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You get a summary about architecture and art history. Of special interest are the religious traditions and the popular feasts and festivals ("ferias"). Andalusia is considered to be the cradle of Flamenco and bullfighting. Don't miss the arts & crafts and delicacies of Andalusian cuisine.  

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Architecture / Art

Religious traditions / Fairs and festivals

Flamenco / Bullfight

Arts and crafts / Andalusian cuisine



3000 years of settlement by many different peoples have left their traces in Andalusia. Not only Phoenicians, Greeks and the Tartessians* but also the Romans and Arabs have contributed to the architectural style. The architectural inheritance of this time is very varied. Besides many other things, the remains of the former Roman city of Itálica, located close to the village of Santiponce (near Seville), can be visited today.
From the period of the Arab supremacy there are some outstanding splendid buildings in Córdoba (
"Mezquita"), Granada ("Alhambra") and Seville ("Alcázar" and "Giralda"). Above all the street labyrinths of the ancient town centers remind us of the Muslim era. Beside the construction of religious buildings, such as mosques, the Arab builders created spectacular water routes and defense systems. After the end of this period arose the Mudéjar style influenced by the Moorish builders, a mixture of styles which combines Gothic and then Renaissance elements with the traditional Almohad style. During the 15th Century the famous Cathedral of Seville was built, today the largest Gothic church and the third biggest Cathedral in the world.
The Renaissance shows its influence in the so-called Plateresque style with its playful ornamental art. It is followed by the Baroque style (17th and 18th Century) with a more decorative and monumental appearance. In the early 20th Century there arose a variety of the Historic style, which cites and mixes various older architectural styles. Examples of this can be found in Seville, city of the Iberian-American world exhibition in 1929.
For the world exhibition Expo '92 in Seville many modern works of architecture were constructed.

  Prehistoric and *Antique

Prehistoric cave drawings (early and late Stone age, Megalith age)
La Pileta (Benaoján, Málaga)
La Graja (province Jaén)  
Los Letreros (Vélez Blanco, Almería)
Tajo de las Figuras (Cádiz Province)
Los Millares (Gádor, Almería)
Dolmen (= stone graves) near Antequera (Málaga)
early oriental influences  
Phoenician, Greek, Tartessian and early Iberian
Archaeological museums:
Granada (Phoenician, Egyptian      Greek)
Cádiz (Phoenician., Egyptian.)
Huelva, Sevilla (Tartessian)
Jaén (Iberian)


Due to its varied and long history Andalusia possesses also a long artistic tradition. The most important eras are:

The Roman Influence
(1st Century BC – 4th Century AC)

Sculpture, pottery, mosaics, noble houses, rural mansions

See villages along the Betica-Romana Route in the provinces of Cádiz, Seville and Córdoba.



Ornamental art and inscriptions (types of arches, interior decorations, reliefs)
ceramics, mosaics

In all centers of the Arab culture (Córdoba - Caliphate; Seville - Almohad era; Granada - Nazarin era)
The Mudéjar style is present also in the works of the Gothic and the Renaissance.


Medieval art  (13th – 16th Century)

Gothic architecture

Churches in Córdoba (San Miguel, San Lorenzo, Santa Marina); Cathedral in Seville; Royal Chapel in Granada


Lorenzo Mercadante, Pedro Millán


Renaissance  (16th Century)

Architecture (partially plateresque)

Town hall in Seville; Palace of Charles V. in Granada; Cathedral in Jaén


Bartolomé Ordoñez, Felipe Vigarny and various Italian sculptors


Alejo Fernández, Luis de Vargas, Luis de Morales and various Flemish painters


Baroque  (17th / 18th Century)


Cathedral in Granada and in Cádiz; Church San Salvador in Seville;  


Juan Martínez Montañés, Juan de Mesa, Alonso Cano, Pedro Roldán


Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán, Bartolomé Murillo, Alonso Cano, Juan Valdés Leal


