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Geography and Landscape


The autonomous region of Andalusia (Spanish: Comunidad Autónoma Andalucía) is located in the south of Spain. The total area of Andalusia is 87,268 km2, making the region one of the largest in Spain. The touristically important coast is 861 km long, of which the coastal province of Almería accounts for 200 km, Cádiz 260 km, Granada 121 km, Huelva 120 km and Málaga 160 km. The provinces of Córdoba, Jaén and Seville are inland and have to do without a coastline.
Andalusia is bordered in the north by the provinces of Castilla La Mancha and Extremadura, in the south-east by the Mediterranean Sea, in the south-west by the Atlantic Ocean (including the Gulf of Cadiz) and in the west by Portugal. Andalusia is separated from Africa and Morocco by the Strait of Gibraltar, from the southernmost point of mainland Europe, Tarifa, it is only 13 km from the North African coast. On clear days, the North African coast can be seen from Balcón de Europa, a 23 meter high cliff in the town of Nerja.

Andalusia Satellite PhotoPhoto: public domain


 Sierra Morena in northern Andalusia, more precisely Parque Natural de Despeñaperros Photo: Josesanchez Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The landscape of Andalusia is largely defined by two mighty mountain ranges, the Sierra Morena in the north and the Cordilleras Béticas in the south, with in between the enormous plain of the river Guadalquivir, the so-called Andalusian basin, which covers about 65% of the entire Andalusia region. For example, the capital Seville is only nine meters above sea level. The rest of Andalusia is therefore generally mountainous, of which approximately 50% is higher than 600 meters above sea level.
The Sierra Morena is actually a southern offshoot of the Castillian plateau and separates the provinces of Extremadura and Andalusiaafrom each other. It is one of the largest systems of mountain ranges in Spain and runs for a length of about 450 km from east to west across the south of the Iberian Peninsula, all the way to Portugal. The average height of the Sierra Morena is not spectacular, because it is between 600 and 1300 meters. The highest peak of the Sierra Morena is the Buñuela 1332 meters, other high peaks are the Corral de Borros (1312 m) and the Cerro de la Estrella (1298 m). Some of the about 25 mountain ranges that belong to the Sierra Morena are Sierra Madrona, Sierra Norte de Sevilla, Sierra de Aracena, Sierra de Andujar, Sierra Grande de Hornachos and Sierra de Peñaladrones.
South of the Sierra Morena and north of the Cordilleras Béticas is the low plain of the Guadalquivir, a fertile, agricultural and therefore densely populated area with cities such as Córdoba and Seville. The black soil is irrigated by the tributaries of the Guadalquivir. The largely unnavigable Guadalquivir has its source in the Sierra de Cazorla at 1600 meters, is 670 km long and runs entirely through Andalusia. The (short) tributaries are the Viar, Bembézar and Guadiato from the Sierra Morena and the Guadania Menor and the Genil from the Cordilleras Béticas. Before the Guadalquivir flows into the Atlantic Ocean through the Doñana swamp area, the river is navigable. Close to the source of the Río Guadalquivir in the north-east of Andalusia lies the up to 2000 meters high Sierra de Cazorla with the beautiful Parque Natural de Cazorla y Segura (2000 km2), a UNESCO biosphere reserve with swamps, gorges, waterfalls, coniferous forests. Separated by river valleys and gorges, there are also the mountain ridges Sierra de Pozo, Sierra de la Cabrilla and Sierra de Segura. The highest mountain in this area is Empenada (2107 m).

Guadalquivir, Andalusi's longest riveraPhoto Rafael Jiménez Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Cordilleras Béticas is located in Eastern Andalusia between the low plains of the Guadalquivir and the coast. This mountain range consists of two mountain ranges, the Cordillera Subbética in the north and the Cordillera Penibética in the south of the autonomous region. Between these two mountain ranges lies the Depresión Penibética valley, which flows into the lowlands of Granada, including the Monte Veleta (3392 m) and the highest mountain in the Iberian peninsula, Mulhacén (3481 m). Together with the Alcázaba (3371 m) they form the so-called 'Los Tresmiles'. The Sierra Nevada covers an area of approximately 170,000 hectares, of which about half has served as a national park since 1999.
The Sierra Nevada is the highest mountain range in Europe after the Alps and at an altitude of 2100 meters southernmost ski resort in Europe, Solynieve. South of the Sierra Nevada and just north of the coast, stretching across the provinces of Granada and Almería, lies Las Alpujarras, a 70 km long complex of river valleys, steep mountainsides and wooded valleys, but also with the highest village Spain, Trevélez, at an altitude of 1,476 meters.

 Mulhacén, the highest mountain in the Iberian Peninsula (mainland Spain and Portugal) Photo: Otto Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Tourists and retirees visit in large numbers the approximately 900 km long coast of Andalusia. The coastal plain of Andalusia varies in width from about 50 km in the west to practically zero in some parts of the provinces of Granada and Almería on the Strait of Gibraltar. Much more popular, because the climate is better here, are the beaches of Marbella on the Costa del Sol. Near Granada lies the rocky Costa Tropical and in the south-east of Andalusiaalie the quiet beaches of the Costa de Almería.

In the southeastern province of Almería lies the only (semi) desert in Europe, the Desierto de Tabernas, in fact a steppe-like enclosed by mountain ranges. an almost treeless area of reddish hills, ravines and riverbeds and with its own plant and animal world. In this region, which is reminiscent of a strange kind of lunar landscape, there is also a karst area with thousands of caves, which were created in the limestone by water erosion. In the Santiago district of the town of Guadix, more than a thousand fully furnished cave houses and even hotels have been built in the soft sandstone.

Semi-desert Desierto de TabernasPhoto: Emilio del Prado Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

In addition to the aforementioned rivers, many other rivers, of which the so-called 'ramblas', beds of dried-up rivers, only fill up after heavy rainfall. In the Atlantic Ocean flow the Río Guadalete (157 km), Río Guadania (744 km), Río Odiel (150 km) and Río Tinto (100 km), in the Mediterranean Sea the Río Adra (49 km), Río Almanzora (90 km), Río Almería (67 km), Río Guadalfeo (71 km), Río Guadalhorce (166 km) and Río Guadiaro ( 183 km).
The Laguna de Fuente de Piedra (approx. 13 km2) is, after the Laguna de Gallocanta (approx. 14.6 km2) in the province of Aragón south of the city of Zaragoza, the largest Spain's inland lagoon and the largest lake in Andalusia.


The Costa de Luz, the 'coast of light', is generally characterized by a landscape of dunes, bays, cliffs, long, wide but quiet sandy beaches, vineyards and coniferous forests. The Costa de Luz, the southern part of which lies in the province of Cádiz, and the northern part in the province of Huelva (Huelva de Luz), stretches from Tarifa, the southernmost point of Spain, to the border with Portugal in the west of Andalusia. The Guadalquivir, which flows through the Campiña Baetica lowland, flows into the Atlantic Ocean and feeds the largest protected wetland in Europe, the Parque Nacional Coto de Doñana. Along the river you will find marshes, lagoons and salt pans, in the national park cliffs, beaches and dunes along the kust and pine forests more to the north. On the northern Costa de la Luz, there are over 100 km of beautiful white sandy beaches, which are also very quiet. The most famous protected area here is Marismas de Odiel.
The hinterland of the Costa de la Luz is partly dominated by enormous farmlands where come the best bulls for bullfighting from and the Andalusian horse is bred. In the province of Cádiz, between Tarifa and Arcos de la Frontera in the mountainous area of Los Alcornocales, there are many cork oak plantations or 'montadas'. La Gruta de las Maravillas in the province of Huelva near the town of Aracena, is one of the largest cave systems in Europe (1.2 km of cave halls and corridors), including twelve caves, six underground lakes and limestone formations in beautiful colors.

La Gruta de las Maravillas near Aracena, AndalusiaPhoto: El Pantera Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

The Costa del Sol is best known for its mass tourism and cities such as Málaga, Marbella, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Almería, Ronda, Antequera and Nerja. El Torcal is a nature reserve and karst stone mountains of 1000-1200 meters high where many thousands of years wind and rain have had free reign and created the most fantastic shapes.
From Nerja the coastal mountains almost run into the sea and large wide beaches give way to bays with small sandy beaches. This rocky coastal area of approx. 100 kilometers, running from La Herradura and La Rabitá, is also called the Costa Tropical and the rocks and cliffs are excellent for diving activities, especially at the town of La Herradura. The karst cave Cueva de Nerja only discovered in 1959 is home to the world's thickest stalactite, a 32 m high column in the Sala del Cataclismo. Many archaeological finds have also been made in this cave.

The Costa de Almería, running from Adra to Mojácar and Almería, is the most (south) eastern Costa of Andalusiaand its protected location in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada makes it the driest, warmest and sunniest spot in all of Andalusia. The arid landscape of this semi-desert is not very beautiful, but it is extremely suitable for sunny holidays and for the placement of plastic horticultural greenhouses, which has happened on a large scale. The Cabo de Gata-Níjar nature reserve is dominated by the 500 meter high Sierra de Cabo de Gata. The coast, formed by volcanic eruptions and solidified lava, is a motley collection of beaches, bays, jagged rock formations, dunes, cliffs and salt pans.

Climate and Weather

Almeria DesertPhoto: Colin C Wheeler Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Spain no changes made

Andalusia generally has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Due to the vastness of Andalusia, the presence of various mountain ranges and a coastal region bordering the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, there are still considerable differences to be noted. For example, the popular Costa del Sol is located on the sheltered Mediterranean Sea where it often blows a wind, on the Costa de la Luz, located on the Atlantic Ocean, it can sometimes be stormy and the temperature in the summer is tempered by the wind and cools down considerably in the winter months. Tarifa is also called the wind and kite surfing capital of Europe because of its constant presence. The Alpujarras, a well-known hiking area in the Sierra Nevada, is again doable in summer due to the high elevation.

