Choose Andalusia and get soaked the joy of southern Spain

Choose Andalusia and get soaked the joy of southern Spain

If you are looking for a few days rest by the sea, southern Spain has so much to offer you in Andalusia. Its coast, bathed by the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean, is famous for its miles long beaches. Discover pretty villages with white-washed houses and a bunch of cultural options and entertainment for relaxing.

Costa de Almeria

The Costa de Almería is well known for its coves and almost virgin-like beaches where you can enjoy the sea in complete tranquillity. This is perhaps the sunniest area in Europe and it enjoys this condition for almost 95% of the year.

The environment of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park has some of the best examples as well as volcanic landscapes of outstanding beauty.  Some good options from its towns and villages include Mojacar, with its picturesque outline of white houses), the fishing port of Carboneras and Roquetas de Mar for its long beaches.

 

Costa tropical

The Mediterranean continues in Andalusia towards Granada.  Here, more than 70 kilometres of coastline are known as the Tropical Coast because it has over 320 days a year of sun and average temperature of 20 degrees.

Its landscapes are formed with a combination of sea and mountains with rural areas of great interest such as the Sierra Nevada National Park or Las Alpujarras.

Motril, with its interesting old quarter, is the most highly populated town on the coast. Salobreña catches ones attention because its white houses sweep down a hill opposite the sea towards its Moorish castle. Almuñécar boasts large beaches lapped by turquoise water, which are protected by the mountains.

Costa del sol

Málaga and Marbella are the two largest international cities on the Costa del Sol. A paradise for golfers and a delight for their companions. Apart from the wide range of cultural, leisure and retail activities offered by the two large cities on this coastline, you can find squares and streets full of charm in places like Benalmádena, Mijas or Estepona. Pretty hidden gems with narrow streets running between white-washed houses adorned with flowers and small terraces where you can sit, relax and soak up the moment. And the nearest beach is never far away to enjoy the Mediterranean.

Costa de la luz

Next we come to the Costa de la luz, which extends between the provinces of Cádiz and Huelva. Its name (“Coast of Light”) is not by chance and responds to the area’s luminosity. There are over 200 kilometres of coastline in total with some of the very best beaches in Spain.

Cadiz
Cádiz is the country’s most southerly point and where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can find pretty towns and villages with sea views at almost any point of the coast between San Roque and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. For example, Vejer de la Frontera is a maze of narrow streets dotted with white houses and fantastic viewpoints over the Mediterranean. Conil de la Frontera is a small, peaceful village located between extensive golden sand beaches. And places like Zahara de los Atunes or Caños de Meca are havens for unwinding.

Doñana National Park Huelvaa Andalusia Spain
Huelva

The long beaches continue in Huelva, with municipalities such as Punta Umbría and Islantilla, which are particularly family-oriented. This area is characterized by its marshlands and the presence of the Doñana National Park.

If you stay in municipalities such as Moguer, Palos de la Frontera or Ayamonte, you will be able to enjoy the extensive, peaceful almost virgin beaches in Torre del Loro, La Bota, Los Enebrales or Cuesta Maneli, among other places.

Doñana National Park

Doñana is one of Europe’s most beautiful and important wetlands. What makes this national park, between the Andalusian provinces of Huelva, Seville, and Cadiz, so special is that in just one day you can see very different ecosystems: marshland, lagoons, pine groves, aloe veras, moving dunes, cliffs, 30 kilometers of unspoiled white beaches.
Flamenco Birds Doñana National Park Southern Spain Andalusia
Flamenco Birds Doñana National Park Southern Spain Andalusia
Flamenco Birds Doñana National Park Southern Spain Andalusia

Flavours of the Andalusian Coast

Good food is an essential ingredient of a few days of relaxation and in the south of Andalusia, you can find some really tasty dishes to enjoy at mealtime. There are famous dishes such as gazpacho or salmorejo (two cold soups featuring tomato as the main ingredient) and essential products like extra virgin olive oil or Iberian cured ham, but as this trip takes in the coast, here we highlight some of the region’s most popular fish and seafood products.

Some star dishes include the prawns from Huelva, pescaíto frito (fried fish), tuna from almadraba, typical above all in Cádiz, the espetos de sardinas (sardine skewers grilled on the beach) particularly popular in Málaga, the seafood soup in Almería (normally prepared with monkfish and shellfish), moraga de sardina (a typical sardine stew from Granada and Málaga) and the salted fish and seafood along the entire coast.

