Art Culture History Arts and Crafts and events in Almeria Andalucia Granada Seville Cordoba southern Spain

"The festivities of Andalucía"

There is no better way to get to know the Andalucians than through their many and fascinating feast days.

Three Kings

Fiesta de Los Reyes. This is the moment when the three kings of Orient bring their Christmas presents to the children, on the evening of the 5th of January. Three men dress up as the kings, one with a black face, and ride about the town in a procession, scattering sweets to the crowds of excited children. The 6th of January is the public holiday in all Spain.


As elsewhere in the Catholic world, carnival is celebrated before the 40 days of Lent. Most Andalucian towns stage some kind of parade, and there is usually a dance and a "Carnival Queen" contest. As one of Spain's major ports during the 16th century, Cadiz copied the carnival of Venice, a city with which it had much trade, and since then it has become the liveliest and most dazzling carnival town in mainland Spain, famous for its amusing and creative figurines and satirical song groups.

The Carnival centres around Shrove Tuesday (March 4th 2003, February 24th 2004, February 8th 2005, February 28th 2006) most towns celebrate the carnival with processions the weekend either before or after. Larger towns have festivities lasting all week.

Easter - Semana Santa or "Holy Week"

The Easter week processions compete with one another in luxury and splendour. The parades leave each of the town's churches to wind slowly around the streets, with their lifelike statues of Christ on the Cross-and his mother the Virgin Mary in mourning. The processions are organised by the religious brotherhoods, representing guilds of tradesmen or other groups. They spend all year long preparing the elaborate costumes and decorations. This is a serious fiesta and fireworks are not permitted. Drinking and celebrating is still found upon by many.

The most outstanding Easter week processions are those of the cities of Seville, Malaga and Cordoba and Granada, though the spectacle is worth seeing in any town or village. In particulier, Estepona, Ronda, Arcos de la Frontera, Luque (Saturday), Baeza, Cabra, Jerez, Rio Gordo, Ubeda, Puente Genil, Huercal.

The processions take place during the week leading up to Easter Sunday. (April 20th 2003, April 11th 2004, March 27th 2005, April 16th 2006). The best days are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Saturday. Easter Sunday itself has less intensity generally. Exceptions being the towns of Castilleja de la Cuesta, Pillas, Coria del Rio, Almaden de la Plata, and Setenil.

Seville Spring Fair

The first of the summer fairs, festivities of the April Fair were born in Seville in 1847 and are a perfect expression of the Andalucian personality. Always two weeks after Easter Week.

The fair takes place just two weeks after Semana Santa so if you have the energy you can enjoy both spectacles during your stay in Seville. For its duration, a vast area is on the far bank of the river, the Real de la Feria is totally covered in rows of casetas, canvas pavilions or tents of varying sizes. Some of these belong to eminent sevillano families, some to groups of friends, others to clubs, trade associations or political parties. In each one, from around nine at night until perhaps six or seven the following morning, there is flamenco singing and dancing. Many of the men and virtually all the women wear traditional costume, the latter in an astonishing array of brilliantly coloured, flounced gypsy dresses.

The sheer size of this spectacle is extraordinary, and the dancing with its intense and knowing sexuality, a revelation. Most infectious of all is the universal spontaneity of enjoyment. After wandering around staring with the crowds, you wind up a part of it, drinking and dancing in one of the open casetas that have commercial bars. Among these, you will usually find lively casetas erected by all manners of clubs and societies including various anarchistic groups. Some are 'entrance by invitation only' others more welcoming. The 'caseta municipal' is run by the town hall, and is one of the largest and always open to everyone, but it can be completely full if well-known band or singer is on stage.

From around midday until early evening, Seville society parades around the fairground in carriages or on horseback. An incredible extravaganza of display and voyeurism, this has subtle but distinct gradations of dress and style, catch it at least one. There are also bullfights on a daily basis which are generally considered the best of the season.

The feria usually starts on a Saturday and runs nine days to the following Sunday night. Actually, the feria officially starts at midnight on the Sunday night (but there will be much activity during the preceding weekend).

