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Around Andalucía

Five miles from Seville is the impressive ancient town of Itálica, founded in 206 BC — the first Roman settlement in Spain. The site comprises a vast amphitheater able to hold 25,000 spectators, wide paved streets, and ruins of villas with amazing mosaics. Emperors Trajan and Hadrian were both born in Itálica.

A replica of a heroic sculpture of Trajan. The original is in the Archeological Museum in Seville.

The splendid mosaics of the Casa del Planetario (House of the Planetarium) depicting the gods of the seven days of the week.

The impressive amphitheatre, the third largest in the Roman Empire.

Jerez de la Frontera is renowned for its fortified wine, known as sherry. The Moors originally called the town Scheris from which the words Xeres (evolving later to Jerez) and sherry were derived. De la Frontera (of the Frontier) is a suffix added to the name of a large number of towns throughout the province of Cádiz. It dates back to the time when the region was the frontier of the Christian territory.

A square in the historic center of Jerez.

We arrived a few days prior to the feast of La Virgen del Valle (The Virgin of the Valley), the patron saint of Jerez. We witnessed a large procession through the city center that was transporting the patron saint to the cathedral for her coronation on November 1st.

One of the many glasses of sherry consumed (mostly) by my husband.

On our way out of the city of Jerez we drove by a cemetery a couple of days before All Souls' Day. The Catholic cemetery was abuzz with activity, with relatives of the deceased cleaning the graves and placing large bouquets of flowers. We visited the cemetery but did not take any photos because I always feel uncomfortable using my camera in holy places. Cemeteries are called cementerios in Spanish, and also "campo santo" (holy field). Upon exiting we noticed the entrance to the Muslim Cemetery. The gate was locked and we asked permission to enter. We were escorted to a small area were we saw no more than 20 plots. There were a few small modest headstones but most had no plaques or any marker indicating who was buried there. By the size of the plots we surmised that they were children's tombs.

The beautiful gardens of an 800 year old palace in the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

The salinas (salt evaporation ponds) in Sanlúcar. They almost look like snow hills from the distance but they are mounds of salt.

A spectacular sunset in the town of El Puerto de Santa María.

Comments (12)

Gosh, it's like wtching a travel show on TV - your photos ae so good!

Happy New Year. ;)

Gorgeous sunset and fabulous photos. It is so much fun learning more about Spain...a country I always wanted to visit as a child, but then got lost in Italy instead.

Maria - those are beautiful shots. One of these days I will have to get to Spain!


Gorgeous photos, Maria! And these places sound so incredible, I want to see them for myself someday. The salt mounds definitely look like snow covered hills to me, partly because snow covered is all I am seeing around here these days! Had another small bit fall overnight, and all is white, even the roads. Very beautiful in the early morning winter light though.

Thank you everyone for your kind and lovely comments. Spain is an amazing country with friendly and warm people, stunning art and flavorful cuisine. It will charm you, almost as much as Italy.

Awesome photos. I'd love to see a Madonna procession like that or the one that Kathy saw in Madrid. And those salt mounds are beautiful!

Annie, funny because I thought of you when we were watching the procession. I have to do an entry with the pictures of all the shrines we saw in Spain. There's a very unusual one on the outside wall of a church that shows a female figure wearing the traditional covering for the hair and neck worn by Muslim women.
The salt mounds reminded me of Trapani in Sicily where the salinas is a thriving industry.


Maria, those salt mountains look incredible. And the sunset photo, gorgeous!

I love the mental image of people scrubbing the headstones in the cemetary and replacing the flowers for All Souls' Day. Do you remember the opening scene of the movie Volver? With all the women of the town doing just that?

The mosaics and the ampitheatre are beautiful and very impressive. Great photos!

I've been trying to leave a comment all day today. I hope it's finally fixed!

I can't wait to see your shrine photos! That definitely sounds like a very unusual one...is it a Madonna wearing Muslim garb?!

Are there as many shrines in Spain as there are in Italy? I am so fascinated by those things

Sandra, I have forgotten about the opening scene of Volver. Thank you for mentioning it. I have to see that movie, again!

Most of the people we saw at the cemetery were women and very few couple. They were all carrying ladders (to reach the niches), buckets, water jugs, and flowers. It was an amazing scene.

Annie, I tried all morning long to write an entry on the Epiphany and couldn't access the site. Tried leaving comments on the blogs and couldn't do that either. I'm glad it's finally fixed.

Re: the figure with the Muslim attire, I'm going to look for the photo and post it before I start blogging about Morocco. Later on I’ll post the photos of the shrines and of the many Spanish cats I met. I didn’t get the chance to ask anyone in the town about the meaning of the figure in the niche because we were just passing by, but I’ll try to find information on the web.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, I really enjoyed reading about all the different parts around Andalucia that you visited. I'm glad to read and see your photos of Italica because I missed going there. I waited too long to visit and when I decided to go I found out that they were closed on Mondays and I was leaving the next day. Hopefully, I can visit there when I am able to visit Seville again. It looks like your visit to Jerez was full of interesting sights and flavors! I had forgotten about that opening scene in Volver too until I read Sandra's comments.

I had not heard of the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The garden photo is really pretty. I love all your photos and I am really enjoying reading about all of your experiences.

Thank you for all your kind comments, Kathy. My husband and I enjoyed re-visiting some parts of Andalucía and discovering new ones. Next time I want to spend more time in one location instead of moving around so much. My hubby is not a slowtraveler, yet.

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