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Seville, Spain

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Seville, Spain

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Seville, Spain
Santa Cruz, Seville | © Irina Sen/Shutterstock
Picture of Mark Nayler
MARK NAYLER

Seville has something for everyone. From its great Moorish and Catholic monuments to its historic bullring, and from great tapas bars to enchanting old neighbourhoods and giant wooden mushrooms, these are the top 20 attractions for you to seek out while you’re in the Andalusian capital.
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Royal Alcazar Palace

The internal courtyard of Seville’s Alcazar palace
The internal courtyard of Seville’s Alcazar palace | © pixabay

Along with the cathedral, Seville’s key architectural attraction is the Royal Alcázar Palace. Work on this great palace complex began in the 10th century, when the Umayyads built a Moorish fortress attached to the Roman city walls, but it was not until the 12th century that the first royal palace was built on the site, by the then-ruling Almohad Dynasty. Additions and renovations continued on and off until the 19th century, resulting in a structure that showcases a mix of Moorish, Renaissance and Mudéjar architecture, with the latter being particularly notable in the Mudéjar Palace. The upper floors of the Alcázar are the Spanish royal family’s Seville residence, making it Europe’s oldest continually used royal palace. Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Patio de Banderas, s/n, Seville, Spain, +34 954 50 23 24

Seville’s greatest Catholic monument amazes with its sheer size: it is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Construction of this sprawling Gothic complex, which houses 80 chapels and has the longest central nave in Spain, began in 1401 on the site of the city’s former mosque. Work continued for over 100 years, and in 1507 the cathedral was finally completed, having spectacularly succeeded in fulfilling the design team’s aim to make something ‘so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it will think we are mad’.

Catedral de Sevilla, Av. de la Constitución, Seville, Spain, +34 902 09 96 92

Giralda Bell Tower
All that remains of Seville’s great mosque is part of its minaret, which is now the cathedral’s Giralda bell tower, another of Seville’s key architectural attractions. The minaret, which was built during the Almohad period, was originally topped with giant copper globes, but these fell off in an earthquake in 1365. The ruling conquistadors, perhaps interpreting their removal as a hint from the universe, decided to replace them with a Christian cross and bell tower. Except for the final section, which features stairs, the route to the top (for stunning views) is via ramps – supposedly so it can be reached by horseback, although it’s unclear whether this means you have to buy two tickets or just one.

View from the top of Seville’s iconic Giralda belltower
© AlmudenaCuesta/Pixabay

Casa de Pilatos
This beautiful 15th–16th-century mansion is one of central Seville’s hidden treasures, and its exquisite gardens, though smaller in scale, match anything you’ll see in the Alcázar. Begun by the wealthy conquistador and Mayor of Andalucia, Pedro Enriquez de Quiñones, in the late 1400s, Casa de Pilatos is another of Seville’s classic Mudéjar structures, built around a central courtyard in the traditional Andalusian style. Its name – Pilate’s House – was bestowed (hopefully with a touch of mockery) after Quiñones’ son Fadrique traveled to Jerusalem in 1519 and returned overflowing with enthusiasm for the Holy Land. The palace’s undeniable good looks have earned it a starring role in two films: 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia and 2010’s Knight and Day.

Casa de Pilatos, 1 Plaza de Pilatos, Seville, Spain, +34 954 22 52 98

Casa de Pilatos, Seville | © Sandra Vallaure/Flickr
Casa de Pilatos, Seville | © Sandra Vallaure/Flickr

Bullring
Seville’s Real Maestranza bullring is one of the most attractive and important plazas in Spain. Construction began in 1761 on the site of the city’s old rectangular plaza de Toros and was finally completed in 1881. Particularly attractive is the Prince’s Gate (the main entrance), the ornate black iron gates of which are the work of Pedro Roldan, and which were originally the property of a convent. Being carried through these on the shoulders of fellow matadors and the public is a mark of great triumph, and one of the highest honors attainable by a matador in Spain. The Maestranza’s excellent museum explores the history of bullfighting, and daily tours of the arena are available.