We calculate the following start dates, at OO.OO hours on:

May Horse Fair in Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez holds the Jerez May Horse fair on the first week in May each year and takes place in the Gonzalez Hontoria Park. Some of the world's finest horses and riders compete in the endurance trials, coach driving, "pursuit and tumble" and dressage competitions. With a stunning display of the finest horses of the region.

May Crosses

May is a month of festivities in Cordoba, starting with the Crosses of May Festival (1st, 2nd and 3rd of May which is Santa Cruz day) the crosses identify distinct zones of the town which compete for the prize of the best florally decorated cross. The preparations take place secretly in the preceding months when women and children use this opportunity to sing and dance. In older times, it was an excuse for young single people to meet. The event is organized by brotherhoods and financed by voluntary contributions in the neighbourhood. With the preparations made, the crosses are dressed and the fiesta lasts various days. Representatives from each brotherhood act as judges to vote on the best dressed cross. The local tourist office will give you a map, as in Cordoba you may need help to find the crosses. Other village the dress crosses are Condado de Huelva, Sierra de Aracena, Andevalo, Almonaster la Real, Bonares, Ubrique.

Patio contests

The famous Cordoba Patio Contest (about 4th to 16th May), in which homeowners compete for the prize awarded to the most beautifully decorated patio. The map provided by the local Tourism Office will help you find the competing courtyards that are open to the public during the day. This one is not to be missed for those that like flowers and gardens or are just interested to look inside the patios of private houses.

San Lucar Manzanilla (Wine) Fair

A lively fair dedicated to the Manzanilla, which is a special dry sherry wine, produced in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This intense fair which is organised by the town council and supported by the local wine producers last for several days about the third week in May.

Rocío Pilgrimage

Andalusia is famous for its pilgrimages or "romerías" - so called because pilgrims traditionally walked to Rome, and therefore became known as "romeros" - to popular shrines, around which fiestas are held.

Many towns celebrate their Romaria to a local shrine a few miles away. It is a day in the countryside visiting a chapel or a sanctuary. Interestingly it is one of the few fiestas that are celebrated outside the nucleus of the town. The sanctuary is a physical and a spiritual point of reference. The departure from the town the to the sanctuary is a proud public ceremony with all the necessary elements in a certain order. Flags and standards carried are by horsemen, decorated carts, men or women who are serving a penance, then tractors, lorries and all sorts of agricultural vehicles. The municipal band usually provides the music.

Perhaps the most spectacular is the one devoted to the Virgen del Rocío, popularly called "El Rocio" for short. Nearly a million people from all over Spain and Andalusia make long journey to gather in a small hamlet of El Rocio in the marshlands of the Guadalquivir River delta (south of Almonte), where the statue of the "Madonna of the Dew" has been worshipped since 1280. The pilgrims come on horseback and in gaily decorated covered wagons from all over the region, transforming the area into a colourful and noisy party. The climax of the festival is the weekend before Pentercost Monday (9th June 2003, 31 May 2004, 16 May 2005, 5 June 2006). In the early hours of the Monday, the Virgin is brought out of the church. This remarkable event is always televised.

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi (the Catholic feast celebrating the presence of the body of Christ in the holy wafer) is held in June, beginning on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. A solemn and magnificent procession bears the consecrated host through the streets. Although Corpus Christi is celebrated everywhere in Andalusia, it is most famous in Granada, especially for the Granada Festival of Music and Dance, which supplants the passion plays that traditionally followed the religious rituals. Representatives of the local government walk side by side with the churchmen, followed by the people, along streets strewn with sweet-smelling cypress branches and flowers.

The Corpus Christi festival was created in 1246 in Liege, Belgium, and after the Archbishop of that town was elected Pope, it was later adopted throughout Europe. It reached Toledo 1280 and in Seville 1282 and all Spain by XIV century. It was particularly popular in XVI and XVII centuries. The solemn processions represent the power of the church. The civil and military authorities also take part. All in their commemorative uniform, a colourful spectacle.

