A TASTE OF HISTORY AS APPETIZER

The Visigothic era came to an abrupt end in 711 with the Umayyad conquest of Hispania by the Umayyad general Tariq ibn Ziyad, an Islamic Berber. Tariq is known in Spanish history and legend as a formidable conqueror who dared and bore the nerve to burn his fleet of ships, when he landed with his troops on the coast of Gibraltar - an acronym of "Jabel alTariq" meaning "the mountain of Tariq".

The Muslim conquest—by the Umayyad Caliphate—of the Iberian Peninsula in 711–718 marked the collapse of Visigothic rule and the establishment of the Islamic Empire era. Andalusian culture was fundamentally influenced by over half a millennium of rule by many Muslim caliphates and emirates. In this period, the name "Al-Andalus" was applied to a much larger area than the present Andalusia, and in some periods it referred to nearly the entire Iberian peninsula. Nevertheless, the Guadalquivir River valley in present-day Andalusia was the hub of Muslim power in the peninsula, with the Caliphate of Córdoba making Córdoba its capital. 

The Umayyad Caliphate produced such leaders as Caliph Abd-ar-Rahman III (ruled 912–961) and his son, Caliph Al-Hakam II (ruled 961–976); and built the magnificent Great Mosque of Córdoba. Under these rulers, Moorish Islam in Spain reached its zenith, and Córdoba was a centre of global economic and cultural significance.

 

By the 10th century, the Christians of northern Spain had begun what would eventually become the Reconquista: the reconquest of Spain for Christendom. Caliph Abd-ar-Rahman suffered some minor military defeats, but often managed to manipulate the Christian kingdoms to act against each other's interests. Al-Hakam achieved military successes, but at the expense of uniting the Christian kings of the north against him.

 

Internal divisions after the death of Almanzor (1002) led to the first of several decompositions of the Caliphate (1031). New centers of power arose, each ruling a taifa (and often with multiple levels of nominal fealty and relative independence, according to the patterns of feudalism). The taifa of Seville was especially influential, but the Emirate of Granada was the last to survive, lasting from 1228 until 1492.

After the conquest of Toledo in 1086 by Alfonso VI, Christian rule dominated the peninsula. The main Taifas therefore had to resort to assistance from various Muslim powers across the Mediterranean. A number of different Muslim dynasties of North African origin—notably Almoravid dynasty and Almohad dynasty—dominated a slowly diminishing Al-Andalus over the next several centuries.

 

After the Muslim victory at the Battle of Sagrajas (1086) put a temporary stop to Christian expansion, the Almoravid dynasty constructed a unified Al-Andalus with its capital in Granada, ruling until the mid-12th century. The various Taifa kingdoms were assimilated. the Almohad dynasty expansion in North Africa weakened Al-Andalus, and in 1170 the Almohads transferred their capital from Marrakesh to Seville. The Christian victory at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) marked the beginning of the end of the Almohad dynasty.

 

This region is known for its artists.  Both, painters as poets and famous Spanish film directors remained in Málaga. There has been Art for centuries. 

 

Málaga is a real cultural city with many impressive monuments and important museums, worth visiting during your holidays in Spain.

For example, the Picasso museum exhibits one of Picasso's most important works. The famous painter was born in Málaga and was one of the most important painters in the 19th century.

Other museums are the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, or the Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Aviation an Aircraft Museum.

There are also many old monuments such as the Cathedral of Málaga, the Alcazaba and the Roman theater, Gibralfaro Castle and last but not least "Pablo Ruiz Picasso's birthplace." In the center of Málaga you can find anything you want but, remember the Spanish habit "to have a siesta". Shops are open until 13.00 pm, and are closed to 17.00 pm.  Very strange to see large stores everywhere closed but, at night the shopping comes back to life. Shops in Málaga remain open until 20.00 pm.

 

The main shopping street of Málaga is Calle Marqués de Larios. Anyhow, in the smaller shops it is really enjoyable shopping. Their are bargains for grabs. Especially clothes are very cheap there, though everyone seems to buy from the same manufacturer. Ideal when you need a nice souvenir for the home front.

 

Near Málaga Airport you find Plaza Mayor. From outside, it almost seems like barracks, but inside you'll find an authentic shopping village. Dozens of boutiques are open until 22.00 pm, restaurants for every taste, a bowling alley, cinema complex and even a fitness center. In addition to a large shopping center it's also a popular place to go out. From 20.00 pm a lot of cars are sliding to the parking, so you'd better get here quite early.

 

Nerja is the capital of Axarquia region in the province of Malaga and is situated in the Costa del Sol in Spain. There are many nice shopping streets with many small souvenir shops, numerous cafes restaurants and tapas, occasions which makes it always nice and busy. One of the most famous points in Nerja is the "Balcon de Europa", a beautiful boulevard linded with palm trees, where you have a magnificent view of the sea and the rugged coast. Nerja is also famous for the "Cuevas de Nerja", the caves of Nerja.

 

The caves of Nerja

The caves of Nerja (las cuevas de Nerja) are a historical monument, and are located only 3 kilometers from the center. The beautiful cave with his curiouly shaped stalagmites and stlactites are worth a visit. Due to the wonderful acoustics, a dance and music festival is organized every year.(in July)

 

Granada 

Located at the foothill of the Sierra Nevada , the mountains in the region Andalusia. It is one of the most popular destinations for tourist with the most southerly ski resort in Europe. Besides sunbathing and swimming, you can also do on skiing in this area!

One of the most famous monuments in this city is, "the Alhambra", a gigantic, historic palace full of remnants of both the Moorish and Catholic culture. Be sure to visit the old town. Granada is also known for its prestigious University.

University of Granada and the associated nightlife.

 

Frigiliana

Consists of picturesque narrow, winding streets, with decorative cobbled streets It is one of the best preserved Moorish town in Andalusia and dates from 1767. It is situated on a hill (so lot of climbing) and the small old town has been beautifully renovated. Despite, the village attracts many tourists, it seems that time stood still here. On the village square, the old men are gathering every evening and the black-clad women go to church together. Stroll through the narrow streets and look for the nice bars, restaurants and shops which this magical village offers.

CULTURE IN A NUTSHELL