Plaza de Toros de Sevilla, 12 Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, Seville, Spain, +34 954 22 45 77

Bullfights
The audience that packs out Seville’s stately 18th-century bullring every time there is a bullfight is known to be the most demanding in Spain – and for good reason. Often, a kind of party atmosphere prevails in the stands during a bullfight: Spaniards turn up in big groups with picnic baskets crammed full of beer and sandwiches and make a social occasion of it, which can make concentrating on events in the ring difficult. In Seville, however, the bullfight is watched in studious silence, with applause and jeering meted out only when truly deserved. This makes for an ambiance of great intensity and drama and, if you choose to experience it for yourself, a truly unforgettable afternoon. The best time to see a bullfight here is during Seville’s annual April fair, more on which below.

Seville’s beautiful bullring
© tpsdave/Pixabay
Torre de Oro
Visible from any of Seville’s central bridges is the 13th-century watchtower known as the Torre de Oro, or the ‘Tower of Gold’. It was built by the Almohad rulers of Seville between 1220 and 1221 and has undergone several restorations over the intervening centuries, the most recent of which was in 2005. Nowadays, it houses Seville’s small but interesting Maritime Museum, which explores the importance of the Guadalquivir River and Atlantic to the Andalusian capital’s history.

Torre do Oro, Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, s/n, Seville, Spain

Torre do Oro, Seville | © Guenther49/Pixabay
Torre do Oro, Seville | © Guenther49/Pixabay

One of Seville’s Mudejar classics is the Plaza de España, a stunning development built-in 1928 in preparation for Seville’s hosting of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. The half-moon-shaped building is fronted by a moat and borders on a plaza with a beautiful fountain at its center; it showcases a striking mix of Mudéjar and Renaissance styles, with splashes of Art Deco to be seen on the colorful façades. Boating can be enjoyed on the moat, which is spanned by four bridges representing the ancient kingdoms of Spain.

Plaza de España, Seville
Plaza de España, Seville | © bogitw/Pixabay
In preparation for Seville’s hosting of the Ibero-American Expo of 1929, the southern part of the city received a costly facelift. At the heart of this redevelopment was the Maria Luisa Park, a botanical garden and the Andalusian capital’s largest and most attractive area of greenery. It is a beautiful place to stroll in spring, when the park’s many species of plants and flowers are in bloom and when the local residents – doves, parrots, ducks and swans – are on display. Stretching along the banks of the Guadalquivir, its half-mile of shaded walkways, tiled fountains, ponds and tropical foliage is also home to the Mudéjar Pavillion, in which the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of Seville can be found.

Seville’s impressive Archive of the Indies
Seville’s impressive Archive of the Indies | Sandra Vallaure/Flickr

Documenting the Golden Age of the Spanish Empire that followed Christopher Columbus’s exploration of the Americas in 1492 is Seville’s Archive of the Indies, a must-see for history boffins. These UNESCO-protected 16th-century buildings house some 80 million documents relating to the Spanish Empire of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, a period when Seville was the empire’s most important city. If you think that sounds like a little too much reading for one afternoon, fear not: as well as the beautiful old books and the palatial buildings themselves, other sights here include a 17th-century cannon, maps charting the entire Spanish Empire and several paintings by Goya.

Old books on the Spanish Empire in Seville’s Archive of the Indies
Old books on the Spanish Empire in Seville’s Archive of the Indies | © Adam Jones/Flickr

Al Aljibe is one of the best tapas bars on the Alameda de Hercules, Seville’s trendiest and most popular nightspot. The restaurant boasts a romantic and secluded first-floor terrace overlooking the Alameda, as well as an exclusive rooftop patio with just a few tables. Bear in mind that only full plates or “raciones”  are served on the rooftop seating area, although ordering bigger portions of Aljibe’s incredible food won’t be a problem. Customers rave about the ox burger, the fried cod with vegetables and the duck and brandy paté. Inside, there is seating spread over two floors, but it’s always worth reserving a table, especially in the evenings. Aljibe’s location and food have made it one of the most popular high-class tapas places in town.

If a tapas restaurant on the Alameda de Hercules is having to turn customers away of an evening, that’s a sign it’s doing something pretty special. This is the case with La Mata 24, a classy establishment that is often packed to capacity after 9pm. The style is pan-Mediterranean rather than Spanish, and all the dishes are prepared with an inventiveness that can be lacking in Seville’s more traditional tapas restaurants. The wine list and service are highly recommended, and the bar hosts regular exhibitions of work by local and non-local artists, making it a must if you’re hanging out in this lively part of Seville.