In Granada it lasts three days where is one of the most important of festivals in the towns calendar. Actually, Corpus Christi is celebrated in most towns in Andalusia but of particular note are Zahara de la Sierra, Seville, Cadiz, Malaga, Casabermeja, Marchena, and Torreperogil.

Early Summer Pilgrimages

The Madonna known as La Virgen de la Cabeza is enshrined in a forbidding sanctuary on a cliff overlooking the wild hills of the Sierra Morena, north of the city of Andújar in Jaen Province. The pilgrimage is celebrated on the last Sunday of April. This celebration has its origins in the 13th century, and some half a million people gather to see the Virgin paraded among the forests for over 30 kilometres.

Cabra Gypsy Festival, province of Córdoba by gypsies to the hermitage of Santa María.
San Isidro on 15th May. San Isidro is the patron saint of the farmers, and many villages celebrate his day with a procession through the fields and a fiesta, as well as agricultural trade shows. A fine place to attend this charming festival is the rural town of Montefrio, in Granada Province or Estepona.

El Cristo del Paño The pilgrimage to the shrine of El Cristo del Paño, in the castle town of Moclin, in northern Granada Province, not far from Montefrio. This painting of Christ bearing the cross is believed to heal aged people of their cataracts (el paño, or the cloth, is the popular name for this condition, which "veils" one's sight). Touching the painting is also supposed to make childless women fertile, and the miracle is mentioned in Lorca´s tragic play Barren.

Fishing towns

La Virgen del Mar (Virgin of the Sea) is the patron saint of Almeria, and her statue is born on a carriage decorated with flowers to the hermitage dedicated to her. The most stirring moment of the procession is when she is taken from the lighthouse to the dock by boat.

La Virgen del Carmen is the protectors of seamen and at the end of day on July 16th the towns and fishing villages of the coast parade their statues of her by the water, and set sail in gaily adorned boats, accompanied by the blowing of horns and bursts of fireworks in the night sky. A good place to see this fiesta is Estepona, where the Virgen del Carmen is one of the town's most beloved saints.

Saint John's feast - San Juan - is held on the night of the 24th of June, and is celebrated on Andalusia's beaches with bonfires and fireworks. For good luck, the tradition is to dip their feet in the sea just after midnight. Tread carefully as sometimes the lively ones end up in the sea fully clothed.

Summer Fairs

Every town and village in Andalusia has its own feria or fair, and it would be possible, if one had superhuman powers of endurance, to spend the whole summer following them about the region. The summer annual feria originated in the middle ages, and was the principal means of interchange of local products within the kingdom. The first feria takes place at Seville in April (two weeks after Semana Santa) and the last is at San Pedro de Alcantara in mid October.

The 'day fair' takes place it the streets of the town itself. Streets are closed to traffic, businesses close for the week. Tables and chairs are set up and the bars serve food and drink in the street, and music plays from every corner. People of all ages sing and dance. Visitors are always welcome.

At night, the fair shifts to the public fairground or "recinto ferial" on the outskirts of the town. There is a traditional amusement park with lots of rides for the children, and tents or "casetas" set up by the various clubs, associations and political parties of the town, some with entertainment and all with a bar. . Many, some would say too, many of the Casetas are by private invitation only. Outsiders are invariably welcomed, just ask if you can go in, if not try the next one. There is always the large 'Caseta Municipal' put up by the town council and open to everybody. On some evenings, there will be a top-billing singer, for which tickets will be sold on the door at a reasonable price. These are usually very popular and often sell out.
The ferias usually start midweek and finish on Sunday night. In the larger towns, they start at midnight on the Sunday night with fireworks. (Monday after the feria is often a local holiday designed recovering from the festivities).

Here are dates for fair-goers of some of the larger towns. We offer a bottle of wine to the first reader who manages to visit every one in the same year.

Moors and Christians

This festival is more popular in the East of Spain, in Andalusia in the provinces of Granada and Almeria; it takes place on different many days through out the year depending on the locality. San Sebastian on 20 January, San Roque 15 August, San Antonio on June 13th are popular choices.

