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In Andalusia (Spanish: Andalucía) you can lie on a Mediterranean beach, ski on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada, or visit Europe's only desert, the Tabernas Desert. It is a geographically diverse region in the deep south of Spain, the country's second largest region and, with a population of 8 million, its most populous region.
Three of Spain's most famous attractions beckon travellers: the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Córdoba, and the city of Seville (Sevilla in Spanish). Other than those three attractions, there are also the beaches of the Costa del Sol, the Costa Tropical and the Costa de la Luz.
Andalusia shares a border with Portugal and the Spanish regions of Extremadura (west), Castile-La Mancha (north) and the Region of Murcia (east). It borders the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal lines in the south, as well as Gibraltar.
Andalusia itself is an autonomous community within Spain, and is divided into 8 provinces:
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Málaga is the capital of the "Costa del Sol", a city very hospitable and full of happiness but also one of the most touristic places of Spain. Known because of its beautiful and extensive beaches, the espetos of sardines, the white wine, the cathedral, Picasso museum Picasso and fort. It has a warm climate all year round and is also the birthplace of the artist Picasso.
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The Alhambra is without doubt the most important tourist attraction in Granada, if not in Spain. It is a complex of buildings and gardens, consisting of an Alcazar and several Moorish and Catholic palaces.
The Mezquita, which means mosque in Spanish, is a present day Roman Catholic Cathedral located in the city. It originally was a Roman temple and over a thousand columns in the current church made of jasper, onyx and marble mostly belonged to the original Roman temple and several other Roman building in the area. A new church was built on the foundation of the temple in 600 AD by the Visigoths. But when Moorish forces occupied the city in 711 they started to turn it into a mosque. When the Christians took it back in 1236, they re-consecrating it very quickly back into a church.
The Cathedral in Seville is the biggest cathedral in Spain and the third largest Christian cathedral on Earth. It was built in the 15th and 16th centuries on the site of a Moorish mosque. Of this mosque only the tower called La Giralda survived. This tower once was the highest building in the world, and is special because it doesn't have any stairs to climb, instead you can climb to the top of the tower on 34 ramps, which made it possible to get to the top riding a horse. From the top of the tower you have a nice overview over the city.
Next to the Cathedral of Sevilla, on the other side of the Plaza de Triunfo lies the Real Alcázar (Royal Castle). Inside you will find a palace that was built in the typical Mudajar style. The Palace was built in the 14th century, but there are also older parts, as it was built on the site of a Moorish palace. Highlights are the Patio del Léon (Lions courtyard) at the entrance of the building, the Palacio de Pedro I and the Patio de las Doncellas, the Patio de la Monteria, and the beautiful gardens.
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The Tabernas Desert is probably the best example of a rea desert in Europe. It is located in the southeast of Spain, in the province of Almeria. The Tabernas Desert is situated between the Sierra de los Filabres to the north and the Sierra de Alhamilla to the south and southeast. It is a protected wilderness area with fantastic desert landscapes and as a desert is receives just less of the maximum of 250 mm a year in an area known as Levante. It is isolated from the humid winds of the Mediterranean Sea. On top of that, evaporation is much higher than that, especially during the long and hot summers when months without a single drop of rain and 12 hours of sunshine a day occur. This is when temperatures can exceed 40 °C in the shade (if you can find any!). Because of its splended desert wilderness, it was the location of many Spaghetti westerns and an Indian Jones movie as well. Some of the sets are now in use as theme parks, with names as Oasys, Fort Bravo and Western Leone.
The Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Seville is the most important religious event of the city, and one of the best known in the country. Although Seville is by far not the only city to stage the Semana Santa in this way, it is the most famous one. Semana Santa is the week leading up to Easter. From Palm Sunday, until Easter Sunday, there are daily processions through the city, which are organised by several brotherhoods. On Good Friday there are two processions; one in the evening, and one in the early morning, which is the most visited one of the whole week. The number of brotherhoods that participate in a procession varies. Along with the procession, wooden sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion, or images of the Virgin Mary are carried, and have an important place in the procession. The most famous of the sculptures is the statue of Maria from the Macarena Basalica, which is carried around in the early procession on Good Friday. The processions lead to the Cathedral.
Andalusia has a number of airports. They can be found in Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, Málaga, Granada and Almeria. From all these airport there are domestic flights to Madrid and or Barcelona. The bigger airports (like Malaga Airport), also have direct flights from/to other European destinations. Seville Airport (San Pablo Airport, interational code SVQ)) has pretty good connections to destinations outside of Spain. Iberia, Ryanair, Air Berlin and Vueling are among the airlines that operate from Seville airport. Also Gibraltar and Faro in Portagal have airports, though with much less connections (Gibraltar) or longer transfer distances (Faro).
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