Mercado de Triana
Mercado de Triana | © Karan Jain/Flickr

Triana is Seville’s former Gypsy quarter and one of the city’s most distinctive attractions. From its pretty, myth-laden streets have come some of the most influential bullfighters of the last couple of centuries, including the legendary Juan Belmonte, one of the greatest matadors in the history of bullfighting. Its colourful, quaint streets are lined with old-style tapas bars, the walls of which are often plastered with faded bullfighting posters, photos of flamenco artists and weeping Virgin Marys. It is also known for its locally made ceramics, which adorn the walls of its old, whitewashed houses, and one of Seville’s best and most lively markets, the Mercado de Triana.

Bar Bodega Santa Cruz
This lively tavern is one of the best in central Seville and is a great place to start your exploration of the romantic, intriguing neighborhood of Santa Cruz. Owing to the scarcity of outside seating, it always seems as if a spontaneous street party is going on outside, with eaters and drinkers taking over the pavement in front of the bar. The food and drink offering is traditional, with a range of wines and sherries available, as well as excellent tapas at about €2 a pop. It’s particularly good for an early evening stop-off when the atmosphere is joyfully chaotic. Bodega Santa Cruz, 1A Calle Rodrigo Caro, Seville, Spain, +34 954 21 16 94

Santa Cruz
Surrounding the central plaza on which Seville’s mighty cathedral squats is the charming old Jewish neighborhood of Santa Cruz, one of Andalusia’s most iconic barrios. This was the neighborhood into which Ferdinand III confined the city’s Jewish population when he took the city from the Moors in 1248; nowadays, it’s the heart of historic Seville and the first place many tourists head to. In this maze of narrow cobbled streets and achingly romantic squares are to be found some of the city’s best tapas bars and flamenco joints, but just to wander around Santa Cruz (almost certainly getting lost, if it’s your first time) is an experience in itself.

A typical street in Seville’s Santa Cruz
© Irina Sen/Shutterstock

Slightly surly service is the price to pay for enjoying sweet wines, sherry and tapas in this local institution. La Bodega is well established on the tourist route in Santa Cruz but Sevillanos love it too, piling in in huge groups from about 2 pm for lunch and about 9pm for dinner. These are the best times to head to La Bodega for a glass of the signature manzanilla (old barrels are scattered around the place) and a plate of their excellent tapas, either crammed in amongst Sevillanos at the bar or, if you’re lucky, at one of the tables.

Romeo and Juliet Balcony
Winding along beside the Alcázar in the heart of Santa Cruz is a narrow, shaded alleyway called Calle Agua, named after a mini-aqueduct that used to run along the top of the Moorish palace’s walls. This mysterious path brings you out onto the absurdly romantic Plaza Alfaro, always busy with tourists pointing their cameras upwards and snapping away at the building said to have inspired the balcony scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Whether this tale is apocryphal or not, it’s easy to imagine a latter-day Romeo scaling the beautiful facade to reach the object of his desire.

Plaza Alfaro, Seville, Spain

Seville’s Romeo and Juliet building | © Encarni Novillo
Seville’s Romeo and Juliet building | © Encarni Novillo

Feria de Abril
The Feria de Abril, Seville’s legendary fiesta, takes place two weeks after Easter and is one of Andalusia’s biggest fairs. This week-long party has left its humble 19th -century cattle-market beginnings long behind, and its sanded fairground – or recinto – now hosts over 1,000 individual marquees, or casetas, every year. Run by local charities, businesses and collectives, these casetas are where the locals dance and drink until the small hours of the morning, every night for a week. Although the vast majority of the marquees are private and require an invitation for entry, there are several public casetas which are just as much fun. If you’re planning a visit to Seville in spring, make sure you plan it to coincide with this annual extravaganza.

Las Setas Metropol Parasol
Visitors enjoy the views of Seville from the Metropol Parasol | © Zefrog / Alamy Stock Photo
One of Seville’s most popular – and unusual – attractions is The Metropol Parasol, known locally as Las Setas, or ‘the Mushrooms’, because of the distinctive shape of its vast wooden canopies and supporting pillars. When work started on the Mushrooms in 2005, Roman remains were found underneath Plaza Encarnación, making construction a lengthy and controversial process. To preserve the extensive remains, which can be seen on the lower ground floor, these enormous wooden fungi are supported on just a few elegant white pillars above the square. On the monument’s roof, a winding walkway provides stunning views over the city, especially at sunset.