The origins are obviously the battles following the re-conquest on the XVI and XVII century. The usual format for the fiesta is first a procession of the Moors and the Christians, then a theatrical enactment of verbal attacks and rejections by both groups, a battle enactment with skirmishes and dances, the conversion or the death of the moors, and finally homage to the patron saint.

Nowadays with greater affluence, the uniforms are more spectacular. The Christians wear the uniforms of the soldiers of the re-conquest. The moors wear basic short-sleeved cotton jackets.

Almeria Province

Winter Festivals

All Saints Day On November 1st, fiestas called "Tosantos" (contraction of "todos los santos", or "all saints") are celebrated in the markets of Cadiz and the surrounding villages.

The feast of San Martín, on 11th November, is the occasion for the slaughtering of pigs, in preparation for the winter-time drying of hams and sausages, at a fiesta called la matanza - literally, the killing - in all the towns and villages of the mountain areas of Andalusia. The day begins with the killing of the pigs and is spent butchering the carcass and stuffing sausages and black pudding. A great deal of eating and drinking accompanies these events.
Christmas Eve is the quietest evening of the year in Andalusia. Even most of the bars are closed. An evening reserved for a family dinner.

The Verdiales Music Festival takes place 28th of December at the Venta at 'Puerta de la Torre' on the C3311 road towards Almogia. The Pandas or groups of musicians from local villages compete on stage. More interesting are the spontanious practice and jamming sessions where they fiddle, strum and rattle their instruments in a cocophonous frenzy, while bottles of potent Malaga wine and aguadiente are passed from hand to hand. They appear in traditional costumes with unusual flowery headgear also fastened with mirrors, bells, beads, and ribbons.




Prehistorical Times

The oldest historical findings made in Spain date of about 30000 to 50000 b.C. Among the most important remains of this period are the caves Cova Negra (Játiva) and Piñar (Granada).

The Celt-Iberian Spain

The Iberian population probably arrived to the peninsula from the north of Africa. Tartessos, probably an iberian tribe, founded an important kingdom of high culture in the valley of Guadalquivir river, in the south of Spain. By 1200 b.C. Celtic tribes entered the peninsula from the north, mixing up with Iberians and so generating the celt-iberian race. The origin of the bask race living in the north of the country is uncertain, but many historians suppose that it goes back to a pre-iberian population.

Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians

By 1100 b.C. Phoenicians arrived to the peninsula and founded colonies, the most important of which was Gadir (today's Cadiz). Also Greeks founded colonies in southern Spain and along the Mediterranean coast.

During the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthago Carthaginians invaded Spain and conquered large parts of it. Their most important colonies were the island Ibiza and Cartagena, the "new Carthago".

Romans and Goths

After Rome had defeated Carthago definitely, Romans also invaded the colonies in Spain, and ended up conquering the entire peninsula. The province Hispania became part and parcel of Roman empire and acquired great importance, even two Roman emperors, Traian and Hadrian, were born there. Spaniards absorbed completely the Roman culture as still today is very evident in their language.

In 409, when the Roman empire started to fall, Gothic tribes invaded the peninsula and established their kingdom in 419.

Moorish Epoch and Reconquista

The Catholic Monarchs

Isabel and Ferdinand succeeded in uniting the whole country under their crown, and their effort to "re-christianize" Spain resulted in the Spanish Inquisition, when thousands of Jews and Moors who didn't want to convert to Christianism were expelled or killed.

After the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 tons of gold and silver were brought in from the new continent, and Spain became one of the most powerful nations of this epoch called the Golden Age.

Habsburg and Borbon Kings

After Isabel died in 1504, her daughter Joan who was married with the German emperor's son Philip succeeded to the throne. Charles I., at the same time Austrian king and German emperor united in 1517 one of the largest empires in history. Anyhow after his retirement in 1556 it was split between the Spanish and the Austrian line of Habsburg family.

Spain was prospering economically under the Habsburg crown thanks to the trade with its American colonies, but on the hand involved in wars with France, the Netherlands and England, culminating in the disastrous defeat of the "Invincible Armada" in 1588.

