The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means "red or crimson castle", perhaps due to the hue of the towers and walls that surround the entire hill of La Sabica which by starlight is silver but by sunlight is transformed into gold.
The Mezquita (Mosque) dates back to the 10th century when Córdoba reached its zenith under a new emir, Abd ar-Rahman III who was one of the great rulers of Islamic history. At this time Córdoba was the largest, most prosperous cities of Europe, outshining Byzantium and Baghdad in science, culture and the arts. The development of the Great Mosque paralleled these new heights of splendour.
The hilltop Alcazaba's hefty walls and towers dominate the city and command magnificent views over the old town below and across to the Mediterranean. Measuring 25,000m2, this was the largest fortress built by the Moors. The Alcazaba was founded during the first half of the 10th century by Cordoban Caliph Abd al-Rahman III, who also built Medina Azahara.
Under the Nasrids, it was the site of the early 14th century Palace. Later, when the Catholic Monarchs were besieging Granada, Queen Isabella I of Castile vowed that, after the victory, she would build a shrine in the Alhambra to her beloved Saint Francis.
Archaeological excavations in recent years have verified the Roman Empire’s presence both inside and outside of the Alcazaba’s walls, and yet its current silhouette can be traced back to its founder, Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Rahman III (who also built Medina Azahara). According to an inscription found on marble which is now housed in the (Archeological) Museum of Almería, he ordered it to be built in the latter half of the 10th century.
The interior of the Alcazaba is divided into three walled recintos, or compounds, spreading up the long slope from the lowest part near the entrance; the first two are Islamic, and the third is Christian. A long fortified wall, the Muralla de Jayran (or Jairan), named after the 11th century king who built them, stretches from the Alcazaba, down the hill and up the other side to the Cerro de San Cristobal. From here the panoramic views take in the Alcazaba itself, as well as the city and port stretched out below.
The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo is housed in the magnificent 15th-century Monasterio Santa Maria de las Cuevas. Known as La Cartuja, this is located in the district of the same name, north of Triana and across the river from the city centre – look for the iconic, cone-shaped towers.
The Roman City of Ocuri sits on the limestone hill of Salta de la Mora, in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, 1km from Ubrique. With the hill descending sharply on all sides of the site, it enjoys spectacular mountain views and feels completely isolated - a good choice for anyone wanting a more immersive glance into Roman antiquity.
Playa el Cable (Cable Beach) takes its name from the overhead cable "El Cable Teleferico" runway that transported buckets of iron ore down from the Peñoncillo mine on the Sierra Blanca to ships moored offshore. If you look out to the sea you can't miss seeing the large anchor end tower of the line.
When visitors see the magnificent baroque entrance to this vast stone building, most assume they're looking at yet another of Seville's palaces or grand residences. In fact, its origins are more prosaic: a tobacco factory, albeit one of Spain's largest buildings.
There are about 100 different watchtowers (Torre Vigia or Torre Atalaya or Torre Almenara) along the coast of Southern Spain. Some are of Moorish origins others from date from the later Christian re-conquest period. All with the purpose of looking out for invaders from the South. They have lasted the centuries with remarkable strength.
The Casa de las Tejerinas is a stately house in the centre of Estepona in the Plaza de los Flores. It was owned by the Tejerinas sisters and became a hospital for the poor. It was taken over by the town hall and renovated in the 1980's to become the 'Casa de la Cultura' where cultural events such as art exhibitions, courses, lectures took place.
Inside five small dolmens (standing stones) can be viewed. They are original and date from about 3,000 BC. Also on display are a number of pottery vessels, stone tools, arrowheads, axes, personal ornaments, necklace beads made of semi-precious stones and perforated seashells. The skulls and skeletons and other bones on display are reproductions as the originals are preserved.
The Moorish castle is the landmark of Velez-Malaga and worth visiting especially for the view and orientation. Access can be by car, there is ample parking inside the grounds. You can visit by the footpath from Calle Forteleza Alta which rises through woods behind the Iglesia de Santa Maria.
The original path was built between 1901 and 1905 by the Sociedad Hydroelectrica del Chorro (Chorro Hydroelectric Society). A pioneering project to take advantage of the 100m drop in the river Guadalhorce required the construction of a small dam.
Just outside Antequera you can visit three 5000-year-old dolmens: Menga Dolmen (the largest in Europe) and Viera Dolmen, which are both located just outside the town, while El Romeral Dolmen is a few km away. These three prehistoric burial chambers represent some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe.
Madinat al-Zahra was declared a UNESCO world heratige site on 1st July 2018. We are in the year 400 of the Hegira, 1010 AD of our era. On the southern slopes of Jebel al-Arus, the Bride's Mountain, the marble, jasper and precious metals of the city of Madinat al-Zahra gleam in the morning sun among silver-leafed olive groves.
The aqueduct was built by the Romans during their reign over parts of Andalucia. The aqueduct would have served, not only as a valuable supply of fresh water to the town's population, but also would have been vital for the salting industry believed to be practiced in the town.
Situated on a mound overlooking Almuñécar and with views across the Mediterranean, the San Miguel Castle made for an excellent defensive stronghold. The castle is said to date back to the Phoenician era in 7th century BC. Since then the castle offers a fantastic journey through time having Roman, Moorish and more recently Christian influences.
Castillo del Aguila (Eagle's Castle) in the Moorish hilltown of Gaucin, consists of a series of fortifications built across a rocky ridge above the village. The castle, which is of Roman origin, and was reinforced by the Moors, is located on top of a hill whose east and south slopes are practically impregnable; the best way to reach this magnificent, historic building is by walking up Calle Larga.