Las Setas de Sevilla, Pl de la Encarnación, s/n, Seville, Spain, 0034 954 56 15 12

Situated underneath the vast canopies of Seville’s Setas on the popular Plaza de la Encarnación is Los Alcazares, one of the best tapas joints in central Seville. From its small, traditional bar room or outside terrace you can watch life unfold on the busy plaza while sipping on a cold beer or sweet manzanilla. Alcazares is popular with tourists, but the old-fashioned décor (think bullfighting and fiesta posters) and its popularity with nearby office workers who stop in for a quick tapas and beer at lunchtime mean it doesn’t feel touristy.

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Mosques to visit in Spain

Mosques to visit in Spain

Mosques to visit in Spain

By Sakina Kamrudeen | 15, Nov, 2017

Magnificent Mosques of Spain
Spain has a long and colourful history, having first been conquered by the Roman Empire until the Middle Ages, when in the 8th century, Spain became a part of the ever-expanding Umayyad Caliphate. Although later, in the 15th century, Imperialism invaded Spain, followed by the wars for liberalization in the 18th century, leading to the Spanish civil war and finally establishing Spain as a Democracy.
This Islamic reign by the Muslim Moors in the Iberian Peninsula indelibly left its mark on modern-day Spain, resulting in the Spanish kingdom being dotted with some of the most beautiful mosques with an awe-inspiring architecture of that era. Thus, for the Muslim traveller on a holiday in Spain, some of the world’s most amazing Mosques await you. In fact, visiting these wonderous Spanish Mosques must be on the ‘to-do’ list for any Halal trip to Spain.
So, review these renowned Mosques, and locate them on your mobile, to experience a prayer place which has been standing for over a thousand years!

The Great Mosque of Córdoba

The Great Mosque of Córdoba located in the Spanish region of Andalusia was originally a small Christian Visigoth church. When the Moor Muslim’s came to rule Spain, Abd al-Rahman I ordered the construction of the Great Mosque in 784. This Mosque was further expanded by later Muslim rulers. This Mosque of Córdoba was important to the Islamic community of al-Andalus for three centuries. In 1236, Córdoba was converted to a Roman Catholic church. Since the early 21st century the Spanish Muslims have been lobbying the Roman Catholic church to allow them to pray at this site, but have however to date been denied permission.
In its heyday, the Great Mosque of Córdoba was used as the main place for prayer, it was also a hall for teaching Islam and the site for Sharia Law cases.

Architecture and Design

The architectural design of the Great Mosque of Córdoba is inspired by the Great Mosque of Damascus, the Dome of the Rock and the Aachen Cathedral. Architects also incorporate Roman columns of Gothic structure and others sent from different regions of Iberia as gifts. The Columns, arches and other decorative aspects of the Mosque were incorporated with ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass. Mosaics and azulejos were also incorporated in the design of the Mosque. The walls were also decorated with Quranic inscriptions. The mihrab of the Mosque was considered an architectural masterpiece with its geometric and flowing designs of plants.
However, when Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, the centre of the Great Mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. As time passed other Christian features were added such chapels and a nave. The minaret of the Mosque was also converted to the bell tower.

Interesting Facts

 

  • It is reported that Abd al-Rahman I is buried under the site of the Mosque.
  • Abd al-Rahman I initially named the Mosque ‘Aljama Mosque’ in honour of his wife.

MOSQUE Status

The Great Mosque of Córdoba was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a part of the Historic Center of Córdoba in 1984.
Although Muslims are not allowed to pray at this Mosque, it is a must visit with its amazing architecture and remarkable historical significance.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 10:00 am to 06:00 pm | Sunday and Religious Festive Days – 9:00 am to 10:30 am and 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm.
Tickets: Guided Tours – 40 € per person and free for children under 8 years old | Tours without a Guide – 10 € per person, 5 € for children between 10-14 years old and free for children under 10 years old.
Click here for more information about The Mosque of Córdoba

Mosque of Cristo de la Luz

The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz has remained nearly unchanged since its construction in 999 and is the only remaining former Moorish Mosque in the city of Toledo, Spain. Originally named the Mezquita Bab-al-Mardum, it is located near the Puerta del Sol, a city gate of Toledo, Spain, built in the late 14th century.

Architecture and Design

This Mosque was built over a Visigoth church measuring approximately 8m X 8m with four columns dividing the interior into nine parts. The designs in each of these nine parts are unique and follow Islamic design concepts. This Mosque, which was converted to a chapel in 1186, is constructed of brick and small stones. The overall architectural design and formation is a blend of Moorish style and local building techniques. However, much of its influence can be attributed to the caliphate in Córdoba and the Great Mosque of Córdoba.
After the conversion of the Mosque to a church, the qibla wall and mihrab were lost when an apse was built in the Mudejar architecture style. Today, this building also features many Christian themed decorations and murals of Christ and other figures.