When the last Habsburg King Charles II. died without descendant, the nephew of French King Louis XIV., Philip of Borbon, successed to the throne. As a consequence of the French Revolution, Spain declared war on the new republic but was defeated. Napoleon took the power in France and sent his troops against Spain in 1808. He established his brother Joseph as Spanish king, but Spaniards fought a 5-year Independence War against the French. After Napoleon's definite defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Ferdinand VII. was restored to the Spanish throne and reigned with rigid absolutism. When he changed the law of succession to the throne and his daughter Isabel was established as queen, his brother Charles rebelled against it and the War of Seven Years broke out. Economical recession and political instability were the consequences, Spain lost its colonies with the exceptions of Puerto Rico, Cuba and Philippines. The revolution of 1868 forced Isabel II. to renounce to the throne, and the First Republic was proclaimed. Anyhow, it lasted for just about one year. After a coup d'état Isabel's son, Alphonse XII., restored the kingdom. The rebellion of Cuba in 1895 resulted in a war against United States, with disastrous results for Spain. It lost its last overseas possessions.

20th Century

The economical crisis of the early 1920s led the country to the brink of civil war, and General Primo de Ribera established a military dictature until 1930. Elections in 1931 saw a triumph for the political left, and Alphonse XIII. left the country. Increasing conflicts between the Republican government and the Nationalist opposition led to the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The Nationalists, led by General Franco, received extensive support from Nazi-Germany and fascist Italy and succeeded against the Republican block which was officially supported only by Russia, although many intellectuals (as Ernest Hemingway) and politically committed from other countries fought in the International Brigades. The nationalists succeeded.

Although Franco kept Spain neutral during World War II, his military dictature led to political and economical isolation. During the 1950s and 60s every effort was taken to improve international relations, and the country's economy recovered. In 1969 Franco proclaimed Juan Carlos de Borbon, the grandson of Alphonse XIII., his successor with the title of king.

Franco died in 1975, and a constitutional monarchy was established. President Adolfo Suarez introduced important political reforms. When he surprisingly dismissed in 1981, a group of militars tried to take the power with a coup, but failed. In 1982 the socialist party won the elections and Felipe Gonzalez became president of the government. Spain became member of the NATO in 1985 and entered the European Community in 1986. In 1992 it appeared impressively at the world stage: Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games, Seville the world exposition EXPO'92, and Madrid was declared European Cultural Capital.

After 15 years of socialist government, José Maria Aznar of the conservative party was elected president of the government in 1996.



Art & Crafts

The traditional crafts in Andalusia owe their heritage to all people from different cultures that have settled here over the ages. The legacy of the Tartessians, the Phoenicians, and the Greeks, Romans and Arabs covers a vast spectrum of techniques and styles that are still alive in Andalusia's traditional crafts.

Many local artefacts have fallen out of use, due to the development of synthetic materials and mass production, and are in danger of disappearing altogether. However, efforts are being made to lovingly restore and conserve these traditional skills and keep them alive. There is also a growing trend among craftsmen who make ingenious use of traditional techniques and styles to develop their own designs.

Jaen Province is famous for the pottery produced in the towns of Bailén and Andújar. Perhaps the loveliest designs are from Granada, with their Moorish style, and the replicas produced in Seville of 16th, 17th and 18th century tiles. The potters of Cordoba are famous for their reproductions of pieces from the Moorish period of the Caliphate.

Traditional pottery has lost much of its importance in daily life due to the advent of plastic and aluminium, although tiles and bricks are still widely used, as well as water pitchers and flower pots, glazed earthenware jars and bowls, all of which are produced with skill and originality. Current production covers a wide range of techniques, including traditional glazes and modern finishes, most for decorative purposes, such as adornments for houses: water spouts and tiles with letters for composing street names and business signs.

In the middle Ages, the leatherworkers of Cordoba made the city universally famous for the high quality of their tanning and embossing techniques. Some workshops still survive which use the ancient methods, in both Cordoba and Granada, while leather, goods are made all over the region (purses, wallets, belts etc.). One of Spain's best places for leather goods is Ubrique, in the province of Cadiz, world-famous for the quality of its fine purses and travel bags.

