Spain - Andalucia
Pictures from and information about Spain
Grazalema, El Rocio, Sevilla
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Grazalema, El Rocio, Sevilla
Grazalema has the dubious fame of being one of the wettest villages in Spain (a microclimate). It is indeed a classic white village with white washed houses, cobbles narrow streets and iron balconies.
Its cottage industry is blankets. They are exported all over the world from the little factories here. The cork bark is the other industry and you will see that the village is surrounded in cork oak forests which form the Grazalema Nature Park.
The easiest access to the village is from Ronda. Follow the improved Seville road ( C339 ) for 16km and turn left towards Ubrique.
Normally a peaceful rural backwater this village comes alive in May for the annual Romería del Rocio when up to a million people can be expected to arrive. A good location between Huelva & Seville bordering the Doñana National Park
Andalucia is famous for its pilgrimages or "romerías" - so called because pilgrims traditionally walked to Rome, and therefore became known as "romeros" - to popular shrines, around which fiestas are held.
Perhaps the most spectacular is the one devoted to the Virgen del Rocío, popularly called "El Rocio" for short. Nearly a million people from all over Spain and Andalucia make the long journey to gather in a small hamlet of El Rocio in the marshlands of the Guadalquivir River delta (south of Almonte), where the statue of the "Madonna of the Dew" has been worshipped since 1280. The pilgrims come on horseback and in gaily decorated covered wagons from all over the region, transforming the area into a colourful and noisy party. The climax of the festival is the weekend before Pentercost Monday ( 16 May 2005, 5 June 2006, 28 May 2007, 12 May 2008, 1 June 2009, 24 May 2010). In the early hours of the Monday the Virgin is brought out of the chrurch. This remarkable event is always televised on Canal Sur the Andalucian regional Television.
According to legend, Sevilla was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. It was called Hispalis under the Romans and Isbiliya with the Moors. Its high point in its history was following the discovery of America.
Sevilla lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir and is one of the largest historical centres in Europe, it has the minaret of La Giralda, the cathedral (one of the largest in Christendom), and the Alcázar Palace. Part of its treasure include Casa de Pilatos, the Town Hall, Archive of the Indies (where the historical records of the American continent are kept), the Fine Arts Museum (the second largest picture gallery in Spain) , plus convents, parish churches and palaces.
For all its important monuments and fascinating history, Sevilla is universally famous for being a joyous town. While the Sevillians are known for their wit and sparkle, the city itself is striking for its vitality. It is the largest town in Southern Spain, the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro.
In Sevilla, you will want to visit the old city, with the Cathedral and the Giralda tower at its heart. (You can climb the steps inside the tower for a magnificent view of the City). Very close by are the royal Mudéjar palace known as the Alcazar with marvellous gardens and the Santa Cruz quarter, with cramped streets, flowered balconies, richly decorated facades, hidden patios... Other sights not to be missed are, in the old city, the Casa de Pilatos, a large sixteenth-century mansion where Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance styles blend harmoniously amidst exuberant patios and gardens and, crossing the Triana bridge over the large Guadalquívir River, the lively popular quarter of Triana with charming narrow streets around the church of Santa Ana and traditional ceramic factories.
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