Andalusia has the hottest and driest summers in Spain, but weather systems in the west ensure that it is relatively wet in winter. Some areas even receive quite a lot of rainfall, so much so that in the whole of Andalusia there is more rainfall on average than the average in all of Spain. One of the 'wettest' cities is Western Andalusian Grazalema in the Sierra de Grazalema, with an average of 2,153 mm of rainfall per year (in 1963 this area almost drowned in 4,346 mm of rainfall). Although this is an extreme case, most regions of the provinces of Cadiz and Huelva, and the Sierra de Cazorla receive more than 1000 mm of rainfall per year, double that of the capital Madrid. In the interior of the provinces of Jaén, Córdoba and Seville 500-700 mm falls per year, even further to the east it becomes increasingly drier as the Atlantic rain clouds lose more and more moisture along the way. This ends in the desert-like landscapes of Almería, and then with the Cabo de Gata, the driest region of the Iberian Peninsula (and probably all of Europe) where hardly more than 150 mm of rainfall per year falls. as cold as in the Sierra Nevada, some peaks of which are covered with snow all year round and you can ski until May. Good weather is almost always expected on the Costa del Sol, but nothing could be further from the truth. In winter and spring it can even be very changeable and it can rain for days on end.

Snow Sierra Nevada in AndalusiaPhoto: Emilio J. Rodríguez Posada CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

IIn much of Andalusia, the sun shines more than 300 days a year. Of all provincial capitals, Almería and Seville have the highest average daily temperatures with 18.6 °C and 18.7° C respectively, followed by Huelva with 18.3° C and Cadiz with 18.2°C. The 'coolest' capital is Granada at the foot of the Sierra de Cazorla with 15.1°C. Some parts of the province of Almería compete with the south of the province of Alicante for the warmest place in Spain; Los Gallardos has a good chance with an average temperature of 20.1°C. The average temperature for the whole of Andalusia is 16°C. The coldest month is January with average temperatures of 12.5°C in Málaga and 6.4°C in Granada; the hottest month is August with the city of Écija in the province of Seville as the hotspot with 28.5°C. Summer temperatures regularly reach over 40°C and in cities such as Seville and Córdoba it is almost impossible to bear the heat during the day, with temperatures reaching, fortunately exceptionally, up to 46°C. In a city like Málaga, the temperature can rise to over 40°C in summer when the terral starts blowing, a föhn wind that blows from north to south.

Climate table Cádiz;diz, the Atlantic coast Photo: Hedwig in Washington Creative Commons CC-BY 2.5 no changes made

Almería max.161618202226292927231917
Almería min.881012151821222016129
Cádiz max.151618212327293027231916
Cádiz min.891112141820201916129
Córdoba max.141619232632363631241914
Córdoba min.4581013171920171385
Granada max.121418202430343429221712
Granada min.1257914171714952
Huelva max.161820222529323229252117
Huelva min.67911131618181714107
Ién max.121417202430343429221612
Jaén min.5581013172121181395
Málaga max.161719212428303028242017
Málaga min.881011141720201815129
Seville max.151720232632363632262016
Sevilla min.66911131720201814107

Plants and Animals


Agave AndalusiaPhoto: Stan Shebs Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Due to the contrasting landscape, the Andalusian plant world is very rich and varied.

The most typical landscape in Andalusia consists of Mediterranean vegetation with maquis, scrub (including juniper, mastic tree, cistus rose) combined with low trees (cork oak, holm oak, pedunculate oak) and wild herbs (lavender, rosemary, thyme). Subtropical trees and plants such as agave, disc cactus, eucalyptus and various types of palm trees also grow there. Hilly and mountainous areas are covered with different types of pine: umbrella pine, maritime pine, Aleppo pine and Corsican pine. Along rivers and streams, mainly ash trees, black poplars and willows grow, swamps are attractive for (sugar) cane, tamarisks, lye herb and seven trees, a cypress species related to the juniper.

The Spanish silver fir, which is up to 30 meters high. or Abies pinsapo is a rare tree species and is found in Andalusia only in the Sierra de Grazalema and the Parque Natural Sierra de las Nieves near Ronda. Special plants in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata are the jujube and the rare dwarf fan palm.

Spanish firPhoto: 15Gitte Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Spain no changes made

The 862 km2 Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada is home to about 2100 species of flowers, plants and trees, the whole of Spain has about 7000. Below a number of unique types of crocuses, daffodils, thistles, poppies, clover, gentian and a huge native honeysuckle species.

In Spain's largest natural park, the Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas, in addition to around 1200 different species, native plants such as the Cazorla violet, the Cazorla geranium and the carnivorous plant Pinguicula vallisneriifolia. Larici pine, hazel, holly, stone and down oak trees also grow in the woods of the park.

Pinguicula vallisneriifiola euml;Photo: Juandiegocano Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Parque Natural de Los Alcornocales (170,000 ha) consists largely of pedunculate oaks, holm oaks, wild olive trees and cork oaks, from which the park owes its name. One of the largest cork oak forests in Europe is located in this park. Cork is still extracted here, the cork oak is on average about 150 years old and during that period it can be harvested about ten times. Cork oaks cannot supply cork until they are at least 30 years old and the trunk has a diameter of more than 60 centimeters.

Cork Oaks, AndalusiaPhoto: gailhampshire Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Parque Natural de la Sierra Subbética has a Mediterranean vegetation with holm oak, summer oak, pepper trees, hawthorn, peonies, thorns and gorse. Strawberry trees, tamarisks, hawthorns, willows, poplars, tamarisks, wild blackberries, kermes oaks and American windes grow where it is a bit more humid. Native species are also Hipochaeris rutea and Allium reconditum, a garlic species.


Ibex AndalusiaPhoto: Javier García Diz Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Just like the plant world, the animal world of Andalusia varied, with quite a few protected species. The animal world is South European-Mediterranean in character with a number of African elements (chameleon, genet, mongoose, etc.). Andalusia forms an important springboard for about 350 species of migratory birds on their way from Northern Europe to Africa, among others. To the ornithological highlights of Andalusiaaalso include the many different species of birds of prey, including the rare Spanish or Iberian imperial eagle, and water birds. The ibex is a mountain goat with long horns. Nearly wiped out in 1900, the population has recovered and it is estimated that there are now about 70,000 individuals, mainly in Andalusia. The largest national park in Spain alone, the Parque nacional Sierra Nevada (862 km2), has more than 5000 specimens. Off the coast, in the Chafarinas Islands, the rare Mediterranean monk seal can still be seen.

National and Natural Parks of AndalusiaPhoto: Falconaumanni CCAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

In the Parque Nacional de Coto Doñana (surface approx. 55,000 ha with coastal marshes or 'marismas', 'walking' drifting dunes and so-called 'cotos', dry, undulating areas with scrubland), by UNESCO on the international list Located in Cádiz, Seville and Huelva provinces of biosphere reserves, its size is home to many reptiles, amphibians and mammals, including Spurr-tighed Tortoise, Snub-nosed Viper, Fringed Lizard, Midwife Toad, Wild Boar, Fallow Deer, Red Deer, Genet Cat fox. Like many other areas, this area, one of the largest and most important wetlands in Europe for birds, is of great importance for breeding and migratory birds, including marbled duck, the rare slender-billed gull, blue heron, squirrel heron, little egret, night heron, stork, spoonbill, gadwall, common pochard, red-tailed duck, purple scoot, burdock coot, avocet, black-winged stilt, white-faced tern, greylag goose, wigeon, pintail, teal, shoveler, coot and black-tailed godwit, pygmy eagle, snake eagle, Spanish or Iberian imperial eagle, kestrel, white-eyed duck, casarca or rusty goose, black ibis, banded buttonquail and black kite.

Peñon the Zaframagón is an important bird sanctuary with Europe's largest colony of griffon vultures. Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema is home to a small number of vultures or white bitch vultures and greater numbers of griffon vultures and golden eagles. Another reserve, Dehesa de Bajo, is home to the curmudgeon or blaze coot and this wooded area is home to the largest colony (more than 400 pairs) of storks in Europe. The Parque Natural Sierra de Hornachuelos is home to the second largest colony of black vultures of Andalusia.
Laguna de Fuente de Piedra is, if not dried up, the largest natural lake in Andalusia and also one of the two largest breeding grounds of the (common or European) flamingo, the only species found in Europe. After a wet winter, about 20,000 pairs breed in the barely one meter deep lake. The other great breeding ground for flamingos is the Camargue in South West France.

The rare Spanish or Iberian Imperial Eagle still occurs in AndalusiaaPhoto: Antonio Lucio Carrasco Gómez CCGen;rica de Atribución/Compartir-Igual 3.0 no changes

The lagoons of Albufera de Adra on the coast of Almería are home to important populations of the Aphanius iberus, a ray-finned fish from the egg-laying toothcarp family that is only found in the Iberian Peninsula. Also special is the globally endangered white-headed duck, which breeds and hibernates here. The also endangered marble duck rests here on its way to Africa. Other waterfowl that breed here are grebe, little bittern, pochard, red-crested duck, tufted duck and coot.
Also botanically, especially in the field of aquatic plants, this relatively small area has a lot to offer, including reed, arrow reed, bulrush cattail, cattail or sea rush, large nymphpowder and galigaan, a perennial plant belonging to the cyper grass family. Bahia de Cadiz is a fine example of a wetland tidal area typical of the Iberian Peninsula. This area is crucial for many migratory and wintering water birds, including spoonbill, ringed plover, Kentish plover, black-winged stilt, silver plover, lesser black-backed gull, Caspian gull, little egret, cormorant, redshank and little tern.

The Sierra Morena is one of the last habitats of the rare Iberian lynx. Thanks to a successful zoo breeding program, the number of Iberian lynxes, almost all of them found in Andalusia, is on the increase again. In 2011 there were again 200-300 copies counted, ten years earlier there were only about 100.

Iberian Lynx, rare in AndalusiaPhoto: Frank Vassen Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The area west of Aracena is known for its typical black Iberian pigs, the 'porco pretos'.

Typical Andalusia: black Iberian pigs or 'porco pretos' Photo: Comakut Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Other Areas:

-Hoya de Bazade Guadix and Tabernas Cabo de Gata (approx. 29,000 ha),Crested Cuckoo, Spurr-tighed Nightjar, Griffon Swift, Alpine Swift, Roller, Dupont Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Thekla Lark, Spanish Sparrow, Desert Finch and recently breeding racing birds have been found in this area for the first time in Europe.