Romantic and Modern Art
(19th /20th Century)


Mateo Inurria, Jacinto Higueras, Miguel Berrocal


Manuel Rodriguez de Guzmán, Valeriano Domínguez Becquer, Julio Romero de Torres


Pablo Picasso (born 1881 in Málaga)



Religious traditions

Without doubt the climax of religious life in Andalusia is Holy Week, "Semana Santa". The festive processions begin on Palm Sunday and end on the following Easter Sunday. Dozens of brotherhoods, each of them with several hundred members, the so-called Nazarenos walk on a specific route through the cities. Of significant attraction are the "pasos" , representations of the Lord and the Virgin Maria, placed on heavy wooden frames. Between 36 or 48 (mostly younger) men, carry them for hours: the so-called "Costaleros". Music corps accompany the pasos, from the balconies sound the "Saetas", solo vocal performances. The most important Holy Week celebrations in Andalusia are held in Seville, Granada and Málaga. In the villages this tradition lives on as well.
In May you can see the May Crosses, "Cruces de Mayo", a mixture from of secular and Christian customs (particularly in Córdoba).
Of importance are also the colourful processions on Corpus Christi (particularly in Granada).
The pilgrimages, which have also a long tradition in Andalusia, are of more folkloristic and festive character. Nevertheless their religious roots still show. The biggest "Romería" of the Christianity takes place annually at Whitsuntide in the small village of El Rocio (province Huelva). Almost one million people visit the chapel at the edge of the protected Doñana Natural Park, many of them come by foot, with horse carriages or on horseback. Also famous are the "Romería de la Virgen de la Cabeza" (end of April near Andújar - Jaén) and the " Romería de la Virgen del Mar" (January – Almería).

Fairs and festivals

The festivals of Andalusia are legendary. The fair calendar begins with the procession of the Three Kings of Orient on the evening of January 5th and is a special highlight for all children. The Carnival is celebrated above all in the province of Cádiz and there particularly in the capital. Between end of March and November numerous  "Ferias" are celebrated all over Andalusia. Originally derived from regional cattle markets, they are today colourful, folkloristic celebrations, where the visitors eat, drink, dance and sing all night long.

Famous Ferias:

April Fair (Seville) 2 weeks after Easter
May Horse Fair (Jerez de la Frontera) 2 weeks in May
May Fair (Córdoba) At the end of May
Manzanilla Fair (Sanlúcar de Barrameda) At the end of May
August Fair (Málaga) 3rd week in August
Pedro Romero Fair (Ronda)
"Fiestas Goyescas"
At the beginning of Septembers

In May the city of Córdoba celebrates the Patio Contest Festival, a competition for the most beautiful patio (inside yard). In many villages is celebrated at the end of June the night of St. John ("noche de San Juan"). Numerous villages celebrate the day(s) of its patron saint(s). The wine harvest is another good reason to celebrate a "fiesta".



The history of Flamenco began in the 15th Century in the southwest of Andalusia. It combines traditional gypsy music with Arab, Jewish and also old Indian sounds. Originally it consisted exclusively of the singing ("cante"), either the melancholic "cante jondo" or the more cheerful " cante chico ". It was mainly performed in a private atmosphere, e.g. family celebrations of rich landlords or also in the houses of prostitutes. In the middle of the 19th Century the Flamenco music conquers the "cafés cantantes" and fusions for the first time with the two other arts: the dance ("baile") and the guitar play ("toque"). These cafés were popular for some decades and disappeared in the 30's of the 20th Century. Flamenco has survived until today in local societies ("peñas") and has inspired artists of different cultures all over the world. Although about 20 different types of Flamenco exist, one can still find the traditional types in Cádiz, Seville and Granada: two chairs, a singer ("cantaor") and a guitarist; the voice leads, the guitar accompanies.
Very popular among the Andalusians are also the so-called "Sevillanas", a dancing form which follows a stricter set of rules.

