The scent of orange blossom, the swish of a flamenco dress, the glimpse of a white village perched atop a crag: memories of Andalucía linger.

The Essence of Spain
Jerusalem's Old City is a spiritual lightning rod, sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. Wide-eyed with awe, pilgrims flood into the walled city to worship at locations linked to the very foundation of their faith. Church bells, Islamic calls to prayer and the shofar (Jewish ram's horn) electrify the air with a beguiling, if not harmonious, melody, and fragrances of incense, coffee and candle smoke drift through the thrumming souqs (markets). Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Armenian quarters each add their own spice, but this diversity grew from millennia of bloody sieges and transfers of power, leaving still visible deep wounds.

Diversity & Divisions
Immortalised in operas and vividly depicted in 19th-century art and literature, Andalucía often acts as a synonym for Spain as a whole: a sun-dappled, fiesta-loving land of guitar-wielding troubadours, reckless bullfighters, feisty operatic heroines and Roma singers wailing sad laments. While this simplistic portrait might be outdated, stereotypical and overly romantic, it does carry an element of truth. Andalucía, despite creeping modernisation, remains a spirited and passionate place where the atmosphere sneaks up and envelops you when you least expect it – perhaps as you're crammed into a buzzing tapas bar or lost in the depths of a flamenco performance.

A Cultural Marinade
Part of Andalucía's appeal springs from its peculiar history. For eight centuries the region sat on a volatile frontier between two faiths and ideologies: Christianity and Islam. Left to ferment like a barrel of the bone-dry local sherry, Andalucía underwent a cross-fertilisation that threw up a slew of cultural colossi: ancient mosques transformed into churches; vast palaces replete with stucco work; a cuisine infused with North African spices; hammams and teterías (teahouses) evoking the Moorish lifestyle; and a chain of lofty white towns that dominates the craggy landscape, from Granada's tightly knotted Albayzín to the hilltop settlements of Cádiz province.

Wild Andalucía
It takes more than a few golf courses to steamroller Andalucía’s diverse ecology. Significant stretches of the region's coast remain relatively unblemished, especially on Cádiz' Costa de la Luz and Almería's Cabo de Gata. Inland, you’ll stumble into villages where life barely seems to have changed since playwright Federico García Lorca created Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding). Thirty per cent of Andalucía’s land is environmentally protected, much of it in easy-to-access parks, and these conservation measures are showing dividends. The Iberian lynx is no longer impossibly elusive; the ibex is flourishing; even the enormous lammergeier (bearded vulture) is again soaring above Cazorla's mountains.

Duende
One of Andalucía's most intriguing and mysterious attractions is the notion of duende, the elusive spirit that douses much of Spanish art, especially flamenco. Duende loosely translates as a moment of heightened emotion that takes you out of yourself, experienced during an artistic performance, and it can be soulfully evoked in Andalucía if you mingle in the right places. Seek it out in a Lorca play at a municipal theatre, an organ recital in a Gothic church, the hit-or-miss spontaneity of a flamenco peña (club) or Málaga's remarkable art renaissance.

In and around Andalucia

  • Alcazaba
    Castle in Málaga

    The entrance is next to the Roman amphitheatre, from where a meandering path climbs amid lush greenery: crimson bougainvillea, lofty palms, fragrant jasmine bushes and rows of orange trees. Extensively restored, this palace-fortress dates from the 11th-century Moorish period; the caliphal horseshoe arches, courtyards and bubbling fountains are evocative of this influential period in Málaga’s history. There are various unlabelled exhibits of Islamic pottery, but the main joys are the building itself, the gardens and the views. The dreamy Patio de la Alberca is especially redolent of the Alhambra.
    Calle Alcazabilla, 2 - 29012 Málaga
    9am-8pm Apr-Oct, to 6pm Nov-Mar
  • Catedral de Málaga
    Cathedral in Málaga

    Málaga’s elaborate cathedral was started in the 16th century on the site of the former mosque. Of the mosque, only the Patio de los Naranjos survives, a small courtyard of fragrant orange trees. Inside, the fabulous domed ceiling soars 40m into the air, while the vast colonnaded nave houses an enormous cedar-wood choir. Aisles give access to 15 chapels with gorgeous 18th-century retables and religious art. It's worth taking the guided tour up to the cubiertas (roof) to enjoy panoramic city views.