Laguna de Fuente de Piedra (important salt lagoon in Central Andalusia): (common) flamingo, laughing tern, thin-billed gull, Kentish plover, Montagu's harrier

Laguna de la Janda: Spanish imperial or Iberian eagle, gray kite, crane, hermit ibis, house swift, black-backed swallow

Marismas del Odiel (7150 ha): spoonbill, little tern

Gibraltar: the tailless Barbary macaque or magot is the only outside Asia and the only monkey species that can be found in the wild in Europe. Besides Gibraltar, where about two hundred monkeys live, the Barbary macaque is also found in Morocco and Algeria. Fossils of a Barbary macaque species related to the Barbary macaque species have also been found in the Netherlands (Tweede Maasvlakte and Tegelen in Limburg).

Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla, Segura Y Las Villas: largest nature park in Andalusia(214,300 ha) with 1200 plant species, wild boar, genet, stone marten, wild cat, fox, otter, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, hawk, osprey, trout, carp, black bass

Parque Natural de la Sierra Subbética (32,000 ha): peregrine falcon, golden eagle, griffon vulture, wild boar, forest cat, stone marten, Cabrera vole

Serranía de Ronda: barred warbler, mountain warbler, orpheus warbler, Iberian warbler, snake eagle, dwarf eagle, hawk eagle, black wheatear

Osuna: great bustard, small bustard, black-bellied sandgrouse, curlew, gray kite, fork-tailed plover, Montagu's harrier, crane

Parque Natural de la Desembocadura del Río Guadalhorce: white-headed duck, slender-billed gull, Audouin's gull, black-headed gull, little eagle

Sierra del Torcal (1171 ha): black wheatear, blue rock thrush, red rock thrush, ring thrush, gray bunting, Alpine hedge sparrow, hawk eagle, golden eagle, griffon vulture

Red Rock ThrushPhoto: Pierre Darlous Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Sierra de Grazalema (approx. 51,000 ha): griffon vulture, golden eagle, hawk eagle, snake eagle, pygmy eagle, peregrine falcon, eagle owl, osprey, egyptian vulture, alpine crow, blue rock thrush, black wheatear, red partridge, hoopoe, bee-eater, hawfinch, great spotted woodpecker, golden oriole, alpine hedge sparrow, alpine swift, Spanish or Iberian ibex, wild boar.

Marismas del Ordiel: spoonbill, blue heron, purple heron, little egret, marsh harrier, purple-footed stilt, black-tailed stilt, fork-tailed plover, Kentish plover, slum billed gull, laughing tern, little tern, wigeon, mallard, shoveler, pochard, avocet

Parque Natural Sierra de Baza
-Mammals: Spanish or Iberian ibex, red deer, wild boar, weasel, (European) badger, polecat, stone marten, (common or red) fox, wild cat, genet cat, rabbit, Iberian hare, red or common squirrel, acorn mouse, wood mouse, Algerian mouse, house mouse, black rat, brown rat, Cabrera vole, Western European vole, Provençal vole, house shrew, eyelash shrew, Iberian blind mole, great horseshoe bat, lesser horseshoe bat, purple horseshoe bat, potted bat, fringed tail, long-tailed bat, common pipistrelle bat, little pipistrelle bat, Savi's pipistrelle bat, gray long-eared bat, pug bat, long-winged bat, long-winged bat: red-tailed bat common or brown toad, natterjack toad, European chitjak, smooth snake, Andalusian midwife toad, flip-nose viper, lesser marble salamander, ribbed newt, Southern Spanish or Eastern Iberian disc-tongue frog, Spanish garlic toad, green-spotted Iberian frog, Mediterranean tree frog and Iberian lake frog.

Andalusian midwife pathPhoto: Benny Trapp Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Spotted birds in the Sierra de Baza

Alpine SwiftwarblerRedwingstarling
Alpine hedge musmeadow pipitShort-toed larklong-tailed tit
Red-billed Choughgray buntingFieldfaregolden eagle
chaffinchgray flycatchercrossbillLittle Owl
Bearded Warblergray buntingcrested cuckooWheatear
flushergreen woodpeckercrested larkthekla lark
mountain whistlergreenfinchCrested TitChiffchaff
bee-eaterGreat Spotted Woodpeckerquailkestrel
Blue Rock ThrushGreat Yellow Wagtailblackbirdgarden warbler
blond wheatearbig thrushSpurr-tighed nightjarCollared Dove
barn swallowhawkNightingalegriffon vulture
pied flycatcherhawk eagleoehoeSkylark
Nuthatchhedge sparroworpheus warblertick
tree creeperstock pigeonorpheusspotvogelJay
tree larkhopBlue Titwater pipit
falconwood pigeonProvençal warblerOriole
tawny owlhouse sparrowputterWren
Spectacled Warblerhouse martinravenWhite Wagtail
buzzardIberian Gray Shrikelong-eared owlSong Thrush
cirl buntingIberian Chiffchafftree sparrowsummer dove
dune pipitcalendar larkred partridgeCarrion Crow
Dupont's larkkeeprobinBlack Tit
pygmy eagleBarn OwlEuropean Stonechatblack redstart
Scops OwllapwingRed-headed Shrikeblack starling
magpielittle reed warblerred-rumped swallowBlack Wheatear
European CanaryLesser Kestrelrock pigeonblack kite
fitnesssmall stairsrock swallowblackcap
whistlerlittle blackcaproller
collared redstartlittle short-toed larksiskin
Yellow WagtailLinnetsnake eagle
common swiftcuckooPeregrine Falcon
golden roosterGreat TitSparrowhawk

Iberian ChiffchaffPhoto: Rodrigo Saldanha de Almeida no changes made

Spotted butterflies in Andalusia

strawberry tree greengroceressenpagelittle firecracker headorange tip
amethyst bluegeranium bluelittle cabbage whiteReseda white
argus butterflystriped white marblelittle tiger bluemuzzle butterfly
atalantaStriped Pile Butterflylittle rangerSpanish flower blue
blowing bush bluegray sandy eyeLittle Pile ButterflySpanish orange sand eye
turned out to be a haystackgreen clover pagelittle fritillary butterflySpanish thyme blue
flower bluerookielittle foxSpanish king page
colorful sand eyelarge-veined whitelittle fire butterflySpanish fritillary butterfly
tree bluelarge cabbage whitequartz blueSpanish pipe flower butterfly
forest whitebig foxmalrovedikkopjetiger blue
lemon butterflyhaybeastMoorish checkerboardviolet fire butterfly
CleopatraIcarus blueMoorish dwarf blueWestern Marble White
thistle butterflyJasius butterflyMoorish thyme bluewhite laced speckled frog
dwarf tadpolemallow tadpoleorange lucerne butterflySouthern Midget Blue

Andalusian horse

The Andalusiar is happily used for dressage Photo: nickage Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Andalusiar, usually a gray, is an ancient Spanish horse breed from the area around the Andalusian capital of Seville. Since 1967 there has been a studbook and breeding organization recognized by the Spanish government, the 'Associación Nacional de Criadores de Caballos de Pura Raza Española', which represents the pure Andalusian breed. As is so often the case in such cases, other domestic studbooks also claim their studbook, and even distant foreign countries such as Australia have their own 'Andalusian' studbooks.
There is also a lot of discussion about the origin and the oldest history of the Andalusians. For example, the Andalusian was first bred in a Carthusian abbey in the 15th century and descended from the Sorraia horse, which is only found in Portugal. But also the horses of Berber people are said to have been at the origin of the Spanish horse. Other European breeds such as the Frisian horse, the Lipizzaner and the Holsteiner are influenced by the Andalusian.
The Andalusian is used in riding schools all over the world, but is also extremely suitable and is widely used in circuses and all kinds of dressage. The specific capacities of the Andalusians are optimally developed in the Spanish riding school, in classical dressage, the 'doma classica', and in the high school dressage, the 'alta escuela'. But also in much less elegant bullfighting, the Andalusian is gladly used, mainly because of its courage and maneuverability.

Cartujano or Carthusian, Andalusian horse breedaPhoto: Fresco Tours Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Cartujano or 'Carthusian' is another famous Andalusian horse breed. It is a variant of the Andalusian, bred by Carthusian monks in the 15th century and one of the oldest and purest horse breeds worldwide. To protect the breed, Cartujano's are currently bred and controlled by the state stud farms of Córdoba, Jerez de la Frontera and Badajoz. The majestic Cartujano has been ridden by many powerful men throughout history, including Napoleon Bonaparte. The height at the withers of the Cartujano is between 1.52 and 1.62 meters and the most common color is gray, but the colors black, chestnut and brown are also common.


First occupants

From about 100,000 to 26,000 years BC, during the last ice age, Andalusia was inhabited by Neanderthals. The decline of the Neanderthals in Europe started about 35,000 BC, but recent excavations have shown that these people in Andalusia up to about 26,000 years BC. After the Neanderthals, Homo sapiens took over, probably from North Africa and attracted by the climate, forests and the presence of many different animals. These hunters and gatherers left between 20,000 and 16,000 BC. many beautiful petroglyphs behind, including in Andalusian caves such as Cueva de Ardales, Cueva de la Pileta and Cueva de Nerja.

Overview of the Cueva de la Pileta, indicating the site of petroglyphs Photo: falconaumanni Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Approx. 6000 BC. The Neolithic or New Stone Age reached Spain from Egypt and Mesopotamia, and from that time on agriculture became increasingly important. About 3,500 years later, the people of Los Millares, near present-day Almería, were able to work copper for the first time, and that was the first time that a metalworking culture emerged. During this time, especially in the area of Antequera (just north of Malaga), many megalithic monuments were erected, as at that time in countries such as France, Great Britain and Ireland. Approx. 1900 BC. the agrariars of Al Argar from the province of Almería were the first to work bronze, which was much stronger than copper.