Andalusia's saddlers are also highly regarded for their tooled leather fittings. Andalucian leatherworkers are also famous for their saddlebags, although this production has declined in recent years. However, leather articles for hunters, such as game bags, gun cases, chaps and bags, are very popular. Special mention should be made of the handmade boots produced in the town of Valverde del Camino in the province of Huelva, excellent for riding. A wide range of handmade footwear can also be found in Almeria, Antequera (Malaga Province) and Montoro (Cordoba Province).

Crafts of Almeria

The method of making pottery is the same and the more traditional objects are ewers, jars, large bowls, casseroles, pitchers with spouts and plates and are much in demand for purposes of decoration. The Jarapas are associated with Nijar and are light carpets made from woven leftovers of cotton, sometimes used as blankets or hangings. Woodcarvings can also still be found and during the Easter processions splendid images can still be admired.

Crafts of Granada

Granada expresses its craftsmanship in what today remains of the Christian assimilation of Nasrid art. Marquetry is probably the craft that is most identified with it. We must also add the incrustation of different materials from bone to mother of pearl, from amber to ivory. Some parts of production have been modernised to streamline auxiliary steps such as cutting and sandpapering, but the most of the processes are still done by hand. Boxes, decorated cabinets, frames, chairs, tables, chess sets, chests trays, etc. are made.

In El Albaicin, Purullena and Las Alpujarras is where the tiles, ewers, plates, jugs are traditionally made.

In Guadix the important use of vegetable fibres stands out, with small workshops with a long history for making rush bottomed chairs of traditional styles and Lanjaron that produces all kinds of wicker baskets.

Crafts of Cadiz

There is such a clear distinction between traditional and updated crafts in few provinces. The latter being because of strict transformation in production, equipment and distribution processes. In Ubrique there are fine examples of a wide variety of leather goods which are ordered and distributed all over the world and in Prado del Rey they have developed similar lines. In Jerez, Alcala de los Gazules and Villamartin, harness making is still one of the main crafts of the province and are made for coaches as well as for riding.

In Jerez, Sanlucar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa Maria wine making is the main industry, which also provides a market for the making of casks. Traditional English furniture made of mahogany, where the joining and decorating is done by hand by the excellent cabinetmakers in Sanlucar de Barrameda and San Fernando.
Saddle making is also one of the crafts in Prado del Rey where the saddle is made from beech wood and vegetable fibre, in El Bosque and Benamahoma where pine, beech and eucalyptus is used.

There are still a good number of forges in the province devoted to the craft of iron goods the main centre being Arcos, which has five workshops, followed by Cadiz, Chiclana, Olvera and Sanlucar.
Other significant crafts in the province are blankets and ponchos made in Grazalema and the dolls from Chiclana.

Crafts of Jaen

The history of culture and art in Jaen is conditioned by its situation on the frontier between the Moors and Christians. Some of the crafts have disappeared such as silk. The best-known craft now is the pottery of Andujar that its grotesque jugs and objects in white and blue. Ubeda pottery is also well known with the handsome ewer being one of its most representative objects and the items that are decorated with white oxide. Bailen is known for its water ewers, jars and large bowls.

The guitars of Marmolejo are widely known and the leather goods from Andujar and Porcuna that are made for farmers and hunters.

Crafts of Cordoba

In this province, craftsmanship has had a long historical evolution. Pottery comes from two main areas: the north mainly Hinojosa del Duque and Pozoblanco where the clay has a high content of iron and grains of mica which give the pottery a reddish colour with small metallic grains and the south where the loam has a high content of calcium. After baking, the vessels are a pinkie yellow that, if salt is previously added, would be a brilliant white.

Particularly remarkable are the small ewers from La Rambla; the earthenware vats from Lucena, the pitchers and earthenware scoops used in waterwheels from Baena and the flowerpots from Alcolea del Rio. Potters are now using the designs, techniques and decorative motifs once used by the caliphs. Plates, bottles and bowls are made decorated with geometrical, vegetable and animal forms and words in Cufic.

Cordoba now has the making of jewellery as one of its mainstays of the economy where silversmiths work with both gold and silver, in the many workshops in the town and their designs go from the most classical earrings and rings to the more modern contemporary creations sometimes using new materials.