MOSQUE Status

Today, this building functions as a church. However, Muslim travellers will get a feel the Mosque that it was, especially with the inscription in Kufic script on the facade of the building that reveals the details of the Mosque’s origin.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00 am – 06:45 pm (March 1st to October 15th) | 10:00 – 05:45 pm (October 16th to February 28th).
Tickets: General – 2.80 € | Accredited Groups – 2.40 € | Free for under the age of 11.

Click here for more information about The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz

The Mosque of Almonaster la Real

This Mosque was built in the 10th century from the origins of a Visigoth basilica of the 5th century. Hailed as one of the few surviving Spanish rural Mosques, it is an oddly shaped building made of brick and stone. This Mosque sits on top of a hill within the castle overlooking the village of Almonaster la Real in the province of Huelva, Spain. This beautifully preserved Mosque was converted to a church as Islamic rule changed to Christian rule. Over the centuries this Mosque has gone through numerous changes, but its Islamic features have been retained while new Christian elements were added on.

Architecture and Design

This Mosque was built during the reign of Abd al-Rahman III. It is trapezoidal in shape and has three parts – the prayer hall, the courtyard of ablutions, and the minaret tower. The prayer hall has five small naves. The central nave is covered by a half-sphere dome and brick arches. The courtyard of ablutions is built-into the facade of the rock. Most of the minaret has been built over due to the additions made over the years. The Mihrab, however, still stands, but has over the years lost its paint, and only the brick and stone remain today.

Interesting Facts

  • 16 undated tombs were found in the oration room of the Mosque.
  • The Mosque of Almonaster la Real is the focus of the annual ‘Jornadas de Cultura Islamica’ which takes place in the town of in Almonaster la Real in the month of October.

MOSQUE Status

Despite the changes over the years, the building retains its ‘Moorish character’ to date. It was declared a National Monument in 1931 and was further renovated between 1970 and 1973. The Mosque of Almonaster la Real is a must-visit place while on your Halal trip to Spain.
Opening Hours: Every day from 09.00 am to 08.30 pm.
Tickets: Entrance is free.

Click here for more information about The Mosque of Mezquita de Almonaster La Real

MOSQUE at Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera

Picture Credit – www.flickriver.com

The Mosque within the Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera in the is the Cadiz province of Spain is the only remaining one in the region from the original 18 Mosques. It was built in the 11th century but was converted to a church in the 13th century when the Christians conquered the region. The entire Fortress was designated as a world heritage site in 1931.

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 09:30 am – 02:30 pm (October 1st to June 30th) | Monday to Friday 09:30 am – 05:30 pm (July 1st to September 30th) | Saturday and Sunday 09:30 am – 02:30 pm
Tickets: General – 5 € | Groups – 4 €
Click here for more information about Mezquita de Jerez

Other Former MOSQUES of Spain

Apart from the above famous historic Mosques of Spain, there are much more Mosques or Mezquita (as known in Spanish) which can be visited. While many have been converted to churches or put to other uses today, the architecture and splendour still remain. So, while holidaying in Spain and visiting these regions/cities, take the time to visit these magnificent mosques in Spain.
  • Mezquita de las Tornerías | Toledo, Spain
  • Santa Maria de la Sede Cathedral (also known as Seville Cathedral) | Seville, Spain

Modern Mosques in Spain

For those Muslim travellers are looking for Mosques with the express purpose of prayer, these modern Mosques of Spain are your answer. A quick search on Google Maps should give you its location.

Basharat Mosque


Address: Mezquita Basharat, 14630 Pedro Abad, Córdoba, Spain | Opened: 1982
Click here for more information about Basharat Mosque

Madrid Central Mosque


Address: Calle Anastasio Herrero, 5, 28020 Madrid, Spain | Opened: 1988
Click here for more information about Madrid Central Mosque

King Abdul Aziz Mosque

Picture Credit – marbellaazul.com

Address: s 29602, Urb. Lomas Marbella-S, 18, 29602 Marbella, Málaga, Spain | Built: 1981
Click here for more information about King Abdul Aziz Mosque
Sakina has over 10 years of experience in the field of corporate communications; having worked for a leading Annual Report Production House dealing with top corporates of Sri Lanka and overseas, and later as the Group Communications Specialist for a Sri Lankan conglomerate for their overseas plantations business. She is well-versed in the production process of annual reports, sustainability reports, corporate videos and other corporate communication media. She also has experience in Social Media Marketing and works to increase and improve social media presence of corporates and small niche market businesses. Today, she works as a freelance writer and undertakes consultations on corporate communications and social media related projects. She enjoys writing for blogs on topics of interest.

