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Culture IN SPAIN
The Primitive artists of Altamira (the Sixtine Chapel of Cave Paintings), Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, Picasso, Dali, Miro, Gaudi...!
There can be no doubt that Spain has produced great artists, but there is much more than individual genius to be discovered. The architectonic legacy left by innumerable, unnamed artists and artisans, are to be found around every corner throughout the country, while the collections of antique and contemporary art and architectonic jewels. There are museums well worthy of Spain`s individual artistic geniuses. Madrid offers the renowned Prado, the Thyssen, the Reina Sofia Modern Art Museum with the Gernika, as well as the Archeological and Sorolla House/Museums and the Royal Tapestry Factory. Barcelona has acquired resounding international acclaim for the works of Gaudi and other modernist architectonic gems such as Music Palace. The Gothic Quarter with its interesting museums such as the Picasso, the Thyssen, the Miro on Montjuic as well as the Textile, Contemporary Art and Naval Museum are well worthy of close attention. Bilbao is justly proud of its Guggenheim Museum and the first-rate exhibitions that are continually on display there, as well as its Bellas Artes Museum. In addition, such cities such as Alcala de Henares, Avila, Caceres, Cordoba, Cuenca, Merida, Salamanca, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo…..All which have been named by UNESCO Human Patrimony Sites, display an artistic richness in their museums, monuments and architecture that is difficult to equal.

IBERIAN ROUTES:

Your clients can visit some of the most important archeological sites in Europe such as Atapuerca, cave painting in the north and south of Spain, Celtic and Iberian city ruins, and Roman military and civilian remains. Or they can discover the lesser-known civilizations like the Tartessos and their silver and bronze mining sites, wander the streets of medieval cities with their castles and fortresses built by and as a defense against the Arabs.

Any lover of the past will not want to miss the numerous and important archeological Museums and Collections that are to be found in the major cities and throughout the country. Furthermore, we can arrange a visit to the ruins of Volubilis in North Africa, one of the extremes of the legendary columns of Hercules. Truly unusual and stimulating possibilities that will whet the appetite of any archeological buff.

IN COLUMBUS FOOTSTEPS:

Tour that takes clients into the land of the ´Conquistadores´ and such cities as Trujillo, homeplace of Francisco de Pizarro, until arrival in Andalusia, the jumping off point for the Conquest of the Americas.

We visit Seville, along whose Guadalquivir River innumerable ships departed for and arrived from the Colonies laden with the products and spoils of the new World. We will delve in detail into the legend of Columbus, his relations with Isabel and Fernando and how he got sponsorship at the entrance to Granada, how he was received after his first trip, the many monuments of the period, the departure port, the nazaries palaces, the places of provisions, some of the houses and palaces of the merchants of the period as well as numerous religious and civil monuments.

HISPANIA:

The Iberian Peninsula of the Romans: For those clients who find the Roman Empire fascinating we present Hispania, a tour that will take them into the heart of the ancient and glorious days of that culture in the Iberian Peninsula.


While somewhat afield from center of the Empire, the peninsula had great importance to the Romans. From it they extracted such vital minerals as iron, copper, silver and gold, grew cereals, olives and grapes, established many settlements that today are principal cities, developed important civil architectural works (e.g. the Aqueduct of Segovia), major commercial routes, and left the heritage of a culture, language and laws that is at the base of the modern Spanish state.

Led by experts in the Roman legacy of the Iberian Peninsula, your clients will follow routes that will provide them with in-depth knowledge of the profound influence that is to be found across the length and breadth of modern day Spain and Portugal.
AL-ANDALUS:

Andalusia & Morocco: It is impossible to truly understand modern-day Spain without knowledge of the profound and extensive influence of the Arab culture.

From the 8th century until the fall of Granada in the 15th century to the Christians, the Moors brought all the splendor and richness of their culture into that part of Spain now known as Andalusia, not only creating such marvelous cities as Cordoba and Granada but also influencing the everyday life of its inhabitants.

There is a wealth of fascinating history and information to be gleaned following our guide´s carefully planned routes through Andalusia and Morocco, where such cities as Fez and Marrakech, such archeological sites as Volubilis, the towns of the Rif Valley, and picturesque fishing villages will enchant your clients. In addition, with a few extra days, it is possible to visit the extreme south to follow the Route of the Kasbahs, discover some of the most beautiful oasis in Africa, the adobe cities, and the dunes of the Sahara.

TWENTIETH CENTURY ART:

Picasso, Dalí, Miró. Any recompilation of the most important figures of twentieth century art must have these three artists included.


Your clients will have the opportunity to see many of their most important works first-hand. Picasso´s Gernica at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Picasso and Miró Museums in Barcelona, Dali´s Museum in Figueras. And much, much more on a tour that will take your clients to Spain´s principal cities with the distinctive plastic arts (painting, sculpture and architecture) of the twentieth century as the focal point.

Culture in Spain
The first tourists came to the Iberian Peninsula well over two thousand year ago. And while the concept of package tours was still a twinkle in some far off genius`s eye, as is the case today, many of these pioneer tourists were seduced by the climate and the Peninsula`s other charms. After years of arduous touristic exploration, they settled in the most advantageous sites to begin a modest (by today`s standards) but prosperous trade activity.

