POLL RESULTS - WHAT IS ANDALUCIA FAMOUS FOR?
Back in March 2010, we launched a poll on Andalucia.com. In case you didn't see it, the question we asked our readers was: "In your opinion, Andalucia is world-famous for: bullfighting; climate; flamenco; gastronomy/tapas; fiestas; beaches; diverse geography."
The results of our poll were very interesting, and they told us a lot about what our readers think about this beautiful area of southern Spain.
All seven categories won a good share of the vote, between 9 and 21 per cent, so there were no losers, as such. But there wasn't much to choose between most of the categories, either.
The winner, the aspect of Andalucia for which our readers consider the region to be world-famous, is flamenco, with 21% of the vote. As everyone knows, Andalucia is the cradle of this passionate gypsy art form, which encompasses music and dance. Authentic flamenco performances, with their cante jondo, can stir the emotions and enrich the soul. Flamenco was awarded the status of Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
In joint-third place, with 15% each, were beaches and bullfighting. The former is another of the main attractions for people coming to Andalucia, with its 800km of coastline, ranging from deserted beaches only accessible on foot, to the celebrity-magnet sands of chic, buzzing resorts such as Marbella.
Bullfighting has a less wide appeal, although it does have its devotees. The colour, spectacle and music are all considered to be part of the attraction, as well as the skill and bravery of the matador himself, of this potentially fatal sport. Every season, gory injuries suffered by bullfighters attest to this.
Following this, the fifth-most famous aspect of Andalucia, as voted by our readers, came Gastronomy/Tapas, with 13%. It is well-known that Seville is the birthplace, and home, of tapas, although this enjoyable way of eating can be experienced all over the region. Andalucian chefs are coming to the forefront of the international culinary scene, such as up-and-coming star Dani Garcia, the next Feran Adria, of Calima in Marbella, and the Hotel Colon's El Burladero restaurant in Seville. The Mediterranean diet is also under consideration as Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, with its fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and olive oil offering a healthy alternative to today's fast-food offerings.
Occupying sixth place in our poll were fiestas, with 11% of the vote. These are a hugely important part of traditional life in Andalucia, whether it be Semana Santa, the Holy Week celebrations held in towns and villages all over Andalucia, local ferias with women in their gitana dresses, or village chestnut festivals. Music, dancing, eating and drinking are all compulsory. Fiestas are possibly not as strongly associated with Andalucia by our readers because they haven't experienced one themselves in person, although those who are lucky enough to have done so, will be aware that there is nothing like an Andalucian feria, and that noone knows how to party like the Andalucians. If you've never been to one, then try and go - it will be an unforgettable experience.
In final place, with 9%, was Andalucia's diverse geography. From beaches (joint 2nd in the poll) to mountains, to deserts, wetlands and lakes, Andalucia has some stunning natural scenery. Since some of the most spectacular places are not, by their very nature, very easily accessible, this wonderful aspect of Andalucia is less well-known to visitors. Of course, there are those aficionados of wild and unspoiled places like the Sierra de Cazorla, the Alpujarras and Coto Doana, who would rather it stayed that way!
So Andalucia, as voted by our readers, is (in this order) a passionately musical, colourful, sunny place with great beaches, delicious food, fun parties and some interesting scenery - sounds OK to us!