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Don’t miss this spectacular 16th-century mansion in Seville

Don’t miss this spectacular 16th-century mansion in Seville

Casa Pilatos (House of Pilatos)

 

 

Seville’s Casa de Pilatos was built in the 16th century and is an outstanding example of Seville’s civil palace architecture. It is a splendid blend of the Renaissance, Mudejar and Baroque styles. The humanist character of the building makes it a quintessential Renaissance mansion, with a fascinating interior and some of the finest classical and marble sculptures.

This palace dates from the union of the Enríquez and Ribera families in the last quarter of the 15th century. During the 16th century, it underwent profound changes as a result of the close relationship of leading family members with Italy, serving as a conduit for the new forms and tastes of the Renaissance to enter Seville.

Remodeling in the mid-19th century to reflect romantic tastes added to its picturesque appearance, a harmonious synthesis of the Gothic-Mudejar, the Renaissance and Romanticism.

The archaeological site of the old Caliphal city of Madinat al-Zahra

The archaeological site of the old Caliphal city of Madinat al-Zahra

Madinat al-Zahra

The archaeological site of the Ummayad Caliphate in Cordoba

 

The archaeological site of the old Caliphal city of Madinat al-Zahra is located approximately 5.5 km west of Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain

 

The city was founded in 940 or 941, by the Caliph Abd al-Rahman III as the seat of the newly created Caliphate of Córdoba. However, it was short-lived being destroyed in 1010 during the riots which brought about the end of this Caliphate. After slowly being abandoned and after the Christian occupation, the city fell into oblivion, so much so, that even its very existence was forgotten, thus converting it into an intangible mythical reference to the Golden Age in a faraway western point of Islam.

Madinat al-Zahra is currently part of the Tentative List in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Medina Al Zahra archeological site Cordoba Islamic Heritage

The significance of the archaeological site of Madinat al-Zahra:

The remains of a 10th-century city were hidden and their integrity has been unaltered. The Caliphs, Abd al-Rahman III and al-Hakam II were actually building the most monumental part of the Mosque in Córdoba (declared World Heritage in 1984) at the same time. In fact, the first excavations that took place were started by the architect who was actually restoring the Mosque in Córdoba, Velázquez Bosco. He began this work in order to have more insight into Andalusian Caliphal architecture to be able to better restore the Mosque.

 

Its unique values in the field of art, architecture, town planning and territorial layout. It includes some of the first and most important Islamic gardens ever known, as well as the fact that it represents a testimony, without comparison, of the culture and urban life at a time when al- Andalus was the most important cultural focal point in Western Europe and the Maghreb.

It is a good example of the perfect combination of urban planning with the environment. It is a city with buildings and structured gardens for the population to be able to enjoy the natural characteristics of the surrounding area. This unison with the landscape is shown in the modeling of the territory as well as in the way the local stone, water supply and plants were taken advantage of. The fact that the place has stayed just as it was, affected only by its natural deterioration, without any new con­structions being built, has meant that its value concern­ing its environment, has been conserved.

Its sudden disappearance turned Madinat al-Zahra into a myth. This myth fed rich literature, in which the fortune of a lost paradise was evoked throughout the Arab speaking world.

 

MADINAT AL-ZAHRA MUSEUM

The Madinat al-Zahra Museum has been open since 2009. It is located 1.5 km. away from the archaeologi­cal site and is not visible from the site, thus avoiding any impact on the landscape. Due to the quality of its architecture, the building has in fact been awarded some international prizes. The Museum comprises of reception areas and spaces to explain about the city to the visi­tors: a presentation room, an auditorium, an informa­tion center, etc. There are also areas devoted to the con­tinual conservation and research work carried out by the managing body of the site: restoration workshops, store­houses for goods, a library, research rooms, offices, etc.

