The history of Andalusia began very early, already in the prehistoric period the privileged location it occupied to the south of the peninsula and its mineral and agricultural richness made it a focus of attraction for the different civilisations.
It was the Greeks and specially the Phoenicians who settled in major population cores all around Andalusia, specially along its coasts, creating maritime commercial routes with other villages back then situated in the Mediterranean sea.
The arrival of the imperialist Rome put an end to the local villages, being the Romans who settled in cities using the coast for the production of ‘Garum’ (a popular sauce made with fish to season the food) and its subsequent commerce with Rome.
The arrival of the Germanic vandals and the Visigoths did not achieve to separate the cultural bonds of Andalusia, remaining independent from the old kingdom of Toledo, until the year 711 when the Muslim conquest broke all possible Visigoth cultural bonds, becoming al-Andalus and Cordoba became the capital and cultural and economic centre of the world back then. The name of Andalusia comes from “al-Andalusiya” (Arab adjective that referred to al-Andalus) the same as the colours of its flag.
During the 10th century the crisis of the al-Andalus kingdom and its power centralisation caused the attempt of the Christians from the north of the peninsula to enter and then divide the kingdom in taifas, being the Nazari Kingdom of Granada the one who had a historic role.
The Crown of Castilla gradually invaded and conquered the southern territories until in 1492 the conquest of Granada put an end to the long Muslim reign in the south of the peninsula.
Middle Ages in Andalusia
The 16th century was of vital importance for Andalusia, being one of the main ports in Spain from where they commercialised with the new world. Andalusia maintained its own culture and ideas until the point that during the well-known conspiracy of the duke Medina Sidonia, they uncovered a plot that intended to separate Andalusia from the Castilla kingdom.
Andalusia and Spain in general lost the importance worldwide that they had in the past due to the reformations of the Borbons that can be understood as the ambition of wealth, provoked the loss of the different Spanish colonies causing the commerce from Andalusia to lose the sufficient strength that it lost its wealth reaching the complete opposite and becoming one of the poorest regions of the 19th century and that is still recovering having a lesser rent per capita than the rest of the peninsula although with higher increase burdened by the politic corruption there was throughout the whole country.
Already in the 20th century, Andalusia was considered an Autonomous Region inside Spain, although always with a great cultural difference and a same language that contains differentiated nuances of Spanish in its pronunciation. Andalusia has its own historical nationality with its own culture and a personality that amazes all the tourists that decide to visit it.
Today it’s the most populated Autonomous Region in the Spanish territory and one of the favourite places to spend the holidays for a great number of tourists every year.
Climate in Andalusia
With a Mediterranean climate that is characterised by a dry climate during the summer period and a mild temperature all year round, with rainfalls during the winter, autumn and spring.
In the Andalusian territory there is a wide variety of climates that cause a rich contrast in the landscape, differentiating such near provinces like Seville and its hot summer and its cold winter, to Malaga with its mild climate all year round or Granada with its Sierra Nevada, where one can ski on its snowy peaks during the winter.
Andalusia’s climate makes it have a flora adapted to the long periods of drought during the summer months and the forest of Andalusia has been artificially modified by the historical occupation that has suffered over the centuries with the creation of lands for cultivation and the abundant forest fires.
Andalusia hosts a wide variety of animal species with great carnivores like the wolf and the Iberian lynx, the wildcat, the deer, the flamencos and the imperial eagle and many more that are added, others introduced in the recent history involuntarily like the parrots or the river American crab and others now extinct like the bear that disappeared.
Natural parks in Andalusia
Andalusia offers a great amount of natural parks that are well worth a visit amongst which we must mention the National park of Sierra –Nevada, Doñana, the Natural park of Cabo de Gata and the Sierra de Cazorla. If you’re interested in nature you can visit our section on Natural Parks in Malaga.
Transport in Andalusia
Andalusia is well communicated by roads and other ways of public transport like the train. It also has important airports with international traffic like Malaga airport or Seville airport, the two most important ones, as well as Malaga port with a history that dates back to the Phoenician occupation and that is currently a stopover point for the cruises around the Mediterranean.
Fishing has been and is one of the main activities on the Andalusian coasts, from the Phoenicians, passing through the Romans, the fishing sector develops an important role in the economy and in the Andalusian diet, being the fishing fleet the second most important inside the Spanish territory after Galicia.
The tourism in Andalusia is very important, being the first tourist destination in Spain for the Spanish tourists and one of the first if we bare in mind the international tourism. Andalusia is a very popular destination amongst the Nordic countries, being the visitors from the UK, Germany and Holland the main interested in the climate and the beaches of Andalusia. If you wish to visit Andalusia, you must know that the highest concentration of tourists is during the month of August, while the month of December is the month when less tourists visit.
As well as the important tourism of sun and sea, Andalusia offers its visitors a great patrimonial richness reflected in monuments like the Cordoba Mosque, the Alhambra, the different cathedrals of the middle ages, castles and old quarters of the main cities that maintain the essence and beauty of past centuries
The main tourist destinations in Andalusia are:
In Andalusia we’ll find a great amount of festivities and celebrations with a strong religious character inherited from the Christian conquest in the middle ages and fairs in the different villages. We can highlight some of the most popular:
- Fair of the Horse in Jerez
If you wish to learn more about festivities and cultural events, you can visit our website on the previous link.
With a rich and varied gastronomy, Andalusia offers a Mediterranean diet based on the olive oil, vegetables, fish and meat.
The fish and the seafood is very extended all along the Andalusian coast, being perhaps one of the main tourist attractions in Andalusia for the tourist that visits it for the very first time. Another one of Andalusia’s attactions is its cured ham of Sierra Morena, the Iberian ham of Huelva or Sierra Nevada, of contrasted quality.
The confectionary has been enriched over the centuries with a strong Andalisian influence in the use of almonds and honey. It’s typical to eat ‘churros’ in the mornings or try out the traditional Christmas cakes called ‘polvorones or mantecados’.
The Andalusian wine is another of the characteristic elements of the region, being the production of wine, liqueurs and vinegars very important in Andalusia. Amongst the Andalusian wines we’ll find the Sherry, County of Huelva, Manzanilla-Sanlucar de Barrameda, Malaga, Montilla Moriles and Sierras de Malaga.
Map of Andalusia
Andalusia covers a wide area of southern Spain that you’ll be able to visit easier by car. If you arrive at Malaga you may be interested in car hire Malaga with us, we are a company with many years of experience in the sector that offers top quality and good prices to its clients. Discover Andalusia with the map below, or check our map of Andalucia with other maps of the provinces.
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