Last week, Christy and I returned from a journey through Spain’s Andalucia region. The area covers the southern region of Spain and includes Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Anqueterra and Malaga. There were several big surprises for me, particularly that Muslim invaders moved across the Strait of Gibraltar in 711 CE to conquer the entire Iberian Peninsula. That invasion set off a centuries-long struggle, culminating in the “reconquista” by Christian monarchs and the infamous Spanish Inquisition, starting in the 15th century CE.
Everywhere we went, we learned of the history of that conflict, while searching high and low for a bad glass of red wine. IMPOSSIBLE!
I wrote a couple of stories for the Anchorage Daily News detailing some of our journey. Check ’em out:
Here are some photos from the trip. By the way–Spain is glorious. You should go!
Our first stop was in Cordoba. The city was built on the site of a Roman settlement. Two of the stand-out attractions include the Roman bridge across the Guadalquivir River and the massive Mezquita-Cathedral. The cathedral originally was built as a mosque. When the city was reconquered by Christian monarchs, they built a cathedral inside the walls. The whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
We found out early that locals love their ham (below)–and they carve it right off the bone!
Many of the streets of Cordoba included intricate stone patterns (below). All of the streets in the central historic district were very clean!
Our visit to Granada included a tour of the giant “La Alhambra” fortress-palace. It’s more than just one palace. Rather, it’s a mountaintop fortress which represented the largest Muslim palace in Europe. You have to plan ahead for tickets–and a guide costs extra. But it’s totally worth it.
Above, our guide at the Alhambra describes the various crops grown in the gardens inside the fortress. Below, a reflecting pond inside the royal palace of La Alhambra.
Above, the Albaicin neighborhood is the old Muslim quarter of Granada next to La Alhambra. You can see La Alhambra in the background in the upper left corner. Notice the stonework on the streets. Again, all of the streets were impeccably clean.
Above, looking out from La Alhambra to the Albaicin neighborhood at sunset.
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