Merchants and Conquerors

The development of Andalusia attracted seafaring traders from more developed societies around the Mediterranean. Later, those merchants were replaced by imperialist states seeking not only merchandise but political control over territories.
Around 1000 BC. attracted the thriving culture of western Andalusia the attention of the Phoenicians, seafaring traders from present-day Lebanon in West Asia, who introduced olives, grapes and donkeys to this area of Spain. Perfume, ivory, jewelry, oil, wine and textiles were exchanged for silver and bronze and trading settlements were established, including present-day Cádiz (then: Gadir) and Huelva (then: Onuba). In the 7th century BC. arrived the Greeks, who had about the same merchandise as the Phoenicians. The influences of the Phoenicians and the Greeks created a mixed culture that would come to be known as the Tartessos culture. It is not really known what exactly this culture represented. In the literature of that time there is talk of enormous wealth, but whether it concerned a city or a region, for example, is unclear. It is known that bronze was replaced by iron at that time.

Tartessos culture in Western Andalusiaa;Gadir is the current Cádiz Photo: Redtony Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Carthage, Rome and the Visigoths

Cordoba Andalusia Roman BridgePhoto: Michel wal Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

From the 6th century BC. Carthage, a former Phoenician colony, dominated trade in the western Mediterranean. Already in the 3rd century BC. would completely change this image, because a new Mediterranean power arose: Rome! The Romans won, with Siciliaat stake, the First Punic War (264-241 BC), but Carthage still managed to conquer southern Spain. During the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), Carthaginian general Hannibal crossed the Alps with his elephants and threatened the city of Rome. However, the Romans invented a ruse, they opened a second front and sent army units to Spain to fight against Carthage there as well. This battle was won by the Roman soldiers of General Scipio Africanus, after the Battle of Ilipa (near present-day Seville) in 206 BC. they controlled the entire Iberian peninsula. Built on the battlefield, Itálica was the first Roman settlement in Spain.
During Roman rule, Andalusia one of the richest and civilized regions of the Roman Empire, with Córdoba (then: Corduba) as the most important city. Rome brought Andalusia aqueducts, temples, theaters, amphitheaters, bathhouses, languages (Castilian, Portuguese, Catalan and Galician are directly descended from the Latin colloquialism of Roman settler soldiers), a fairly large Jewish population and in the 3rd century AD. Christianity. It is striking that two successive Roman emperors expanded their empire from Itálica in Andalusia, Trajan (98-117) and Hadrian (117-138).
At the end of the 4th century, the Huns overran Europe from Asia, and several Germanic tribes fled west, including the Visigoths. They conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the 6th century, because the Roman Empire was in decline at that time. From 552 to 622 Andalusia just a little further out of the Byzantine Empire, but after that the Visigoths held sway again.

Roman Spain c. 400 AD . Photo: Public domain

Visigoth Spain, approx. 700Photo: Public domain

After the Prophet Muhammad's death in 632, Islam was initially spread across the Middle East and Africa, but it wouldn't be long before Muslims turned their sights on Spain. In 711, Tariq ibn Ziyad, the governor of Moroccan Tangier, defeated the Visigoth king Roderik with a mostly Berber army at the Rio Guadalete in Cádiz province. In a few years the entire Iberian Peninsula was in the possession of the Muslim Moors, with the exception of some areas in the far north in the mountains of Asturias. For the next four centuries the Moors would rule the Iberian Peninsula and for the next four centuries they were still a force of power.

Tariq ibn Ziyad (670-720)Photo: Public domain

One of the most developed areas of Moorish Spain would become Al-Andalus, present-day Andalusia. The borders of Andalusia shifted regularly due to Christian attacks in the area, but until the mid-11th century, Christians were not much of a threat to the Moors. There was even a kind of freedom of religion for the Jews and the Christians in Andalusia, but for that they had to pay high taxes. That was a major reason for many Jews and Christians to convert to Islam or flee to the Christian North. The Christians in Moorish territory became 'Mozaraben;called Mozárabes' in Spanish;those who converted to Islam were called 'muwallads' in Spanish. The Moors also brought about a cultural boom in Andalusia with the construction of beautiful palaces, mosques, the design of beautiful gardens and the foundation of a number of universities.

Emirate and Caliphate of Córdoba

In 750, the most powerful Muslim rulers to date, the Omayyads of Damascus, were forcibly deposed by the revolutionary Abassids, who moved the caliphate to Baghdad. The Ommayad Abd ar-Rahman I escaped the massacre, initially fled to Morocco and then left for Córdoba, where in 756 he proclaimed himself an independent Emir. The resulting dynasty would more or less unite Al-Andalus for about 250 years. In 785, the Mezquita (mosque) of Córdoba, a pinnacle of Islamic architecture, was opened to prayer.

Omayyad Caliphate at the height of its power Photo: Gabagool Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

In 929, Abd ar-Rahman III proclaimed himself Caliph of Córdoba, in response to the rising power of the North African Fatimid dynasty. The Caliphate of Córdoba at its height ruled about two thirds of the Iberian Peninsula and the city of Córdoba was the largest city in Europe at the time and the center of many developments in the fields of science such as astronomy, medicine, mathematics., philosophy, history and botany.

Later in the 10th century, General Al-Mansur terrorized the Christian north of Spain and destroyed, among other things, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. After the death of Al-Mansur, the Caliphate of Córdoba fell apart into many kingdoms or 'taifas', ruled by often Berber generals.

Almoravids and Almohads

Seville would become the strongest 'taifa' of Al-Andalus from about 1040, ruled an area from southern Portugal to Murcia in southeastern Spain from 1078 and ensured peace and prosperity. Meanwhile, the Christian north made itself heard more and more, and to the horror of Seville, Toledo was conquered in 1085 by Christians of Castile. Seville quickly enlisted the help of the strict Islamic sect of the Almoravids, Berbers from the Sahara who had conquered Morocco. The Almoravids did indeed come, defeated Alfonso VI of Castilia, but took over power in Al-Andalus. Al-Andalus was ruled as a colony from Marrakech and Jews and Christians were persecuted. However, this domination did not last long, revolts were the order of the day and from 1143 the whole area fell apart again into a number of taifas.
This situation would not last long either, because the Almohads, took control of the Almoravids in Morocco, conquered Al-Andalus in 1173 and proclaimed Seville the capital of their entire territory. Al-Andalus was considerably reduced at the time, and now ran only south of Lisbon to just north of Valencia. Again, Al-Andalus was regularly attacked by Christian forces, and in 1195 a large Castillian army was defeated by Almohadian ruler Yusuf Yakub al-Mansur. However, this caused several Christian fiefdoms to join hands and battle the Almohadic ruler. In 1212, the united armies of the Christian kingdoms of Castilia, Aragón and Navarre defeated the Almohads at Las Navas de Tolosa, north of Jaén. Fuss over a succession issue in 1224 allowed Castilia, Aragón, Portugal, and Léon to advance further south. The monarch of Castilia, Fernando 'El Santo' III, conquered the strategically important Baeza in 1227, Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248.

Almohad Empire around 1200Photo: Gabagool Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

At that time, the Emirate of Granada was the only area under the control of the Almohads, in this case of the Nazari Dynasty or Nasrid of Mohammed ibn Yusuf ibn Nasr. The area comprised roughly the present-day provinces of Granada, Málaga and Almería and would remain the last Muslim area on the Iberian Peninsula for about 250 years. The Nasrid were at the peak of their power in the 14th century under Yusuf I and Mohammed V. The eventual decline of the Nasrid was caused by two things: In 1476, Emir Abu al-Hasan refused to pay taxes to any longer. Castilia, and in 1479 the two powerful Christian states of Castileaand Aragón and in 1482 undertook a final crusade against Granada, the Reconquista. Granada, meanwhile, was already weakened by internal problems and Málaga was conquered in 1487 and Granada in 1492 without too much difficulty. The last emir, Boabdil, was allowed to keep a fief south of Granada, but left for Africa after a year.

Emirate of Granada TerritoryPhoto: Redtony Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Well into the 13th century, Muslims who continued to live in areas under "Christian" control, the so-called "mudéjars," did not have much to fear. It was not until 1264 that that changed with the revolt of the mudéjars of Jerez de la Frontera against increased taxes and tighter rules, making them compulsory to celebrate Christian festivals, for example. After a five-month battle, the mud jars were driven to Granada and North Africa, along with the mud jars of Seville, Córdoba and Arcos.
The new Christian rulers in southern Spain donated large pieces. land to nobles and knights who had played an important role in the Reconquista. Fernando III's son, Alfonso 'El Sabio' X, who reigned from 1252-1284, made Seville one of the capitals of Castileaand gathered around him a number of mainly Jewish scientists who translated texts from ancient times into Castillian. The Castillian monarchy was plagued by family rivalries and attacks from the nobility at the time, and Catholic kings took over Spain in the late 15th century.
An outbreak of plague and some poor harvests in the 14th century the Jews were blamed, and pogroms followed in the last decade of the 14th century. Some Jews, the so-called 'conversos' decided to be converted to Christians, others fled to the Islamic Granada. In the 1980s, the 'conversos' were hunted by the Spanish Inquisition and accused of still practicing their faith.

Cathedral of Teruel in mudéjar- building style Photo: Escarlati Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In 1492, under pressure from the Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada (1420-1498), Isabel and Fernando decided that any Jew who refused to be converted should be exiled. Between 50,000 and 100,000 Jews were converted at the time, but more than 200,000 Jews refused, and these so-called Sephardic Jews emigrated to other Mediterranean areas.

Migration directions of Spanish Jews ( sefardim), 15th to 18th century Photo: Encyclopaedia Judaica CC BY 3.0 NO no changes made

The task of converting the Muslims of Granada lay in the hands of Cardinal Francisco Jiménez (Ximenez) de Cisneros, executor and "boss" of the Inquisition. He forced many Muslims to convert to Christianity, burned Islamic holy books and banned the Arabic language.
All this led to a failed Muslim uprising in Las Alpujarras in 1500, after which the Muslims could choose, convert or Granada leave. Most Muslims, 'Moriscos', then allowed themselves to be converted, but after the fanatical Catholic King Philip II banned the Arabic language, Arabic names and even 'Morisco' clothing, a new Las Alpujarras revolt spread across the south of Andalusia. This uprising, which lasted two years, was won by Philip, after which the Moriscos were initially deported to Western Andalusia and the north of Spain. Between 1609 and 1614, almost all Muslims were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula by Philip III.

Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436-1517) Photo: Public domain

The accidental discovery of America by Christopher Columbus would become of great significance, especially for the river port of Seville. During the reign of Charles I (1516-1556), the king of Spain and better known as the Roman German Emperor Charles V, 'conquistadors' like Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro conquered large tracts of land from the American mainland and brought enormous quantities of gold and silver to Spain, one fifth of which was collected by the Spanish crown.
Seville became the center of world trade at that time and was the most important city in Spain until the late 17th century, although Madrid was declared the capital of Spain as early as 1561. The population of Seville grew in barely a century from 40,000 in 1503 to 150,000 in 1600. But cities such as Cádiz and to a lesser extent Córdoba, Granada and Jaén also participated in these golden years. At the end of the 17th century, things quickly deteriorated with the position of Seville as an important port. Silver journeys from America declined rapidly and the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir, the lifeline to the Atlantic Ocean essential to Seville, slowly silted up. In addition, epidemics and poor harvests caused the death of some 300,000 Andalusians. In 1717, Seville's prominent place in trade with America was taken over by the seaport of Cádiz, which reached its peak in the 18th century.

In the 18th century there were initially a number of economically important developments. A new road from Madrid to Seville and Cádiz was built, more agricultural areas were opened up and the population was greatly increased by people coming from other areas of Spain to Andalusia. By 1787 the population had risen to 1.8 million.
Very bad news for Cádiz and therefore also for Andalusia was the loss of the American colonies at the beginning of the 19th century. The port city of Cádiz was in fact totally dependent on trade with these colonies and when this stopped Andalusia ran out. In the course of the 19th century it fell into severe economic crisis and became one of Europe's least developed regions with huge income disparities between some wealthy people and the rest of the population. The early 19th century also marked the end of Spain as a naval power. In 1805 a combined Spanish-French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars at Cabo de Trafalgar, south of Cádiz, was defeated by the British under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), who was killed in this naval battle. In 1836 and 1855 a lot of church and congregation land was auctioned to reduce the national debt, but this was again at the expense of farmers who saw their pasture land go up in smoke and unemployment, illiteracy, disease and hunger lay before the many, especially day laborers, lurk. Peasant revolts broke out, inspired in part by anarchist ideas of the Russian Michael Bakunin, which were, however, suppressed with a heavy hand. It was at this time that the powerful anarchist trade union Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) was also founded in Seville in 1910, which in Andalusiaaalready had 93,000 members in 1919.

Spanish Civil War

In fact, the polarization of Andalusian society and politics was true for all of Spain, and in the course of the 20th century, Spain was heading for a real civil war.
In 1923, the general born in Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia, Miguel Primo de Rivera launched a military coup along with the great socialist union Union General de Trabajadores (UGT). King Alfonso XIII appointed Primo de Rivera as chairman of a military directorate, remained monarch, but in fact had nothing more to say. As a result of bad economic times, discontent in the military and the gains of republican parties in local elections in April 1931, King Alfonso XIII fled to Italy. Earlier, in January 1930, Primo de Rivera had already resigned due to continued criticism of his policies and was succeeded by General Damasco Berenguer.

Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbanejo (1870-1930) Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-09414 CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany no changes made

The Spanish Civil War drove a wedge between families, groups of friends and communities. Both sides committed terrible massacres, especially in the first weeks of the war. The rebels, calling themselves nationalists, murdered tens of thousands of republicans, but they too did not stand idle, killing about 7,000 priests, monks and nuns alone. In republican areas, many towns and cities were run by anarchists, communists or socialists. Andalusia became an anarchist stronghold, where private property was banned and churches and monasteries were often set on fire. Landowners' farms were occupied by peasants and some 100 agricultural communes were established.
The situation was soon apparent: towns with garrisons supporting the rebels, and most of them, fell immediately into the hands of the nationalists, for example in the Andalusian cities of Cádiz, Córdoba and Jerez de la Frontera. Seville was in the hands of the nationalists in two days, Granada a few days later. The conquest of Granada cost about 4000 lives, including that of the great Spanish writer Federico García Lorca, born in Fuente Vaqueros, a town west of Granada. But there were also many victims in republican-controlled areas, in anarchist Málaga around 2500 people were murdered in a month. In response, the Nationalists, with the help of fascists from Italy, executed thousands of Republicans in February 1937. Eastern Andalusia remained in republican hands until the end of the civil war.
At the end of 1936, General Francisco Franco was the undisputed nationalist leader, aided meanwhile by weapons, planes and nearly 100,000 troops from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The republicans had much less aid, several tens of thousands of French soldiers and many foreigners who fought with the International Brigades. The Nationalists captured Barcelona in January 1939 and Madrid in March of that year. Franco proclaimed himself the winner of the civil war on April 1, 1939.

Andalusia after the Second World War

After the civil war, the bloodshed was far from over, as another 100,000 Spaniards were killed or died in prison. Franco ruled like an absolute monarch, commander of the army and leader of the only political party, the Movimiento Nacional. Spain was spared the Second World War, but suffered a UN boycott after the war, causing the population to suffer from 'anos de hambre' (hunger years) in the late 1940s, especially in poor areas. like Andalusia.

To solve the poor conditions in Andalusia, mass tourism was introduced to the Costa del Sol in the late 1950s. However, this did not prevent approximately 1.5 million Andalusians from looking for work in Madrid, northern Spain and other countries, including the Netherlands, in the 1950s and 1960s. Until the 1970s, many Andalusian villages and towns had no electricity, running water or paved roads, and the education system was very poor. As a result, many of the Andalusians over 50 are still illiterate.

Franco's chosen successor, Prince Juan Carlos, Alfonso XIII's grandson, ascended the Spanish throne in 1975, two days after the death of Franco. The Democratic Party was introduced by Juan Carlos, together with his Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez. A bicameral parliamentary system was introduced and in 1977 political parties and trade unions were again allowed. There was also much more freedom on all kinds of social themes, for example in the field of contraception, homosexuality and divorces. The 1978 constitution makes Spain a parliamentary monarchy with freedom of religion.
In 1982 the Franco era was finally broken when, after free elections, the Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol (PSOE) of Felipe González, a lawyer from Seville, came to power. He remained prime minister for fourteen years and several Andalusians were active in high posts in his party. In 1980 the autonomy of Andalusia approved by referendum and in 1982 Andalusia officially an autonomous region with its own parliament. The first elections to the Andalusian Parliament were won by Rafael Escudero, followed in 1984 by Juan Rodríguez de la Borbolla and in 1990 by Manuel Chaves. In 1986 Spain became a member of the European Union.

Felipe GonzálezPhoto: Claude Truong-Ngoc CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Since 1982, the PSOE has also dominated the regional parliament of Andalusia, which is based in Seville. In the eighties and early nineties, the various PSOE parliaments ensured that the economic situation went much better with Andalusia.
Nationally, the PSOE lost power in 1996 to the center-right Partido Popular (PP), which benefited from the economic prosperity in Spain and the rest of Europe for eight years. Andalusia benefited from the growth of tourism and industry, from huge European agricultural subsidies and the construction of houses and offices. Unemployment fell from 32% to 16% during that period, still the highest rate in all of Spain, but a substantial reduction nonetheless.

Andalusia in the 21st century

In the period 2000-2010, hundreds of thousands of job-seeking Eastern Europeans, Africans and Latin Americans emigrated to Andalusia.

In 2004 the PSOE won the national and regional elections in Andalusia, just after the March 11 attacks on trains in Madrid, which killed 191 people and injured 1,800.

In 2006, the Andalusian parliament adopted a new statute, making Andalusia getting more autonomy. This status was approved by referendum in 2007.

In 2008, just before the start of the economic crisis in many parts of Europe, a record number of nearly 10 million tourists visited Andalusia. However, from 2008 to 2012, the crisis hit Andalusia hard, tourism and construction work fell sharply, causing unemployment to rise from 14% to 31%, the highest rate in all of Spain.

In August 2013 announced the then President of Andalusia, JoséAntonio Grinán, on his departure. His successor, Susana Díaz, was elected President of the Andalusian Parliament on September 5, 2013.

 Susana Díaz Pacheco, President of the Parliament of Andalusia since September 7, 2013 Photo: Juancamartos Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Regional elections in March 2015 were held in Andalusia and won by the socialist party PSOE. However, this party again did not achieve an absolute majority, as in the previous regional elections, the PSOE received 47 of the 109 seats in the regional parliament. The conservative Partido Popular, the then national government party, won 33 seats, the worst result in 25 years. The new left party Podemos did remarkably well with 15 seats. In elections in 2018, the balance shifts somewhat more to the right. The far right party Vox comes from nowhere with 12 seats in parliament, the PSOE falls from 47 to 33 seats.

See also the history of Spain on Landenweb.



Andalusia is one of the 17 autonomous regions of Spain. Andalusia has 8.4 million inhabitants (2016) and is therefore the largest Spanish autonomous region by population and good for approximately 20% of the Spanish population. Andalusia just like Spain has a population density of approximately 96 people per km2. With almost 700,000 inhabitants, Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain and the largest city in Andalusia. Málaga is a close second with approx. 600,000.
Most Andalusians live in the big cities and on the tourist coastal region. The provinces of the same name have the greatest population density, the provinces of Córdoba and Granada are in the middle bracket, Jaén, Huelva and Almería are the least populated.

Population density overview Andalusia Photo: Téy kriptonita Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the fifties and sixties of the last century, hundreds of thousands of Andalusians left the countryside of Andalusia to get recognition in the factories in the north of Spain and in Western European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The 1970s saw the depopulation and aging of the rural areas of Andalusiaa due to the rapid rise of mass tourism, which provided many jobs in the coastal area. After the accession of Spain to the European Union in 1986, many Andalusians returned from abroad, but they too remained mainly in the big cities.

Population growth Andalusia 1787-2014



Flamenco is a type of music with tight rhythm structures, combined with a dance, originating from the south of Spain, especially from Andalusia, but the provinces of Extremadura, Murcia and Huelva have also contributed to the development of (different types of) flamenco. Flamenco, with among others (African)-Arabic and many gypsy influences, originated in the second half of the 19th century and every new generation adds something new to it. About 40 different styles can be distinguished, from the popular 'fandango' to the gloomy 'siguiriya'.
The basis of flamenco is the singing, the 'cante flamenco', which in the past was usually accompanied with rhythmic 'knocking', for example clipping fingers, clapping hands, staccato stamping with feet or using castanets. Nowadays flamenco is usually accompanied by a Spanish flamenco guitar (el toque), but also sometimes by flute, violin, piano and cello. The singing is also supported by the typical flamenco dance (el baile). In recent decades flamenco has also been influenced by Latin American music and especially Cuban music. More recently, influences can be seen from world music and even from rock, punk and hip-hop. Where the name flamenco comes from has never been resolved and many theories are circulating.