The first tourist to come “ en mass” were the Romans. Conscientious to a fault of their responsibility to future generations of tourists, they founded Pamplona (so there would be a place for the running of the bulls), constructed the walled city of Lugo (to control the debauchery of future generations of Gallegan youth), the aqueduct of Segovia, the Theatre of Merida, as well as a myriad of other “ruins” that have withstood the ensuing trample of touristic feet with astonishing success. As with all good tourists, when they returned home they did so with souvenirs, principally gold and silver, olive oil and wine. But the tourist trade is volatile, depending on the whims of the gods of economy and politics. The wave of Roman tourists was replaced by that of Roman tourists was replaced by that of the Visigoths. They were not as rich culturally and economically as the Roman`s during their hay day, leading many bad tongues to talk of cheap tourism, but the fac is the Visigoths had the foresight to convert to Christianity so the Crusaders could later beat back the wave of Moors tourists coming from the south. Of course, this was not done in a day, actually it took over eight centuries, and while waiting to be expulsed, the Moors spent their idle hours creating a unique and splendorous touristic legacy (Cordoba`s, Mosque, Seville`s Golden Tower, Granada`s Alhambra). All of the Iberian Peninsula was not, of course, Christian and Moors. For over a millennium, the Sefardi had been contributing to Spain`s touristic legacy, while living in harmony with the numerically large contemporaries. At moments, live as a tourist was perhaps simpler and less dangerous back then, fortunately, as this tranquil coexistence allowed for the construction of bath and synagogues in such cities as Toledo, Cordoba and Girona for the perusal of future generations of tourists. But the winner takes all, including the tourism. The Christians turned inflexible and deported the remaining Moors and Sefardi (or inside on their conversion), and then, following the tentative ventures of Columbus, began an unprecedented wave of outgoing touristic fervour that changed the face of the international touristic trade for generations to come. But things were happening on the national touristic level as well. But things were happening on the national touristic level as well. A flurry of religious activity provided future tourists with a plethora of Romanesque churches, monasteries and cathedrals along the pilgrimage route of the Way of Santiago, and shortly after the church coffers were resplendent enough to erect the magnificent Gothic cathedrals of Leon, Toledo and Seville.
MOORISH HERITAGE:

During Moorish Arab invasion of 711 A.D, almost the entire Iberian Peninsula fell within their control.

During the subsequent centuries, the Christians, from their stronghold in Asturias, slowly began to regain the lost territory, until the mid-13th century only the area that today corresponds to Andalucía remained in the hands of the Moors.

The principal cities such as: In Cordoba, you will visit one of the largest and most ancient mosques, a true forest of exquisite columns and one of the highpoints of the architecture of the Moorish period of Spain. In Seville, you will be able to stroll narrow streets, clearly inherited from the Moorish period, and climb one of the loveliest minarets in existence. In Granada, you will walk through the sumptuous rooms of one of the most celebrated and best-conserved medieval Islamic palaces. And all this without leaving Spain…

JEWS IN SEPHARAD:

It is not known exactly when the first Jews arrived on the Iberian Peninsula, but possibly, it was before the imposition of the Roman Empire and gradually began to be assimilated into the society of the time.

With the Moorish invasion, the Jewish culture in Spain reached its height of splendor, living peacefully with Arabs and Christian alike in principal cities such as Toledo, Segovia, Caceres, Tuldela, Cordoba, Gerona… which preserve their Jewish District, Synagogues … etc.

The Jewish culture found itself at home and with an important numerical presence. This is evident from the rich Jewish heritage that has been passed down from innumerable medieval villages and cities scattered about the peninsula and where it is still possible to visit ancient Jewish enclaves.

CHRISTIAN ROUTES:

Everyone knows the classic pilgrimages to Lourdes and Fatima. We can offer a program that combines these with visits to Santiago de Compostela as well as distinct Monasteries where members of the tour will have, in addition to daily Masses, the opportunity to listen to Gregorian chants, visit buildings with some of the best collections of religious relics in the world, follow in the steps of the mystics Santa Teresa, in the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola and San Juan de la Cruz, celebrate Mass in a number of Romanesque churches and cathedrals, and enjoy the great wealth of artistic and religious richness that Spain has to offer.

During Easter Week, the majority of Spanish cities and towns are resplendent with religious processions during which the most precious treasures and figures of the cathedrals and churches are carried through the streets before the admiring gaze of thousands of devotees. A unique experience that not just those who truly live their religion will find awe-inspiring. In addition, we must not neglect to mention the famous Procession of the Virgin of the Rocio, which is celebrated annually at the end of May, and is a magnet for over one million pilgrims from all corners of Spain.

ROMAN VESTIGES:

For those clients who find the Roman Empire fascinating we present Hispania, a tour that will take them into the heart of the ancient and glorious days of that culture in the Iberian Peninsula.

While somewhat afield from center of the Empire, the peninsula had great importance to the Romans. From it they extracted such vital minerals as iron, copper, silver and gold, grew cereals, olives and grapes, established many settlements that today are principal cities, developed important civil architectural works (e.g. the Aqueduct of Segovia), major commercial routes, and left the heritage of a culture, language and laws that is at the base of the modern Spanish state.

Led by experts in the Roman legacy of the Iberian Peninsula, your clients will follow routes that will provide them with in-depth knowledge of the profound influence that is to be found across the length and breath of modern day Spain and Portugal.

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