Bullfight ("Corrida")

Although practiced all over Spain, the traditional corrida (bullfight) the ritual killing of bulls, originates in Andalusia. It is there where we find also the most famous and most beautiful bullrings, as the "plazas de toro" of Córdoba, Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, Málaga and the famous arena of Ronda, featured in the work of the American actor and movie director Orson Welles. Altogether there are more than 150 bullrings in Andalusia. The bullfighting season lasts from March to November and usually accompany the local festivals ("ferias").
To fight against a bull weighing 500 or 600 kilograms from a horse, was during the 19th Century a privilege of the noble class. Today it has its fans in all groups of society, although it splits public opinion into two groups: decided opponents and enthusiastic supporters of this "art".
Bull breeding is a lucrative business, if we consider that after spending 4 years of his best life in the greenest pastures a fighting bull has a high market price. Usually six animals are killed in a corrida by three "toreros". The ritual lasts about 20 minutes and consists of four phases "suerte de capa", "suerte de varas", "suerte de banderillas" and "suerte de matar". In the showdown the "matador" tries to kill the bull if possible with one sword thrust. If he succeeds, loud "olé"-calls can be heard and depending on his performance the torero gets one or two ears and (or) the tail of its victim.


Arts and crafts

Andalusian arts and crafts are also influenced by Arab instructors. Ceramic(s), carpenter works, silversmith production, carpets as well as cloth weaving and leatherwork are to be mentioned in the first place. Furniture, guitar production and metalwork, especially iron forging have also a long tradition .
There are purchase possibilities almost everywhere in the large cities. You may take a look at the following list.

Ceramic(s) and pottery Granada and its surroundings, Seville (Triana quarter) and its surroundings, Córdoba,
Conil de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz), Aracena (Huelva), Andújar (Jaén), Albox, Níjar (Almería)
Leatherwork Ubrique, Prado del Rey (Cádiz), boots: Valverde del Camino (Huelva), 
shoes: Montoro (Córdoba), 
riding leather goods: Jerez de la Frontera, Alcalá de los Gazules, Villamartin (Cádiz)
Cloth and carpet weaving Arcos de la Frontera (Cádiz), Moguer (Huleva), Sevilla, Antequera, Estepona  (Málaga)
and furniture
Granada (marquetry), Ronda (Málaga), Valverde del Camino, Galaroza, Zalamea la Real (Huelva)
Guitar production Granada, Córdoba, Marmolejo (Jaén), Algodonales (Cádiz)
Metalwork, iron forging Cortegana (Huelva), Arcos de la Frontera (Cádiz), Estepona (Málaga)
Others Fans, capes and combs (Seville)
Glassware (Almería)
Marble and stone carving (Jaén)

Andalusian cuisine

The different cultures of Andalusia appear also in the Andalusian cuisine. The Romans brought wine and olives into the country, from the Arabs derive not only the water supply systems but also lemon fruits, almonds, spices and cakes.
and seafood from Mediterranean and Atlantic as well as the culinary delicatessen, above all meat, sausage and cheese are typical for the regional kitchen.

Many traditional meals are based on legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils), vegetables, eggs, rice or potatoes. The combination of ingredients and spices as well as the preparation is very varied: braised, roasted or fried – for sure always with olive oil.
Famous all over the world is the cold vegetable soup "gazpacho andaluz", a creamy mass of green paprika, tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and pieces of white bread. It is eaten particularly during the hot summer months.
The classic menu consists of two plates, the hors d’oeuvre ("1. plato"), the main course ("2. plato ") and a dessert ("postre"). A widespread alternative way of eating are the so called "tapas", small portions of meals, ham, cheese a.o. In former times it was only a snack, today a good selection of two or three tapas replace a whole meal. The food is accompanied by Sherry wine ("vino fino") from the region of Jerez de la Frontera, Montilla wine from the province Córdoba or a white Condado wine from Huelva.


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