Flamenco music is divided into three categories: cante jondo (sad song) or cante grande, cante intermedio and cante chico. These three categories are subdivided into different forms, each with its own key and rhythm.

fandangos de Huelva

The development of flamenco can be divided into a number of periods:
-1800-1860 'La Etapa Primitiva' or primitive period
-1860-1920 'La Etapa Clásica o de los Cafés Cantantes' or classical period
-1920-1950 'La Etapa de laÓpera Flamenca' or the period of flamenco opera
-1950-now 'La Etapa de Renacimiento' or period of the rebirth

Flamenco dancer in traditional costume, Andalusia Photo: Michael Cohen Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

In Seville, there are the most and most varied possibilities to enjoy flamenco.

Typical Seville establishment where enjoying a flamenco performance Photo: Feranza Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The greatest flamenco guitarist of the modern era was Paco de Lucía (1947-2014), born in the Andalusian Algeciras (province of Cádiz); one of the greats of the moment is Paco de Peña, born in Andalusian Córdoba. He ensured the popularization of flamenco, not only abroad but also in Spain itself. Together with the famous flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla (1952-1992) he developed the 'flamenco nuevo', a style variant of the flamenco guitar playing. Another famous singer was Manuel Ortega Juárez (1909-1973), also known as Manolo Caracol or 'El Caracol'. At the moment the sisters Fernanda and Bernarda de Utrera are among the best flamenco singers; famous flamenco dancers or 'bailaoras' were Eva Yerbabuena, Sara Baras, Juana Amaya and the Seville-born Cristina Hoyos; important flamenco dancers or 'bailaors' are or were Antonio Canales and Joaquin Cortés.

Francisco Sánchez Gómez (1947-2014), stage name Paco de LucíaPhoto: Cornel Putan Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made


Spanish Language MapPhoto: Ichwan Palongengi Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Castellano (Castilian) has been the official state language since around 1250. In other countries, Castellano is actually always called "Spanish". Castellano is a Romance language with many derivations from Latin, but also from many other languages. Spanish contains about 100 words that were brought to the peninsula by the Visigoths, among others. During the rule of the Moors about 4000 words were introduced into the Spanish language. Furthermore, many words have been taken from French and Italian and more recently from English.

Examples of derivations include:

Arabic. Alcázar. Aldea. Acequia. Alcoba

French. monje. vinagre. menú. coqueta

Western Gothic. guardia. ropa. tapa. espuela

English. lider. mitin. tractor. fútbol

Castellano differs greatly from other Romance languages in some respects, especially in pronunciation. The letters of the Spanish alphabet are: a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n,ñ, o, p, q, r, rr, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.
The main dialects of Castellano are Andaluz (Andalusian), Leonés, Navarro, Aragonés and Asturiano.

Castillian dialects in SpainPhoto: Stephen Shaw at english wikipedia CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Andalusian variants of Spanish (Castellano), which are very different from the northern Spanish dialects, are spoken in Andalusia, Ceuta, Melilla and Gibraltar. Due to the large number of inhabitants of Andalusia the Andalusian dialect is the second largest in Spain. Due to the massive emigration from Andalusia to the Spanish colonies in North and South-America, the American-Spanish dialects are quite similar to the Spanish of Western Andalusia in particular. Other Spanish varieties, such as Canary Island Spanish, Caribbean Spanish and other Latin American dialects, are also based on Andalusian Spanish.
Andalusian has a number of important distinctive phonological, morphological and syntactic features, and also the vocabulary differs from Spanish. In terms of vocabulary, many Andalusian words stem from Mozarabic, it is estimated that about 15% of the Andalusian vocabulary is Arabic, a dead language spoken by the Mozarabics, Spanish Christians who lived under Moorish rule during the Reconquista, Romani, the language of the Roma, or of Old Castilian. Many of these words do not appear in other Spanish dialects, but for example in South America and Spanish-speaking Caribbean dialects. Some examples are words like 'chispenear' instead of 'lloviznar' or 'chispear' (drizzle), 'babucha' instead of 'zapatilla' (slipper), 'chavea' or 'antié' instead of 'anteayer' (the day before yesterday).
Some words, pronounced in the Andalusian way, are included in the 'normal' Spanish language, such as the Spanish word 'juerga' (to celebrate), which in Andalusian is ' huelga '.
The flamenco vocabulary, typical Southern Spanish music and dance, shows a number of words that are characterized in Andalusian by the omission of the letter' d ', for example in words like' cantaor '(cantador), 'tocaor' (tocador) and 'bailaor' (bailador). In Spanish these words would be written as 'cantante', 'músico' and 'bailarín'. Some words without 'd' are already included in regular Spanish, for example 'pescaíto frito', which would normally be spelled 'pescadito frito'.

Below are three texts of the Hail Mary, from top to bottom in Andalusian, Spanish and Catalan, another important Spanish language. Here too it is immediately noticeable that the 'd' is omitted, 'madre' becomes 'mae', 'pecadores' becomes 'pecaore'.

The Ave Maria in Andalusian

The Hail Mary in Spanish:

Dios te salve Maria,
llena eres de gracia,
el Señor es contigo,
bendita túeres entre todas las mujeres,
y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre, Jesús.
Santa María, Madre de Dios,
ruega por nosotros pecadores ahora y
en la hora de nuestra muerte.

The Hail Mary in Catalan:

Déu vos salve Maria,
plena de grácia;
el Senyorés amb Vós;
beneïda sou Vós entre totes les dones,
beneït es el fruit del vostre sant ventre, Jesús.
Santa Maria, Mare de Déu;
pregueu per nosaltres pecadors,
ara ia l 'hora de la nostra mort.


Spain Barcelona Sagrada FamiliaPhoto: Bernard Gagnon Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

From the year 394, when Spain was still part of the Roman Empire, Roman Catholicism has been the state religion. It was Emperor Theodosius who took care of this. In 589 this status was reaffirmed by the Visigoth king Recaredo. In 711 Spain was conquered by the Moors and Islam was the main religion.
It was not until the early seventeenth century that the Catholic Church regained its powerful position and a close cooperation between church and state developed. In 1931, at the time of the Second Republic, this undesirable situation came to an end. The church had not become very popular in all those centuries and this led to the death of about 6,000 clergymen in the Spanish Civil War. It was therefore not surprising that the church developed close ties with the Franco regime. Franco proclaimed Roman Catholicism the state religion in 1939. Thus, church life was woven throughout society. It was very remarkable that the church was only allowed to appoint bishops on the recommendation of Franco. This close collaboration with the dictator made the church very unpopular among the population again. Although the Second Vatican Council demanded the separation of state and church, Franco refused to comply.
It was only after Franco's death that the 1978 constitution reintroduced the separation of church and state and guaranteed freedom of religion. All this on the initiative of the newly appointed King Juan Carlos.

The Spanish population is approximately 95% Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church comprises a total of 14 archdioceses and 53 dioceses. Together they form the eleven church provinces. The Archdioceses of Barcelona and Madrid - Alcaláfall directly under the Holy See of Rome. The primate of Spain is the Archbishop of Toledo. Approx. 870,000 people profess a faith other than Roman Catholicism, including Muslims (approx. 500,000), Jews and Protestants (approx. 70,000).

In Andalusia 87% of the population is Catholic, 2% Muslim, 1% Protestant Christian, 8% without religion and the remaining 2% belongs to a variety of different denominations.

Spain: Archbishop Braulio Rodríguez Plaza of Toledo Photo: Archdiocese of Valladolid's picture archive CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes

Involvement with the church has declined sharply in recent decades. More than 4 million people say they no longer adhere to any religion. The number of parish clergy, monks and nuns is also declining sharply. Despite this decline, there is still massive participation in the important religious festivals. It may be clear that it is nowadays more and more tradition rather than religious belief.
In the countryside there is much participation in so-called "romerías", pilgrimages to the shrine of a certain saint or to much revered statues of Mary or Jesus. One of the best known is the Pentecostal romeríaxis of the western Andalusian Huelva, La Virgen del Rocío. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims still come here every year.

Religious buildings and activities in Andalusia

-Cathedral of Santa María de la Sede: The gigantic cathedral of Seville, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is officially the largest Gothic church in the world by volume, measuring 126 meters in length and width of 83 meters. After St. Peter in the Vatican and St. Paul's in London, Seville Cathedral is the largest Christian church in the world.
The cathedral stands on the site of the beautiful 12th century Almohad Mosque. After the conquest of Seville by the Christians in 1248, the mosque was used as a church until 1401. Then the mosque was demolished and the cathedral built. Of the mosque, apart from the Patio de los Naranjos, only the 104-meter high brick minaret, the 'Giralda', a masterpiece of Almohadic art, remains. Beautiful is the main chapel Capilla Mayor with an even more beautiful altar made by the Flemish woodcarver Pieter Dancart in 1482, with the 15th century 'retablo', the largest altarpiece in the world. In the Puerta de los Príncipes, a monumental tomb, lie, howwell the scholars are not quite in agreement on this, the remains of Christopher Columbus and some relatives.
Other important churches in Seville are the Basílica de La Macarena, built in 1949 by Gómez Millán, with a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary and the Iglesia de San Luis de Los Franceses, a superb example of Sevillian neo-baroque architecture. The Iglesia de Santa Ana from 1280 is the oldest church in Seville. The former Carthusian monastery now includes the Andalusian Center for Contemporary Art and the International University of Andalusia established.

