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Andalusia’s age-old history has left behind a wealth of artistic heritage. The Alhambra in Granada, the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Giralda Tower and old town of Seville are all World Heritage sites, but the majority of its towns and villages also bear witness to the peak of Andalusia’s artistic heritage over the ages.
The stunning Moorish, Renaissance and, above all, Baroque architecture to be seen in its most important buildings, the castles, fortresses and monasteries to be found throughout the region, complete a hugely valuable array of heritage. The native region of Velázquez, Murillo and Picasso is home to canvasses, sculptures, jewellery, images and archaeological remains to be found in cathedrals, museums, churches, convents and palaces, guardians of this important artistic development. Even in the most remote villages you can find a first-rate altarpiece, a masterpiece of painting or an item of the most intricate precious metal work.
The variety of fiestas and celebrations to be found in Andalusia is as broad as its geography and the calendar of events is a real encyclopaedia taking in the arts and customs of its people.
The spring festivals, planting and harvest festivals, patron saint’s day fiestas, fairs, wine festivals, open-air fiestas and pilgrimages all demonstrate the finest local crafts, gastronomy, music and religious beliefs.
The Carnival celebrations give a noisy start to the season, with a humorous, satirical look at everyday roles in society. During Easter week, churches bring out their most valuable treasures to accompany the Passion statues for processions that follow their itineraries faithfully year after year. The Corpus Christi festivities are the inspiration for another dazzling parade. The May Crosses festival brings together the sacred and the profane in spectacular harmony.
Bullfighting has fundamental importance in Andalusia on account of its deep roots. For three quarters of the year there are bullfights held in many different bullrings, to coincide with local fairs that are the scene for dancing and song accompanied by the guitar. Flamenco music is the most authentic expression of Andalusian folklore. The flamenco festivals in summer offer a calendar of performances to suit all tastes.
“Romerías” are religious processions that take place in the countryside, heirs of ancient fertility rituals.
The region’s ceramics and pottery, its artwork in metal and jewellery, its leatherwork for shoes or saddles, craft textiles from blankets to embroidery and shawls, along with a whole range of further crafts including furniture making, wickerwork, picture framing, work in stone and marble and musical instrument making, have all become highly renowned.