    Calle Molina Lario, 9 - 29015 Málaga
    10am-8pm Mon-Fri, to 6.30pm Sat, 2-6.30pm Sun Apr, May & Oct, 10am-9pm Mon-Fri, to 6.30pm Sat, 2pm-6.30pm Sun Jun-Sep, closes 6.30pm daily Nov-Mar
    http://malagacatedral.com/cultural-visit/
  • Museo Picasso Málaga
    Museum in Málaga

    This unmissable museum in the city of Picasso’s birth provides a solid overview of the great master and his work, although, surprisingly, it only came to fruition in 2003 after more than 50 years of planning. The 200-plus works in the collection were donated and loaned to the museum by Christine Ruiz-Picasso (wife of Paul, Picasso’s eldest son) and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso (Picasso's grandson) and catalogue the artist’s sparkling career with a few notable gaps (the ‘blue’ and ‘rose’ periods are largely missing).


    Calle San Agustín 8 - 29015 Málaga
    10am-8pm Jul & Aug, to 7pm Mar-Jun, Sep & Oct, to 6pm Nov-Feb
    https://www.museopicassomalaga.org/en/
  • Catedral de Cádiz
    Cathedral in Cádiz

    Cádiz' beautiful yellow-domed cathedral is an impressively proportioned baroque-neoclassical construction, best appreciated from seafront Campo del Sur in the evening sun. Though commissioned in 1716, the project wasn't finished until 1838, by which time neoclassical elements (the dome, towers and main facade) had diluted architect Vicente Acero's original baroque plan. Highlights within are the intricate wood-carved choir and, in the crypt below, the tomb of renowned 20th-century gaditano composer Manuel de Falla.


    Plaza de la Catedral - 11005 Cádiz
    10am-9pm Jul & Aug, to 8pm Apr-Jun & Sep, to 7pm Oct-Mar
    http://www.catedraldecadiz.com/
  • Palacios Nazaríes
    Islamic Palace in Granada

    This is the stunning centrepiece of the Alhambra, the most brilliant Islamic building in Europe, with perfectly proportioned rooms and courtyards, intricately moulded stucco walls, beautiful tiling, fine carved wooden ceilings and elaborate stalactite-like muqarnas vaulting, all worked in mesmerising, symbolic, geometrical patterns. Arabic inscriptions proliferate in the stucco work. Admission to the palacios (included in the Alhambra ticket) is strictly controlled. When you buy your ticket, you'll be given a time to enter. Once inside, you can stay as long as you like.

    Calle Real de la Alhambra - 18009 Granada
    8.30am-8pm Apr–mid-Oct, to 6pm mid-Oct–Mar, night visits 10-11.30pm Tue-Sat Apr–mid-Oct, 8-9.30pm Fri & Sat mid-Oct–Mar.
    http://www.alhambra-patronato.es/en
  • Alhambra
    Islamic palace in Granada

    The Alhambra is Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture. Set against a backdrop of brooding Sierra Nevada peaks, this fortified palace complex started life as a walled citadel before going on to become the opulent seat of Granada’s Nasrid emirs. Their showpiece palaces, the 14th-century Palacios Nazaríes, are among the finest Islamic buildings in Europe and, together with the gorgeous Generalife gardens, form the Alhambra's great headline act.




    Calle Real de la Alhambra - 18009 Granada
    8.30am-8pm Apr–mid-Oct, to 6pm mid-Oct–Mar, night visits 10-11.30pm Tue & Sat Apr–mid-Oct, 8-9.30pm Fri & Sat mid-Oct–Mar
    http://www.alhambra-patronato.es/en
  • Capilla Real
    Historic building in Granada

    The Royal Chapel is the last resting place of Spain’s Reyes Católicos (Catholic Monarchs), Isabel I de Castilla (1451–1504) and Fernando II de Aragón (1452–1516), who commissioned the elaborate Isabelline-Gothic-style mausoleum that was to house them. It wasn't completed until 1517, hence their interment in the Alhambra’s Convento de San Francisco until 1521. Their monumental marble tombs (and those of their heirs) lie in the chancel behind a gilded wrought-iron screen created by Bartolomé de Jaén in 1520.