Cathedral of Seville with on the right the former minaret 'Giralda' Photo: Ingo Mehling Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

-Cádiz Catedral or 'Catedral Nueva': this large Baroque-Neoclassical cathedral, the only completed Baroque church in Spain, with a dome of golden azulejos (Portuguese/Andalusian ceramic tiles), is, according to Spanish standards, soberly executed. It was decided to start construction as early as 1716, but the project was not completed until 1848, which is why the facade is built in neoclassical style. Next to the cathedral is the Iglesia de Santa Cruz or 'Catedral Viejo', a Gothic church from 1260 with a 17th century interior. Two special churches are the Oratorio de la Santa Cueva with frescoes by Francisco de Goya and the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri, a baroque church where the first liberal constitution was signed by the Parliament of Spain in 1812.

-Catedral de San Salvador: beautiful 18th century mix of Baroque, Neo-Classicism and Gothic. Cathedral since 1980 with finely decorated stone ceilings. The current tower used to be the minaret of a mosque.

-Catedral de la Encarnación: The construction of the cathedral of Málaga started in 1528 and due to many problems the project was not 'completed' until two centuries later and that resulted, as with many other churches in Andalusia, in a mix of styles: Baroque, Gothic and especially Renaissance. Costs got so out of hand that construction was stopped in 1782. One of the bell towers would never be finished again.

La manquita, the unfinished cathedral of Málaga Photo: Danielmlg86 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Spain no changes made

-The largest Buddhist stupa in Europe is located in the coastal town of Benalmádena, near Torremolinos. The 33 meter high stupa, inaugurated in 2003 and built by the Buddhist community of Benalmádena, Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, is open to visitors and, in addition to exhibitions related to Buddhism, meditative sessions and lectures on Buddhism are held.

Benalm's StupaádenaPhoto : Brian Milnes Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

-Mezquita or Great Mosque: church built in AD 600 on the foundations of the Christian Visigothic church of Saint Vincent. In 785, Emir Abd ar-Rahman bought the Christian church and turned the building into an Islamic mosque. In the following centuries, the last time in 987, the mosque, the third largest in the world, was expanded several times and a new minaret was added. In 1236 Córdoba was recaptured from the Moors by Ferdinand III of Castilea and in 1271 the mosque was not demolished but reconstructed into a Christian church (130x180 meters), among other things the minaret was replaced by a baroque bell tower and around 1520 a nave was added by Charles V to the church. The roof of the Mezquita is supported by more than 850 columns of marble, granite and jasper, a semi-precious stone. In 2004, Spanish Muslims submitted a request to hold services in the Mezquita, but this was not permitted by the Vatican.
Also special in Córdoba is the small mudéjar-'sinagoga 'built around 1315. (mudéjar made by Islamic craftsmen in the service of Christian commissionersrs), one of three synagogues in Spain that have survived from that period. The other two synagogues are located in the Central Spanish city of Toledo.

Mezquita by Córdoba, AndalusiaPhoto: Toni Castillo Quero Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

-Cathedral of Santa María de la Encarnación: the construction of this cavernous church did not begin until after the death of Isabel I of Castilia, the 'Catholic', in 1504, and only construction was completed in 1704. The result was inevitably a mix of architectural styles, Baroque on the outside by the 17th century architect Alonso Cano (1601-1667), Renaissance on the inside by the architect and sculptor Diego de Siloé(ca. 1495-1563). Next to the cathedral is the Capilla Real, an imposing Gothic building with a beautiful sacristy, which was built in the early 16th century as a mausoleum for the Catholic monarchs Isabella of Castilea and Ferdinand van Aragón.

-Cathedral: the fortress-like cathedral with Gothic (including the three naves) and classical elements (including the choir stalls) is built on a place where there used to be a mosque, but it was destroyed after an earthquake. The crenellated towers and heavy walls were needed because of the repeated attacks of Berber pirates.

-Iglesia de Santa Cruz: only remaining Romanesque church (13th century) in Andalusia.

-The 'city of towers' has more than ten church towers inspired by the 'Giralda' of the cathedral of Seville, including the unfinished Iglesia de Santa Cruz, which a statue of Nuestra Señora del Valle, the patron saint ofÉcija, and houses an early Christian sarcophagus from the 5th century.

Iglesia de la Santa Cruz,Écija Photo: Varpaijos Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

-Catedral de Jaén: Designed by Andrés de Vandelvira (1509-1575) and built between the mid-16th century and the end of the 17th century, it is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Andalusia. The cathedral has 17 side chapels, in the Capilla de San Fernando you can see a beautiful statue of Jesus. The cathedral is said to house the 'Santo Rostro', the cloth with which Saint Veronica is said to have dried the face of Jesus during his Way of the Cross. The neoclassical Iglesia del Sagrario is built against the cathedral.

-Capilla del Salvador: chapel in 1536 by Diego de Siloédesigned and built in the period 1540-1556 by Andrés de Vandelvira. it is a fine example of Andalusian renaissance religious architecture. The client was Charles V's secretary, Don Francisco delos Cobos, and the building was to serve as a family tomb.

-Necrópolis Romana: more than 900 family tombs cut into the rock or ' bolumbaria 'from Roman times. The 'Tumba de Serviliam' is the largest tomb and consists of a courtyard with columns and several chambers.

-Romería del Rocío: one of the largest ( religious) festivals in Spain. The four-day pilgrimage leads to the medieval statue of Nuestra Señora de Rocío, which could work miracles.

-The Holy Week or 'Semana santa' is the occasion for all the villages and cities to show off with, among other things, beautiful processions, especially that of Seville is known beyond the borders and is therefore often visited by tourists. During these processions, images of Jesus and Mary are carried through the streets, accompanied by music and people in traditional costumes. The images on platforms are carried by 'costaleros', preceded by penitents or 'nazarenos' with pointed hoods.

Processions are preceded by 'nazarenos' with pointed hoods, Sevilla, Andalusia Photo: realizada y propiedad de foncu CCAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made



The government of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, one of the seventeen Spanish Autonomous Communities, is coordinated and led by the autonomous executive body 'Junta de Andalucía'. The president of the 'Junta' works together with a government council of thirteen members, the 'Consejo de Gobierno'. The legislative authority in Andalusia since 1992, the Parlamento de Andalucía, which has been based in the capital of Seville and has 109 members, is located in the hospital de las Cinco Llagas building.
Members of Parliament are elected every four years by universal suffrage. The central government is represented in Seville by a government delegate who also heads provincial delegates from the central government.

Parliament of Andalusia in meetingPhoto: Junta Informa Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

The autonomous region of Andalusia consists of eight provinces with their own administration: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Huelva, Jaén, Granada, Málaga and Sevilla. The provinces are divided into 62 'comarcas', a kind of region or district. Andalusia has 765 municipalities (2008 census).

Provinces Andalusia Photo: Mao06 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Almería8,775 km27102
Cádiz7,436 km2642
Córdoba13,771 km2875
Granada12,647 km210169
Huelva10,128 km2679
Yesén13,496 km21097
Málaga7,308 km26100
Seville14,036 km29101

The three symbols of Andalusia, the green and white flag, the national anthem and the coat of arms, were defined by the Asamblea de Ronda in 1918 and the Juntas Liberalistas de Andalucía in 1933. The flag of Andalusia also contains the coat of arms of Andalusia, Hercules between two lions and two columns. Above Hercules is the Latin text 'Dominator Hercules Fundator' and at his feet 'Andalucía, por sí, para España y la Humanidad', which means as much as 'Andalusia for itself, for Spain and humanity '. The current political situation in Spain is described in the chapter history.

Flag of Andalusia Photo: Miguillen Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Text and sheet music national anthem Andalusia Photo: Antonio M. Romero Dorado CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made >


Spain BullfightingPhoto: MarcusObal Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Bullfighting dates back to ancient times, the bull is therefore the national animal of Spain, and this "sport" was also practiced in the Middle Ages in the time of the Habsburgs. At first only by the nobility but later more and more "matadores" emerged from the common people.
There are currently about 700 bull farms where fighting bulls or "toros bravos" are bred. The most expensive bulls cost around 15,000 euros and a matador, the torero that kills the bull, earns up to 50,000 euros per "corrida", per bullfight. Six bulls are killed per corrida. More than 13,000 corridas are held annually with 50 million visitors and about 30,000 bulls.
Corridas only take place in summer and usually start in the afternoon. The performance begins with a parade of three matadores with their helpers, the "cuadrilla". Accompanied by typical Spanish music, they parade through the arena, the "plaza de toros". Then the fight begins and the cuadrillas test and challenge the bull.
Then the "picador" sitting on a horse comes into the picture, injuring the bull in the withers, making the bull weakened by the blood loss. After the picador come the "banderillos", who stick their sharp "banderillas" in the shoulder of the bull. Finally comes the matador who puts an end to the often unequal battle with a sword thrust. Although all bulls eventually die, there are also regular deaths and injuries among the matadors.
Despite many protests from around the world, this Spanish popular entertainment (fiesta nacional) still continues with ever-increasing numbers of visitors. Moreover, it is a real industry where many millions of euros are earned and where 170,000 employees are directly involved. Corridas in this form are prohibited in the Canary Islands, as well as in some mainland municipalities.
The national Spanish public broadcaster RTVE stopped broadcasting bullfighting in January 2011. The channel finds it too violent for possibly watching children. In Spain, a debate has been raging about the bloody tradition for a long time. In July last year, Catalonia banned bullfighting, the second region after the Canary Islands, where bullfights have not been held since 1991.

The Andalusian town of Ronda, with one of the oldest arenas in Spain, has more or less proclaimed as the home of bullfighting. Since 1572, the 'Real Maestranza de Ronda' had been located here, a riding school where the Spanish aristocracy was taught to fight while driving. For this, bulls were hunted in an arena, and then the first modern form of bullfighting is said to have arisen. When a nobleman fell from his horse and was attacked by a bull, one Francisco Romero managed to distract the bull's attention by waving a hat. The following generations of Romero added more and more fitures and Pedro Romero (1754-1839) laid down the rules and movements of modern bullfighting. He also introduced the 'muleta', the red cape used to lure the bull towards him.
Ronda is also the birthplace of one of Spain's most famous 20th century bullfighters, Antonio Ordóñez. The Ordóñez family organizes every September in honor of Pedro Romero the 'Corridas Goyescas', where the best matadors of Spain participate in the original 19th century costumes depicted by the famous Spanish painter Goya in his paintings by Romero.

