This southernmost region of the Iberian Peninsula tantalizes with its scenic countryside, soaring mountains, rich folklore, and colorful fiestas and fascinating Moorish architecture. In the inland cities of Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada you'll find and the entire region has been influenced by the culture of both the Romans and the Moors.
Sevilla, the capital of Andalucia, lies on the plains of the Guadalquivir River. This city, the fourth largest in Spain, boasts a rich artistic and literary heritage. Santa Cruz, formerly the Jewish Quarter, is a maze of narrow streets lined with well-preserved houses, tapas bars, shops and fine restaurants. The Giralda was originally built in 1198 as a minaret of Sevilla's mosque. When that structure was demolished in 1401, this magnificent tower was incorporated into the enormous new Gothic Cathedral. The Alcazar, a Moorish-style palace, with is gilded dome, vaulted halls an intricate plaster work, was built in the 1300's by Pedro I on the site of a former Moorish fortress. Shaded passages, tiled patios and lush gardens surround it.
Over two thousand years of history saturate the cultural oasis that is Cordoba . Set in the geographical center of the province, it was once the capital of Islamic Spain. The Mezquita, or Mosque, is the most resplendent built by the Moors in Spain and is the only of its kind, for it contains a magnificent 16th century Cathedral along with the Palace Gardens of the Monarchs. The Mezquita and the city's Old Quarter were declared by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.
Granada, the Moors' last stronghold, is the site of the magnificent Alhambra; a compound of palaces, a fortress and lush gardens built in the 14th century. On a hill facing the Alhambra, the narrow streets of Albaicin, the old Moorish quarter, lead past whitewashed houses and walled villas with secluded gardens. The Royal Chapel, next to the Cathedral, is the burial place of the Catholic monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. This province is the only in Spain where you can ski in the mountains and visit the beach in the same day.
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