TRIP TO RONDA

Ronda is one of the city of Andalucia (and probably Spain) which is the easiest to identify due to the huge bridge connecting the old town to the new town, above the 170m emptiness of the Tajo gorge at the bottom of which runs the Guadalevin river.

 




And you can actually pass under the bridge and walk next to the river in the depth of the gorge.

 




This "new" bridge (as it is called) was built in the late XVIIIth century in order to replace the older and much smaller Roman/Arabic bridges in use until that time:



Without those bridges, Ronda is a city upon a rocky cliff almost impossible for any army or troop to surprise and storm. The old town has other entrance doors but they were heavely fortified, as we can still see today.





 




Ronda has charmed all visitors who have visited it, starting from the Romantics writers until Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, who were both aficionados of corridas (for which Ronda is famous), and were rewarded with monuments to their name :







From Granada, Ronda is accessible by a combination of bus and train. It will cost you approximately 32€ in total.


SALOBRENA

Granada (capital) has no beach. But Granada (region) has a lot of beaches! Its coast is called Costa Tropical and the most famous spots are Motril, Salobrena, Almunecar and Nerja. The truth is that, the closer you get from Malaga, the better are the beaches, but in this post I want to show the formidable castle which guards the sea and the coast in Salobrena.


Entrance was free. But make sure you go there early, when the sun is still low and with a bottle of water : you will have to walk up there since most of the streets are too narow to accomodate a car. 


The huge rock which dominates the coast makes it a natural fortification, which made it a mandatory outpost for all the people who came and claimed this land as their own (phenicians, romans, goths, arabs, spanish). 


It is not anymore the heart of the city as it was probably a long time ago, the city has spilled on the plain below in all sides, and especially, as you can see, a lot of new buildings for people on holidays have mushroomed all other the place.






However, agriculture is still preserved and it's a beauty to behold.

The gold under the Alhambra

The mountain upon which stands the Alhambra is called Cerro del Sol. It's not really a mountain, more like a long and thin hill which goes from the center of Granada and follows the Genil river. Since the Romans, this hill was known for its gold. The Romans used to mine there for the precious metal, and the large chunks taken out of the hill seems to be an evidence of their endeavour, but there was also an attempt in the XIXth century to revive this trade but a French tycoon named Jean Adolphe Goupil.





In 1875, Goupil obtained the necessary permits to fund and create a whole mining town above the Genil and the village of Cenes de la Vega


However, the mine was quickly abandoned due to the contamination caused, and the relatively small amounts excavated never made it a profitable business. 



Now, only remain empty shells of a factory which must have hired a hundred people, and a 16 kilometers canal in order to bring the necessary water to extract and refine the gold.





Qubba Libre !


Since March 2015, a new relic of the Moorish past of Granada is available again - and for free! The Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo, since purchased by Granada's townhall in 1990, has at last been restored as an exhibition hall where visitors can enter for free and discover the remains of a palace from the beginning of the Nasrid Kingdom. The similarity between the qubba of this palace and the Ambassador's Hall of the Alhambra is striking.


When you come to the Realejo, if you see this facade, you'll be very close. 


Up the nearest slope, you'll find the entrance :




And once you enter, you'll find a magnificient qubba (hall of protocol) with a lot of its original decoration well preserved. During the Nasrid kingdom, this building was called Yannat al-Manyara al Kubra, covered a very large area of the Realejo and commandeered a view on all the vega. The name was transformed as Palace of Almanxarra after the Reconquista.



After the Reconquista, it was given to the Dominican order, which explains the current name of the surrounding, and in the middle of the XIXth century it became a private property and lost its portico and gardens and only the qubba was preserved, with the wall decorations below.





However, the building is still a goldmine for archeologists, as can be seen with the subterraneans and caves of the building.



All in all, this palace will not take more than one hour in your schedule but will surely take your breath away. 

More information on HERE.

Game of Thrones S5E9 : Sevilla + Osuna

At long last, we have been able to see more of Sevilla in the ninth episode of Game of Thrones. Until then, the characters were just strolling around the Alcazar's gardens, doing pretty much nothing.

But now that Jaime Lannister and Bronn have been imprisonned, we are allowed to see more of the kingdom of Dorne, which translates as the interiors of the Alcazar :





And also, of the city of Meereen, because the final showdown of the slaves pits is exactly in Osuna, a town of Andalucia. However, when you will see the "Arena de Toros", don't be too disappointed, because the place has been optimized with CGI to look like a Coliseum directly from "Gladiator".

Here is the view from the episode :


And here is the real place :


Game of Thrones in Sevilla : Alcazar again !

The fifth episode of the new season of Game Of Thrones has shown again the adventures in the kingdom of Dorne.

However, on the side of the sets, we discover almost nothing new compared to the other episode : it seems that the only past time of the people there is to stroll in the gardens of the Alcazar, aka "the Water Gardens."




The only exception being an interior scene, still in the Alcazar, of the banos de Dona Maria de Padilla:


Hopefully, we'll see more of Sevilla and the Alcazar in the next episode.

DIA DE LA CRUZ Granada 2015

The "dia de la cruz" is a day special to Granada, dating back to the XVIth century, when a cross was erected and the people danced and feasted around it to celebrate. Since then, each year, crosses are erected and decorated in a dozen of locations, with altars where the people place a lot of furnitures, not necessarily religious, but traditional.

Here is the one in from of the townhall :


Here is on Plaza Bib-Rambla :


And here is the one on the porch of the Church Santa Teresa de Jesus in the Realejo :