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DESCRIPTION OF THE AREA        



SIERRA DE GRAZALEMA

The village of Grazalema, one of the "pueblos blancos" has 4 airports nearby, Jerez de la Frontera, Malaga, Sevilla and Gibraltar. It is a small village of 2000 habitants at an altitude of 800m. Principally an Spanish holiday resort, especially in the winter, for the good walking and the occasional snow. It offers two 4 star hotels, a 3 and 2 star hotel and a family pension. It is becoming increasingly popular with northern Europeans for its wildlife and large variety of flora in Spring and its traditional summer fiestas and good selection of bars and restaurants surrounding the central plaza.


Its Name derives from the Berber name "Ben Zulema" when the Muslims occupied the area and actual now forms part of the  recognised Moorish route from Gibraltar to Granada.


The situation of Grazalema is ideal to use as a base to visit the major cultural centres in Andalucia, including the beautiful and historic cities of Granada and Cordoba ( 2 ½ hours drive).


Seville (1 ½  hours) and Malaga and Cadiz with their Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, which are only a 2 hour drive away. It is also a 30 minute drive to Ronda.


The Sierra is famous for is enormous rich wildlife and diverse range of landscapes from cork oak forests to barren mountain tops. There are plenty of traditional walks from village to village, one of which leads to Benamahoma crossing the north facing slope of " El Torreon" the highest mountain in the area (aprox. 1600 m). The track passes through the forest of the  famous Pinsapo trees, an ancient tree from the ice age. Which are found in very few  sites in the world, one being in the recently linked Park Natural of Northern Morocco. The area also offers various sport activities including rock climbing, hand gliding and caving, geologically  and archaeological important sites such as the prehistoric paintings in the caves of "Cueva de la Pileta", the Roman ruins and amphitheatre of Acinipo and the Arab baths of Ronda.


CADIZ

Founded 3,000 years ago by the Phoenicians, Cádiz is the oldest city in Western Europe. The different peoples who settled here left an important cultural imprint, whose influence still remains in the character of the city's people. This peninsula, right on the Andalusian Atlantic coast, has been able to preserve an important historical legacy - the result of its commercial importance - together with excellent beaches and an exquisite regional cuisine.


The former Phoenician Gades and Roman Gadir experienced its most splendid period when, in the 17th Century, it had the Ultramar (Spanish overseas empire) trade monopoly. This rise attracted attacks by pirates, which made the city fortify itself, constructing defensive bastions, castles and watchtowers on each flat roof. These are some of the characteristics of the city, in which the balcony railings are also outstanding. A visit might begin in Puerta Tierra, the entry point through the walls and the dividing line between modern and old Cádiz. On one side, wide avenues, beaches (La Victoria, Santa María and La Cortadura), sailing clubs and modern sporting facilities. On the other, a Cádiz with more flavour and history, that of the old districts: El Pópulo, the old medieval town; La Viña, fishing district and centre of the local tradition of satirical verses, or Santa María, living temple to flamenco. Streets with distinct characters but which have maintained a uniformity in the look of their houses which together form an exceptionally beautiful pattern.


MALAGA

This warm-hearted and lively city full of attractive sites such as the Alameda Principal avenue and the La Farola seafront promenade Aand has become one of the cultural centres of Andalucia with a wide range of museums, inclusing the Thyseen, Pcasso, Pompidou , Russian and Contemporary art museum.

Its status as the capital of the Costa del Sol has made it one of Spain's foremost holiday destinations, thanks to its mild climate, its beaches and its outstanding offer of golf courses.

Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans… over 2,000 years ago the most important Mediterranean civilisations found in Malaga an exceptional place in which to establish trade routes, thanks to the strategic location of its port. The Alcazaba (8-11th century) is one of the symbols of the city, and one of the largest Arab fortresses in Andalusia. This building is today the site of the Archaeological Museum, containing valuable pieces dating from Phoenician and Roman times.

The Gibralfaro castle (14th century) is linked to the Alcazaba by a section of wall and offers outstanding views over the city, which is open to the sea through its port and the La Farola seafront promenade, one of the city's main leisure areas. At the foot of the Gibralfaro stands the Roman theatre, the bullring, (known as La Malagueta) and the historic quarter of the city.

In the centre stands the Cathedral (16-18th century), also known as 'La Manquita' ('the one-armed') thanks to its unfinished right tower. This beautiful Renaissance building is home to an interesting series of chapels containing fine examples of Andalusian imagery. In the old part of town there are other interesting churches such as the churches of Santiago 15-18th century), with its beautiful Mudéjar tower, Los Mártires, Sagrado Corazón and Santo Cristo de la Salud.

Historic Malaga offers a whole host of typical sites and corners. These include the façade of the Town Hall, dating from the early 20th century, and the Plaza de la Merced square, presided by the monument to Torrijos and the site of the house in which the famous painter Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born. A walk around the old quarter has to include the busy streets of Pasaje de Chinitas and Calle Granada, the site of the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Calle Larios, the main thoroughfare in the historic centre.

The capital of Malaga also has numerous green areas such as the park, the Alameda Principal avenue, and the gardens of Puerta Oscura and Pedro Luis Alonso.