¡Feliz día de Andalucía!

6 Mar

Happy Andalucía Day, among many other things! This past Monday — February 28th — marked the annual holiday selected to honor the most populous (and best!) autonomous community of Spain: Andalucía!

Located in the very south of Spain, Andalucía runs along the coast of the Mediterranean, dipping down to Morocco to form the straight of Gibraltar and curving up along the Atlantic Ocean to touch the southern boarder of Portugal. It is the second largest autonomous community in Spain and is made up of eight provinces: Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Cádiz, Malaga, Huelva, Almeria and my own Jaén.

Together they form a landscape that is as diverse as it is beautiful — including many mountain ranges, the river valley of the Guadalquivir, the tranquil coastline along the Medditeranean, the windy waters of the Atlantic, the deserts of Almeria and finally the sweeping hills dotted in olive and citrus trees.

Historians believe that Andalucia was the spot of the first inhabitants in Europe and the autonomous community got its name from the Arabic name Al-Andalus, which is what the territory was called during Muslim rule from 711-1492. The Muslim influence can still be seen in much of the architecture in Andalucia – especially in Granada, which was the last Muslim stronghold to fall to the Christian reconquest.

The area has a lot to offer and I have only just barely begun to explore all the cities and countrysides. But ironically, to celebrate the Día de Andalucía, we headed away from the region to do some longer trips in central Spain. What else is one to do with a 4-day weekend?

My Lesson of the Day: The Andalucían town of Cádiz is believed to be the oldest city in Western Europe that has been continually inhabited. It was officially founded in 1104 B.C. but the Greeks believe it was founded by Hercules himself.




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