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Thursday, 21-Feb-2013 04:54 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Columbus Monument in Barcelona, Spain

Christopher Columbus’ voyages to the Americas not only introduced Spain to the New World, they also helped the Spaniards to colonize the new continent. To honour the famous explorer, the Columbus Monument was constructed in Barcelona in the 19th century.

The monument, built for the first world fair held in Spain, is currently one of the prominent attractions of the city. Situated at the middle of the Place de la Porta de Pau, an attractive public square at the lower end of La Rambla, Columbus Monument attracts visitors to Barcelona to view the city from a viewing platform more than 40 m above the ground.

Features of Columbus Monument

Monumento a Colon, commonly known as Columbus Monument, was created to display the splendour of modern Catalan architecture. With the design of the monument conceived by the Catalan architect Gaieta Buigas I Monarva and the bronze statue of Columbus sculpted by the Catalan sculptor Rafael Atche, the entire monument was created by Catalans with materials sourced from Catalonia.

The 60m tall Columbus Monument comprises of a 7.2 m tall bronze statue of Christopher Columbus perched on top of a cast iron column with an intricately decorated stone pedestal. The bronze statue of Columbus crowning the monument shows the great explorer pointing towards the sea. However, some people claim that the statue points towards the New Worlds, whereas others believe that the statue actually points in the direction of Genoa in Italy, where the explorer was born.

The octagonal pedestal supporting the Corinthian column is decorated with allegorical and historic figures. Catalonia, Castile, Leon and Argon are represented in the form of four seated figures positioned against the buttress with statues of griffins and winged Phemes above them. Eight portrait medallions of important people associated with the voyages of Columbus adorn the buttresses around the pedestal. Statues of Father Bernat de Boil, Captain Pedro Bertran i de Margarit, Jaume Ferrer de Blanes and Luis de Santangel Bessant stand at the foot of the pedestal. The plinth is intricately decorated with bronze brass relief panels, depicting important scenes related to Columbus’ first voyage to the New World, and coats-of-arms representing the important places visited by the explorer. At the base of the monument, there are gorgeous statues of lions. A lift carries visitors through the hollow column to a viewing platform on the top.

Columbus Monument is open to visitors from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM throughout the week, except during public holidays.


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Thursday, 21-Feb-2013 04:54 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Best Destinations and Tourist Guide of the Canary Islands, Spain

Off the southwest coast of the Spanish mainland, Canary Islands are a group of picturesque islands in the Atlantic Ocean. This outermost region of the European Union, close to North Africa, is one of the most prominent tourism destinations of Spain.

Visitors to the Canary Islands are captivated by the stunning volcanic landscape of the archipelago, its idyllic beaches and rich marine life. Due to its pleasant subtropical climate, the Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean attracts travelers throughout the year.

Best Destinations in the Canary Islands

Gran Canaria

The most visited island of the Canary Islands archipelago, Gran Canaria is known for its scenic sandy beaches and dunes. Maspalomas, San Bartolome de Tirajana and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are the most popular areas of the island. Gran Canaria offers plenty of water sport facilities. There is scope for scuba diving, sailing and surfing. It is one of the popular wind surfing venues in the world. Nearly half of the island is a naturally protected area that can be explored on foot.

Tenerife

The largest island of the Spanish archipelago is dotted with beaches, natural pools and coves. Teida National Park is one of the most picturesque areas of the island. The park lies at the foot of the largest volcano of Spain. It is home to diverse plant and animal species, most of them indigenous to the archipelago.

Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is the second largest island of the Canaries archipelago. There is ample possibility for beach activities on the white sandy beaches of the island. Due to the underwater volcanic landscape comprising of tunnels, caves and diverse rock formations, Fuerteventura is a popular destination for diving.

La Gomera

One of the smallest of the Canary Islands, La Gomera is also one of the peaceful retreats of the archipelago. With black sand beaches dotting the coastline framed by rugged mountains, La Gomera is a popular destination for nature lovers. The Garajonay National Park covering sizeable part of the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The prehistoric forest is home to numerous birds and several animal species.

Lanzarote

One of the oldest islands of the archipelago, Lanzarote boasts of a fascinating landscape comprising of canyons, craters and valleys formed by solidified lava. The volcanic formations can be seen in the nature parks of the island. The island is home to different marine bird species. Lanzarote is one of the major surfing destinations of Europe.

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Thursday, 21-Feb-2013 04:54 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Beauty of Andalucia Holidays

With a picturesque coastline flanked by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and lush inland framed by the Sierra Morena Mountains, Andalucia is one of the scenic regions in southern Spain. The natural beauty of this stunning region of Spain attract tourists from allover the world to the cities and seaside resorts of Andalucia.

Apart from its natural attraction, Andalucia is one of the main hubs of art and culture of the Spain. The last bastion of the Moors in Spain is home to the finest Moorish monuments of the country. Andalucia is also the birthplace of flamenco. It is the best place to enjoy the vibrant music and dance performances that have popularized Spanish culture throughout the world.

Best Holiday Destinations in Andalucia

Seville

At the foothills of the Sierra Morena Mountains, Seville, the capital of Andalucia, is a fascinating city of Spain. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the historic quarter of the city is home to stunning architecture. The Alcazar Arab fortress, the Seville Cathedral, Santiago Church, La Giralda Tower, Torre del Oro Tower and the Indias archive are the main attractions of Seville. Seville is also a land of colorful fiestas. The Easter Week and the April Fair are two of the most popular festivals hosted in the province that attract a large number of tourists.

