architecture, Aragon

-Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of Asturias, Asturias

-Ibiza, Balearic Islands

-San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands

-Altamira Cave, Cantabria

-Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha

-Fortified city of Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha

-Burgos Cathedral, Castilla y León

-Old town of Ávila and churches outside the walls, Castilla y León

-Old town and aqueduct of Segovia, Castilla y León

-Old town of Salamanca, Castilla y León

-Gaudí’s works, Catalonia

-Poblet Monastery, Catalonia

-Palace of Catalan Music and Hospital de San Pablo, Barcelona, Catalonia

-Archaeological site of Tarraco, Tarragona, Catalonia

-Catalan Romanesque churches of the Boí Valley, Catalonia

-Lonja de la Seda de Valencia, Valencian Community

-Old town of Cáceres, Extremadura

-Archaeological site of Mérida, Extremadura

-Old town of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia

-Roman wall of Lugo, Galicia

-Hercules Tower, La Coruña, Galicia

-Monasteries of San Millán de Yuso and Suso, La Rioja

-Monastery and Site of El Escorial, Madrid

-University and historic center of Alcalá de Henares, Madrid

-Vizcaya Bridge, Basque Country


Spain. Barcelona. The Palau of Catalan Music

The Palau of Catalan Music ( Palau de la Música Catalana)  was built between 1905 and 1908 by the modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner as the headquarters of the Orfeó Català financed with funds from popular subscription.
The building is located in the Sant Pere neighborhood, one of the most beautiful areas of Barcelona.
The Palau de la Música Catalana is an architectural pearl of Catalan modernism, the only concert hall declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (December 4, 1997), which is currently an unavoidable meeting point for the cultural and social life of Catalonia.
It also constitutes a symbolic and sentimental heritage of an entire town that identifies with its history.
The modernist building is articulated around a central metal structure covered in glass, which when receiving natural light turns the most significant building in Domènech i Montaner’s work into a magical music box where all applied arts are combined: sculpture, mosaic , stained glass and wrought iron.
In order to enjoy this masterpiece, the Palau de la Música Catalana offers guided tours, an unmissable appointment to discover all the corners of this modernist jewel.

Spain. Valencia. Las Fallas, a World Heritage Site

Las Fallas de Valencia are festivals that go from March 15 (plantá) to March 19 (cremá) with a tradition rooted in the Spanish city of Valencia and different towns in the Valencian Community. Officially they begin on the last Sunday in February with the act of the maid.
Currently, this festival has become a very important tourist attraction, since in addition to being classified as a festival of International Tourist Interest, in November 2016 Unesco inscribed them on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
They are also called Josephine festivals or festes de Sant Josep (in Valencian), since they are celebrated in honor of San José, patron saint of carpenters, who was a very widespread guild in the city when they began to be celebrated in the late 19th century, which it has kept until today, given the importance of the furniture industry in the region.

In medieval Valencian, the word falla (from the Latin fac [u] la, diminutive of fax, ‘torch’) was used to name the torches that were placed on top of the watchtowers.

In the Llibre dels Fets, it is mentioned that the troops of King Jaime carried fallas (torches) to illuminate themselves, both for the road and at the entrance of the tents.
Torches were also used to light a party.
Reference is also made to this term to refer to the bonfires and lights that were lit on the eve of extraordinary and patron saint festivals.
On the eve of Saint Joseph’s Day bonfires were lit to announce their festivity, this ritual practice receiving the name «cremà».

The popular version of the origin of the fallas according to the Marquis of Cruïlles, were started by the carpenters’ union who burned on the eve of the day of their patron Saint Joseph, in a purifying bonfire, the shavings and leftover old junk, cleaning the workshops before entering spring. In addition, they burned their ‘»parots»‘ (structures from which the lamps hung that gave them light) since with the end of winter and the arrival of spring, and as the days became longer, they were no longer necessary.
According to this theory, popular inventiveness gave these parots human form.
This romantic legend of the origin of the festival contrasts with the documentation preserved in the Carpenters Guild, which does not cite the construction of fallas on its eve, but rather the religious festival of March 19 itself.

This unusual year, it is planned that the Fallas de Valencia 2021 will be held from September 1 to 5.
An opportunity again to enjoy these holidays after the cancellation of last year 2020, due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Morocco. Casablanca. The Hassan II mosque, a landmark for the city of the sea

The Great Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca: majestic, spectacular, grand… It is a real wonder.
Since its inauguration in 1993, its 200-meter-high minaret or minaret made it the tallest temple in the world, until the inauguration in 2019 of the Djamaa El Djazair Mosque, in Algiers, Algeria, whose minaret is 265 meters high.
It is located on an artificial island on the Atlantic Ocean in reference to a verse from the Koran that indicates that «the throne of Allah is in the water».
Its construction began in 1989 and concluded in 1993. It required 53 thousand square meters of carved wood, as well as more than 10 square meters of mosaic and between 50 and 80 million hours of work.
It has the latest technologies such as earthquake resistance, roof that opens automatically, heated floor and electric doors.
The architectural project was commissioned by King Hassan II of Morocco, designed by the French studio Michel Pinseau.
The Moroccan king’s idea was to provide Casablanca, the country’s economic capital, with an emblematic building that would once again place it as the spearhead in architectural matters and that would represent the Arab-Muslim tradition of the country, as well as its entry into modernity. Through this monumental work, it was also sought for the city to have its own landmark building, in the same way as the Moroccan imperial cities: Fez and its Karaouyine, Rabat and its Hassan Tower, and Marrakech and its Koutoubia mosque.
One of the reasons why the Hassan II Mosque is worth visiting is precisely that it is possible to do so. The vast majority of Moroccan mosques are not open to visitors and their access is restricted to believers to perform daily prayers. This is the case, at least, with the religious temples of the great cities of the country: the Koutoubia in Marrakech, the Al Karaouine in Fez, the Hassan in Rabat, the Great Mosque of Tangier … and a long etcetera. However, non-believing visitors can enter this site, within strict hours and after paying the entrance fee.


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