Matador Pedro Romero on a painting by Francisco de Goya Photo: Public domain

Another very famous matador was the Palma del Río born Manuel Benítez Pérez, 'El Cordobés', who celebrated his greatest triumphs in the sixties of the last century. The most famous female 'torera' was Cristina Sánchez de Pablos, who however retired from bullfighting in 1999 at the age of 27.

Statue of 'El Cordobés' in front of Córdoba bullring, Los Califas

Photo: Justojosemm

Manuel Laureano Rodriguez Sánchez (1917-1947) or 'Manolete', considered by some to be the best bullfighter ever, was born in Córdoba and died in Linares, province of Jaén. He died in armor at the age of thirty during a fight with the famous bull 'Islero', which hit him in the groin.


Andalusia Costa del PlasticoPhoto: Public domain

Until 2007, the Andalusian economy ran like hell through a boom in construction activities and high prices of houses and other properties. Add to that huge subsidies from the European Union for agriculture and a still increasing growth of tourism, and also in Andalusia the trees were thought to grow up to the sky. The effect of this economic prosperity on unemployment in Andalusia was gigantic, from 35% in 1994 to 13% of the workforce in 2007, the lowest percentage in living memory. And instead of many Andalusians looking for work elsewhere, many jobs were taken by the flow of thousands of migrants from Africa, Eastern Europe and South America.
In 2008, the real estate market collapsed, lending dried up and the global economic and financial crisis hit hard, including in Andalusia. Tourists stayed away and there was hardly any construction anymore, and because Andalusia was and is largely dependent on these economic activities, the crisis hit Andalusia extra hard. In 2012 the unemployment rate had risen to 33%, the highest rate in Spain. Youth unemployment (16-24 years) had even risen to a shocking 58%. And again, many Andalusians moved away in search of work in less affected regions of Spain or countries like Germany and England.
The only positive thing about this period was the pick-up in tourism in 2001 after a serious dip in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, approximately 8.5 million tourists traveled to Andalusia, although that was still at a much lower level than the record number of 9.8 million in 2008.

Sun tourists know the Andalusian stands can be found again en masse, here Marbella Photo: Diliff Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Historically always the economically weakest region in Spain, Andalusia is still predominantly an agricultural area in its traditional economy. The main products grown are: grain, olives, wine, almonds and fruit, especially citrus fruits.
Spain's largest grain region is around the capital, Seville, and in the provinces of Almería, Cádiz and Granada. The fertile plains in the province of Granada mainly yield fruit and vegetables. There is also a lot of horticulture in plastic polythene greenhouses (plasticultura) in the provinces of Almería, Huelva and Granada. Around 25,000 hectares of greenhouses are located around the town of El Ejido in the province of Almería alone. It is not surprising that this greenhouse area is also jokingly called 'Costa del Plástico'.
Cattle breeding takes place mainly on the meadows of the Sierra Morena, Cordillera Subbética and the Sierra de Cádiz.
Andalusia is another very important Spanish fishing region, with mainly sardines, tuna, clams and heart mussels and various types of shrimps.

The province of Jaén, especially around the place Andújar, it is center of olive cultivation in Spain. More than 40 million olive trees, which only start to bear edible olives after 4-5 years, cover the territory of Jaén, about a third of the province, an area of 4500 km2. In an average year, the olive farmers produce about 900,000 tons of olives of more than 200 different varieties, of which about 200,000 tons of olive oil is made. This means that the province of Jaén, with the city of Baeza as olive oil capital, accounts for about half of Andalusian production, about one third of total Spanish production and about 10% of world olive oil production. The quality of the olive oil is controlled by the Denominacón de Origen Controlada. The first cold pressing, the so-called 'virgin oil', is very rich in taste and the best product that is made.

As far as the eye can see olive trees in the province of Jaén Photo: Allie_Caulfield Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Algeciras, located at the southernmost point of van Spain in the province of Cádiz, is an important trading city and port and is known as the largest Spanish port for passenger transport, including between Europe and North Africa.

In the region of La Axarquía, in the province of Málaga, the local currency, the 'axarco', is still used. This currency, divided into axarquitos, was introduced in 1988 and can be used in most cases next to the euro. The banknotes were designed by the chemist Antonio Gámez Burgos and each coin depicts the sea, the sun and a vine. On the other side of the coin is an image of Ebn Beithar, an Arabian medic and botanist much admired by Gámez Burgos. The axarco is worth about 60 cents and is the only currency in Europe that still exists next to the euro. Gámez Burgos was triggered by the coin 'el zagal', which was used in Al-Andalus between 1480 and 1490.

In the mountainous region of Sierra de Aracena, in the province of Huelva, the place Minas de Riotinto. Here and in the vicinity, silver, gold, iron and copper have been sought for several thousand years, long before the arrival of the Romans. With the demise of the Roman Empire, the extraction of minerals in this region also stopped. It was not until 1873 that this activity was taken up again by the English of the Riotinto Mining Company Limited. The Río Tinto thanks to the copper beautiful color shades and the landscape also looks beautiful. Currently, the mines are operated by the British-Australian mining company Rio Tinto Group, which operates worldwide.

Río Tinto, Andalusia Photo: Gzzz Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made </sub >

El Condado, a fertile, hilly region east of Huelva, produces the best wine in Andalusia. The center of this wine region is located between the towns of Niebla, Palma del Condado and Rociana del Condado.


Only fortified wine (wine fortified with wine alcohol with an alcohol content increasing from 11 to 18 percent for olorosos and 15.5 percent for finos) from sherry triangle Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María north of Cádiz, may call itself sherry. Of these three cities, Jerez de la Frontera can be called the 'capital of the sherry', and this is where most of the wealthy sherry barons live. Sherry, a very British drink since the late 16th century, is the English corruption of Jerez. Already in the time of the Phoenicians, a form of sherry was made in Jerez de la Frontera (before: Xeres under Phoenicians, Ceritium under the Romans, Sheris under the Moors). The Romans and the Moors also continued to produce sherry, which was bought by Dutch traders, among others.
The famous English naval hero Francis Drake was the first, after the conquest of Cádiz, at the end of the 16th century on a large scale. wine shipped to the British Isles. The British were not wine drinkers at all until then, but they loved the sherry. Well-known English merchants from the late 18th century were still well-known names such as (Thomas) Osborne (Mann) and (George) Sandeman. A well-known sherry innovator was John Harvey of Bristol, who produced the first cream sherry (artificially sweetened sherry) (Harvey's Bristol Cream) around 1860. Other innovators included William Garvey Power (discoverers of the fino an amontillado flavor) and the Terry family, both from Ireland. The Terry family ran a number of renowned bodegas in El Puerto de Santa María. Even the most famous sherry house, Gonzalez-Byass of the Tío Pepe brand, had been an Anglo-Spanish company since 1835, led by the Andalusian Manual Maria Gonzalez and London representative Robert Byass. Other famous sherry names include Williams&Humbert and Pedro Domecq.
In the second half of the 20th century, the popularity of sherry increased dramatically, but the quality suffered greatly from the enormous increase in the acreage of vines planted headlong.

Assorted sherryPhoto: El Pantera Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic no changes made

The typical characteristics of sherry are caused, among other things, by the climate that in the region of Jerez de la Frontera (officially: Denominaciones de Origen Jerez-Xérés-Sherry y Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda), the very limy soil and the Palomino grape, which grows in few other regions in the world, and which is used for more than 80% of all sherries, together with Pedro Ximénez and the moscatel. There are many types of sherry available, from dry (fino, amontillado, palo cortado and oloroso), slightly sweet (amorosso, Palo Cortado, medium and cream) to very sweet (Pedro Ximenéz, Cream Sherry). The famous sherry of Sanlúcar is manzanilla, which comes from vineyards in the triangle Sanlúcar, El Puerto de Santa María and Jerez,
Typical of sherry, which has to 'mature' for three to seven years, is that it is a mixture of wines from different years, so a label with a year is not necessary. The wooden sherry casks, made of American oak, are stacked in rows or 'criaderas' up to five barrels high on top of each other according to the solera method, the youngest wine in the upper barrels, the oldest wine in the lower barrels. These barrels are continuously connected with each other and, as it were, always complement each other. The bottles are filled from the bottom row of barrels, the 'colera'. Important for the good taste is the development of 'vela de flor' in the barrel, a fungus that forms on the young wine so that the wine does not oxidize and gets and retains its dry, typical bouquet and pale color.

Sherry casks stacked according to the solera methodPhoto: Rpiccio1 in the public domain

Holidays and Sightseeing

Andalusia Sierra NevadaPhoto: Antonio Morales García CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Spanish region of Andalusia is known, among other things, as 'the gateway to Europe', and 'bridge between two continents (Europe and Africa)'. It is a very contrasting region with a variety of landscapes. Beaches, valleys, wooded mountain areas, desert and the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada alternate and give the tourist every opportunity for a varied holiday.

Cordoba Mesquita MosquePhoto: Jialiang Gao CC License Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Unported no changes made

Many tourists come to the coastal region, especially the Costa del Sol, to enjoy the tropical beaches and the abundant sun in almost all seasons, but also cities such as Cadiz (including Roman theater), the oldest city in Europe, Cordoba (including Mezquita mosque), Granada (including Alhambra) and Seville (including Giralda tower) with their cultural and monumental heritage attract crowds of visitors. Not only in the well-known major tourist cities, but in almost every town or village you will find churches, monasteries, castles, fortresses, palaces and other buildings that are inseparable from the cultural and art history of Andalusiaa be connected.

White village of Zahara de la Sierra, Andalusia Photo: Lesamourai in the public domain

The white villages of Zahara de la Sierra, Olvera, Grazalema and Arcos de la Frontera are also known. The village of Guadix is known for its neighborhood with cave houses, the 'barrio de los cuevas'. In terms of sports, the tourist is well catered for, because hunting, fishing, horse riding, mountain climbing, ballooning, parasailing sailing, windsurfing and diving are just a small selection of the possibilities. It is significant that the Costa del Sol is the area in Europe with the highest density of golf courses and Adalusia as a region has about one hundred 18-hole golf courses.

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Lonely Planet


Baird, David / Sevilla & Andalusië
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BBC - Country Profiles

CIA - World Factbook

Dahms, Martin / Andalusië
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Last updated September 2021
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