Leather goods are also well known in Cordoba and are handled in family workshops in the town itself where the old embossing techniques are still used. The last pack saddlers in the province work in Baena where a variety of things are made for the horses such as headstalls, cinches etc. Almodovar del Rio is known for its saddlers. Montero is famous for its handmade shoes, boots, bags, pouches, cartridge belts and gun cases. In Cordoba, gold as well as silk and silver embroidery on velvet is still available which is also well known for its guitars.

Lucena is the most famous town in Andalusia for furniture. Local cottage industry craftsmanship does still exist but you are more likely to find modern factory showrooms selling direct to the public at very reasonable prices.

Crafts of Seville

The historical and cultural assimilation of the heritage that the city and its surroundings have received has resulted in varied crafts, often with distinctive features that make it unique. This is because of the very close relationship between craftsman and women and the celebrations of Holy Week. Seville may be the principal centre for traditional religious image-makers.

Inspiration is still based on the models created by the main schools of Martinez Montanes, Pedro Roldan, Juan de Mesa and Alonso Cano. A small number of workshops still produce religious embroidery working for fraternities, using gold and silver thread, silk and velvet for all their handmade work. Traditional workshops usually situated near churches and convents carry out their work related to religious feasts.

Traditional potters and tile makers come from Triana. There are workshops that make the typical pottery from Seville who specialise in blue, yellow, orange and mauve tiles. At Sanlucar la Mayor, Hispano-Arabic designs with metallic lustre have been recovered, as well as Renaissance designs where yellow and blue, are predominate. Traditional pottery such as jars for dressing olives, ewers, plates, flower pots etc., are made at Carmona, Lebrija and Loro del Rio. Not to be forgotten is the centuries old table ware with its Chinese design and characteristic grey, pink and green shades from Pickman-La Cartuja de Sevilla.
Harness making has always been important in Seville and is done in workshops in the centre of town that make saddles etc to order. Harness making for horse carriages is also flourishing in Carmona and Ecija.


Flamenco is an individualistic, yet structured folk art from Andalusia, which is often improvised and spontaneous. The song, dance and guitar are blended together by the passionate rhythms of southern Spain that is flamenco's geographical birthplace.

The source of flamenco lies in its singing tradition, so the singer's role is very important. The flamenco guitar was used originally as an instrument of accompaniment. Today solo flamenco guitar has developed as a separate art. Whilst some purists disapprove of the fashionable attempts to blend flamenco with jazz, blues, rock and pop music, it is no wonder that so many young people embrace it wholeheartedly.

Apart from songs delivered from different regions such as fandangos from Huelva, Alegrias from Cadiz, there are broadly speaking two main styles in Flamenco: the "jondo" - profound and serious, the cry of people oppressed for many centuries; and the "chico" - happy, light and often humorous. The song "el cante" is most important as it is considered the source, which gives inspiration to the guitar playing "el toque" and the dance "el baile".

Flamenco dance is by nature oriental, so differs fundamentally from other well established European dance forms. Complex rhythmic patterns are created by a sophisticated footwork technique, so the flamenco dancer wears special shoes or boots with dozens of nails driven to the soles and heels.

The ladies wear long costumes often with many frills and practice for hours their elegant arm and hand movements. The upper body must emphasis grace and GETure. In much of the more serious flamenco, there is a release of pent up hatred of persecution and often an evocation of death (particularly in "Seguiriyas"). The dancers job will be to project the mood of the song within the strict time signature, but not interpret the meaning of the song with specific gestures, as would the Indian Katak dancer. Perhaps the best way to become familiar with the complexities of flamenco singing and sentiment is by going to a "tablao" (flamenco show), a flamenco club (peña) or to one of the countless festivals that are organised every summer. The Sacromonte gypsy caves at Granada, though very tourist-orientated, provide an unforgettable experience and there are many flamenco meetings and associations (peñas) throughout the region.