 

ORGANIZE YOUR VISIT

Contact
Carretera de Palma del Río, Km. 8 – 14029 Córdoba
General Information: 957 10 49 33
Booking for Visits: 957 10 36 28 / 957 10 36 37
Email: madinatalzahra.ccd@juntadeandalucia.es

Opening times

16 September-31 March:
Tuesday to Saturday: 09.00-17.30
Sunday and public holidays: 09.00-15.30

1 April-15 June:
Tuesday to Saturday: 09.00-19.30
Sunday and public holidays: 10.00-15.30

16 June-15 September:
Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays: 09.00-15.30

The monument is closed on Mondays, 1 and 6 january, 1 may, 24, 25 and 31 december.
Local holidays (opening times 09:00-15:30): 8 September, 24 october.

Top Five Islamic Heritage Site in Seville, Andalusia

Top Five Islamic Heritage Site in Seville, Andalusia

 

Seville, top travel city in Andalusia

The travel giant Lonely Planet announced in 2018 the quintessentially Andalusian city of Seville as its top travel city. Home of the flamenco, bullfighting, tapas, and over 500 hundred years of Muslim history. So here are our top five Muslim heritage sites you simply have to visit in the stunning Spanish city once known as “Ishbiliya”.

1. THE GIRALDA

Giralda Tower Seville Muslim Tour Ilimtour Spain Muslim Tours

This 90-meter-high decorated bell tower was once the minaret of the city’s mosque. It was constructed between 1184 and 1198, at the height of Almohad rule. The delicate geometric patterns, now common throughout the Muslim world, sit on brickwork that changes color with the light. Said to be Spain’s most perfect Islamic building, the Giralda is the official symbol of the city of Seville. A climb to the top takes you into the 16th-century Christian additions, made after the minaret was converted into a bell tower and the mosque into a cathedral. This is also the best place in town for spectacular views across Seville.

 

2. THE ROYAL ALCAZAR

Alcazar Seville Andalusia Islamic Heritage Tour

This is Seville’s Alhambra. Smaller but equally beautiful, the Alcazar is often overlooked by seekers of Andalusian Muslim heritage. This is because what you see today has been mainly built by Christian kings on the site of the original 10th-century Muslim fort. However, their architects were Muslims, and nowhere is this more apparent than the “jewel” in The Alcazar’s crown, the Mudejar Palacio de Don Pedro. This sumptuous courtyard built by King Pedro I is a direct replica of the one in Granada’s Alhambra, complete with water feature and arabesque arches. Even inside the Alcazar, Christian kings praised their Lord in the then-fashionable Arabic language, using inscriptions such as “Wa la ghalib ill Allah”: “There is no victor but God.”

3. TORRE DEL ORO

Torre del Oro of Seville Guadalquivir River

The Golden Tower, Seville Guadalquivir River

 

This 13th-century “Tower of Gold” is also an Almohad construction. It sits overlooking the River Guadalquivir (from the Arabic “Wadi al Kabir”, or “the Great River”) at what was once a corner of the ancient city. The tower gets its name from the belief that its dome used to be covered in golden tiles. Today, it is home to a maritime museum.

 

4. PATIO DE LOS NARANJOS

Orange Courtyard Seville, Andalusia

The Orange courtyard was the old sahn of the Great Mosque of Seville during the al-Andalus ages

Once part of the Great Mosque of Ishbiliya, this courtyard and the Giralda are all that remain of the old Islamic building. The site was the old sahn during the al-Andalus ages.

It contains 66 Naranjos (orange trees, which are said to have been introduced to Andalusia by the Muslims) and has many of the arabesque arches along the original garden walls that flank the Puerta del Perdon, the stunning Muslim-era gate. With a trickling fountain in the middle, the Patio de Los Naranjos is the perfect oasis to sit and contemplate Seville’s five centuries of Muslim civilization.

 

 

5. BANOS ARABES

Hammam Experience in Seville, Andalusia

Arab Baths “Hammam Experience” in Seville

A modern homage to the ancient culture of Ishbiliya, the Aire de Sevilla offers a classical Moorish hammam experience in a setting that evokes Muslim Iberia. The baths are housed in a Riyadh-like set of rooms overlooking an open courtyard, where visitors are whisked back to the age of the Morisco (Muslim Spaniard). The central water fountain is surrounded by eastern lanterns, Moorish tiles and furniture where customers sit sipping warm mint tea. The Aire de Sevilla offers a host of treatments inside rooms lit by soft candlelight, including a cold pool, two warm ones, and a steam room.

This article is written by Tharik Hussain for MySalaam.com