    Calle Oficios - 18010 Granada
    10.15am-6.30pm Mon-Sat, 11am-6pm Sun
    http://capillarealgranada.com/en/
Málaga is a municipality, capital of the Province of Málaga, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 571,026 in 2018, it is the second-most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth-largest in Spain. The southernmost large city in Europe, it lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean, about 100 kilometres (62.14 miles) east of the Strait of Gibraltar and about 130 km (80.78 mi) north of Africa.

Málaga's history spans about 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. According to most scholars, it was founded about 770 BC by the Phoenicians as Malaka. From the 6th century BC the city was under the hegemony of Ancient Carthage, and from 218 BC, it was ruled by the Roman Republic and then empire as Malaca (Latin). After the fall of the empire and the end of Visigothic rule, it was under Islamic rule as Mālaqah for 800 years, but in 1487, the Crown of Castille gained control after the Reconquista. The archaeological remains and monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras make the historic center of the city an "open museum", displaying its history of nearly 3,000 years.

The painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso, Hebrew poet and Jewish philosopher Solomon Ibn Gabirol and the actor Antonio Banderas were born in Málaga. The magnum opus of Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, "Malagueña", is named after the music of this region of Spain.

The most important business sectors in Málaga are tourism, construction and technology services, but other sectors such as transportation and logistics are beginning to expand. The Andalusia Technology Park (PTA), located in Málaga, has enjoyed significant growth since its inauguration in 1992. Málaga is the main economic and financial centre of southern Spain, home of the region's largest bank, Unicaja, and the fourth-ranking city in economic activity in Spain behind Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

Climate
The climate is subtropical-Mediterranean (Köppen climate classification: Csa) with very mild winters and hot summers. Málaga enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of about 300 days of sunshine and only about 40-45 with precipitation annually. Its coastal location with winds blowing from the Mediterranean Sea make the heat manageable during the summer.

Málaga experiences the warmest winters of any European city with a population over 500,000. The average temperature during the day in the period from December to February is 17–18 °C (63–64 °F). During the winter, the Málaga Mountains (Montes de Málaga) block out the cold weather from the north. Generally, the summer season lasts about eight months, from April to November, although in the remaining four months temperatures sometimes surpass 24 °C (75 °F). Its average annual temperature is 23.3 °C (73.9 °F) during the day and 13.7 °C (56.7 °F) at night. In the coldest month, January, the temperature ranges from 13 to 20 °C (55 to 68 °F) during the day, 5 to 13 °C (41 to 55 °F) at night and the average sea temperature is 16–17 °C (61–63 °F). In the warmest month, August, the temperature ranges from 26 to 34 °C (79 to 93 °F) during the day, above 20 °C (68 °F) at night and the average sea temperature is 26 °C (79 °F).

Large fluctuations in temperature are rare. The highest temperature ever recorded at the airport is 44.2 °C (111.6 °F) on 18 July 1978. In the month of August 1881, the average reported daytime maximum temperature was a record 34.8 °C (94.6 °F). The coldest temperature ever recorded was −3.8 °C (25.2 °F) on the night of 4 February 1954. The highest wind speed ever recorded was on 16 July 1980, measuring 119 km/h (73.94 mph). Snowfall is virtually unknown; since the end of the XIX century, Málaga city has only recorded snow one day in the 20th century, on 2 February 1954.

Annual average relative humidity is 65%, ranging from 58% in June to 72% in December. Yearly sunshine hours is between 2,800 and 3,000 per year, from 5–6 hours of sunshine / day in December to average 11 hours of sunshine / day in July. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry. Málaga is one of the few cities in Europe which are "green" all year round.

Climate


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V INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS PEDIATRICS 2.0 - Malaga/Granada/Ronda - 30 April-03 May 2020

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