Granada

The Moorish past of Granada is reflected in its architecture. The Alhambra, a splendid complex of palaces and gardens built during the Nasrid era is one of the key attractions of Granada. Not to be missed is the Generallife, the royal residence of the Islamic rulers and the Albaicin neighbourhood. Granada is home to one of the less-visited Costas of Spain, Costa Tropical. The unspoiled beaches of the coast are the ideal destinations for tranquil holidays. The snow-capped mountains of Sierra Nevada National Park attract mountaineers and skiers to the popular winter resort of Andalucia. Do not miss watching flamenco performances in the Sacromonte cave dwellings.

Cordoba

The Great Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is one of the key attractions of Andalucia. Monuments and museums are scattered across Cordoba. Its lush countryside with olive plantations and orchards are the perfect hideaway from the hectic city life.

Malega

Home to Costa del Sol, the sunny coast of Spain, Malega is a popular destination for sand and sea holiday in Spain. It also has outstanding golf courses. Marbella, a stunning city is a popular destination for golfers.

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The Alhambra Architecture

Perched on the Assabica hill overlooking the modern town of Granada, Alhambra is a medieval palace and fortress built by the last Muslim rulers of Spain. The Alhambra architecture is one of the finest examples of the Moorish architecture. Blending Islamic architectural style with secular elements, Alhambra is one of the masterpieces of medieval Granada.

Alhambra has retained its classic features even after Christian elements were added to the fortress after the Reconquista. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, today Alhambra is a prominent tourist attraction in Granada.

Alhambra Architecture

Without a master plan, the buildings of Alhambra were constructed in a disorderly fashion. The residential complex comprises of palatial buildings for the royals and their subordinates. The oldest part of the complex is the citadel, built in the 9th century. The major constructions of the complex took place during the 14th century during the Nasrid era. The Christian style buildings were added during the 16th century. Hence, architectural styles that evolved in Spain for more than five centuries can be seen in Alhambra.

Notwithstanding the Hispanic influence, Alhambra has remained the perfect symbol of Muslim art in Spain.

Features of Alhambra

The Royal complex is elaborately embellished with ornate wood and stone works on the ceilings and floor. The Court of the Myrtles is one of the key attractions of the royal complex. At the centre of the court, a large pond kept the palace cool during the summer. The Hall of the Ambassadors, the largest hall in the complex, is a magnificent reception hall. Decorated with colorful tiles, floral and geometric patterns and inscriptions, it one of the most fascinating parts of Alhambra. The Court of the Lions is surrounded by a gallery of white marble pillars. The walls of the court are covered with colorful tiles. The pillars are decorated with a variety of foliage patterns. The main attraction of the Court of the Lions is the Fountain of Lions. Located at the centre of the large square, the fountain comprises of twelve figures of lion made of white marble with water pouring each hour from the mouth of a lion. The Hall of the Abencerrajes is a gorgeous room with ornate roof adorned in golden, blue, red and brown. The honeycomb shaped dome is the finest example of stalactite vaulting developed by the Moor architects of Spain. The Generallife is a 14th century villa with a beautiful pool.

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The 7 best beaches in Majorca

The Spanish island of Majorca boasts of some of the finest beaches in the Mediterranean. With abundant sunshine, expansive stretches of clean white sands and the clear turquoise water of the sea, Majorca draws visitors from around the world to enjoy memorable beach holidays.

Most of the popular beaches of this largest island of the Balearic archipelago of Spain are located on the eastern and northern coasts. These are also the most developed areas of the island with plenty of tourist, water sporting and recreational facilities. A number of idyllic beaches can be found on the southern coast, which is also renowned for its picturesque landscape. The rugged coastline on the west of the island is home to a number of unspoiled beaches.

Best Beaches in Majorca

1. Cala Formentor Beach

On the northern coast, Cala Formentor is a stunning white sandy beach in Majorca. The 1 km long beach, framed by pine and offering a panoramic view of the coastal mountains, is especially popular among families. The shallow sea provides a safe bathing site for children. Boating and jet skiing are popular water sporting options for visitors to Cala Formentor.

2. Pollensa Beach

The windy condition on Pollensa Beach makes it a popular destination for windsurfing in Majorca. The scenic beach also offers facilities for scuba diving, sailing and snorkeling. The shallow water attracts families with children to Pollensa. Dotted with a number of restaurants, this is a great place to devour Spanish seafood delicacies.

3. Cala Agulla

The breathtakingly beautiful marine landscape of Cala Agulla flanked by mountains and pine trees draw visitors to this idyllic beach on the east coast of Majorca. The beach is quite crowded during the summer months.

4. Alcudia Beach

Alcudia Beach on the north coast of Majorca is less than an hour drive from Palma airport. The white sands and shallow water are perfect for lounging and enjoying the sun with kids. Alcudia offers an array of water sports such as jet skiing, water skiing and paragliding.

5. Es Trenc Beach

One of the unspoiled beaches of Majorca, Es Trenc is the ideal destination for vacationers who want to avoid the bustling beach crowds. It offers a spectacular view of the sea and surrounding landscape.

6. Cala Pi

Surrounded by the vegetation of the rugged mountainous regions, Cala Pi is a picturesque beach on the south coast of Majorca. Here the sea is ideal for swimming, diving and snorkeling.

7. Sa Coma Beach

This Blue Flag beach of Majorca is a popular destination for families. It offers a wide range of water sporting facilities. It also has some great restaurants.

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