Together with Corpus Christi, Granada is said to hold the oldest flamenco festival in Andalusia. In summer for example, there are singing contests in many towns, such as in Estepona, Fuengirola and Rincón de la Victoria, or Carchelejo, Vilches and Linares, and the "Gazpacho Andaluz" at Morón and the "Muestra de Cante" at La Línea. Some of the most important festival events are held in September, such as those of Adra, Villanueva del Arzobispo and the Velá de la Fuensanta in Córdoba; at the time of the famous Goyesca bullfights, Ronda holds a "Festival de Cante Grande" for real connoisseurs. The "Fiesta de la Buleria" at Jerez (Bulería is a type of dance and song), the "Potaje" of Utrera and "La Caracolá" at Lebrija are some of the important occasions of gypsy "cante". Cádiz hosts "Los Jueves Flamencos" (flamenco Thursdays) overlooking the bay throughout each summer. In addition, every other year, the most famous figures of flamenco are heard in Seville at the "Bienal del Arte Flamenco". Cordoba also hosts a prestigious national flamenco competition.

The traditional crafts in Andalusia owe their heritage to all people from different cultures that have settled here over the ages. The legacy of the Tartessians, the Phoenicians, and the Greeks, Romans and Arabs covers a vast spectrum of techniques and styles that are still alive in Andalusia's traditional crafts.


Holiday houses, villas for rent and apartment rentals




  • Marbella Puerto Banus:Spain Marbella holiday Apartment for rent La Quinta Costa del Sol Luxury apartment at La Quinta golf course with use of swimming pool, two bedrooms, sleeps 5 2019: availability please enquire

  • Mijas Golf Course:Los Arqueros Golf Course townhouse rental Luxury townhouse with use of swimming pool and special reduce rate green fees at the two Mijas Golf Courses. Discounts offered for long lets. 2 bedrooms sleeps 4 2019: Good availability - please enquire..

  • Arqueros Golf:Golf club apartment rental apartment to rent overlooking the 18th with stunning views, pools and South facing terraces, suitable for business breaks (Internet access) or family. Sleeps 6 2019: availability please enquire

  • Los Flamingos Marbella:Spain Marbella holiday Apartment for rent La Quinta Costa del Sol Front-line golf apartment with easy access to beaches and entertainment for all the family. This rental apartment includes use of 2 swimming pools and has a huge South facing terrace with amazing views. Sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms 2019: Good availability - please enquire..

  • Mijas Golf Course near Fuengirola: A charming Andalusian town house, forming part of a pretty village complex, overlooking the Mijas Golf course and within a few minutes walk of the first tee - discounts for long lets 2019: availability please enquire

  • Benalmadena Costa : Benalmadena  apartment rental, Costa del Sol, Spain 2 bedroom holiday apartment The apartments is situated in a quiet location adjacent to Paloma Park (with its water fountains and animal centre), and within 5 minutes stroll of the beach, restaurants, bars and shops. Has a pool and can accomodate up to 6 people. 2019: Good availability - please enquire..

  • Marbella Los Arqueros Golf and Country club: Luxury 3 bedroom apartment with communal gardens and pool 2019: availability please enquire

  • Ideal for winter holiday in sunshine LANZAROTE Self contained luxury self-catering apartment rental with double bed in quiet rural area of Lanzarote (but only 10 mins drive from beach at Puerto del Carmen) with use of pool and English TV. Fully fitted kitchen. Good views of sea and mountains. Available September October through Winter Christmas and Spring for holiday lets or long term.
  • Nerja:Family holiday apartment rental in Nerja Costa del Sol 2 bedroom family holiday villa with glorious views - the webmaster's favourite - with use of pool and semi tropical gardens, near to beach Currently long-term unavailable.

  • Apartments for sale: Spain Costa del Sol For Sale:
  • NOT SPAIN! But WONDERFUL FOR WINTER SUN! MOROCCO Marrakech Wonderful house, part of an old palace in central Marrakesh with cook and houseboy, wonderful for winter sun or summer holidays

    Currently long-term unavailable. as is Florida
  • Rent villa or apartment in Portugal
  • Rent villa or apartment in Spain Costa Del Sol Andalucia and Portugal
  • Villas and apartments for sale around £300,000