Pasyal sa España

2011 Oct. 21-30

by Norman Bituin





Granada, Gibraltar and Malaga

 (Part 3 of 3)



Oct. 28, Fr, Granada



Granada was a well-defended Ibero-Celtic settlement; a Greek colony in 5 BC; and came under the rule of the ancient Romans, the Visigoths and the Eastern Roman Empire. In 711, the Moors occupied it becoming the capital of a province of the Caliphate of Córdoba. In 1013, Granada became an independent emirate and in 1228, the Nasrids established the longest lasting Muslim dynasty on the Iberian peninsula. In 1492, the last Muslim ruler in Iberia, Emir Muhammad XII, surrendered complete control of the Emirate of Granada to Ferdinand II and Isabella I, Los Reyes Católicos ('The Catholic Monarchs'). The terms of the surrender, expressed in the Alhambra Decree treaty, explicitly allowed the city's Muslim inhabitants to continue unmolested in the practice of their faith and customs, known as Mudéjar. In 1501, the Castilian Crown rescinded the Alhambra Decree treaty and mandated that Granada's Muslims must convert or emigrate. Many of the elite Muslim class subsequently emigrated to North Africa. The majority of Granada's Mudéjar Muslims stayed to convert becoming Moriscos or Catholics of Moorish descent.  The majority of Granada's Jewish population was expelled while those who converted became Marranos or Catholics of Jewish descent.


Downtown Granada













Catedral de la Anunciacion, 1522


The Cathedral of Granada is built over the Nasrid Great Mosque of Granada, in the center of the city. Its construction began during the Spanish Renaissance in 1522, shortly after the conquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs. The church was conceived on the model of the Cathedral of Toledo, initially a Gothic architectural project, but was changed towards a fully Renaissance aesthetic.
















Alcaicera, once the Moorish silk market, sells arts and crafts and fine Spanish jewelry.


La Alhambra


The Alhambra is a Nasrid "palace city". It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984. It is certainly Granada's most emblematic monument and one of the most visited in Spain. It consists of a defensive zone, the Alcazaba, together with others of a residential and formal state character, the Nasrid Palaces and, lastly, the palace, gardens and orchards of El Generalife. It was the residence of the Nasrid sultans and their senior officials, including servants of the court and elite soldiers (13th-14th centuries).


El Generalife Orchards








The Franciscan Church





Alcazaba was the military fortress that guarded the Sultan's palace and the city.







Palacios Nazaries


The Alhambra's Moorish palaces were built for the last Muslim Emirs in Spain and its court, of the Nasrid dynasty. After the Reconquista in 1492, some portions were used by the Christian rulers. The majority of the palace buildings are quadrangular in plan, with all the rooms opening on to a central court. Column arcades, fountains with running water, and reflecting pools were used to add to the aesthetic and functional complexity. The palace complex is designed in the Mudéjar style with geometrical patterns wrought into arabesques.










The Fountain of 12 Lions that functioned as a clock was a gift to the Sultan of Granada by a Jewish leader.

[Photography was strictly prohibited, so I snapped this shot before going inside the "Patio de Los Leones".]



My two mementos of Granada: Cerveza Alhambra and my name in Arabic inscribed by a street calligrapher for 1 euro.



Oct. 29, Sa, Gibraltar (UK)



Gibraltar is a British overseas territory (2,642 sq mi) located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean and is adjacent to the Andalusian province of Cadiz. An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. The territory was subsequently ceded to Britain "in perpetuity" under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It was an important base for the British Royal Navy. In a referendum held in 2002, Gibraltarians rejected by an overwhelming majority (99%) a proposal of shared sovereignty between Spain and Britain. Under the Gibraltar Constitution of 2006, Gibraltar governs its own affairs, though some powers, such as defense and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the UK Government. Today its economy is based largely on tourism, financial services, and shipping.

With the Rock of Gibraltar as the backdrop, I sent this picture to the AAA Westways editor, hopefully

 to be included in a future issue. The rule is member(s) should be carrying the magazine at the photo site.





Crossing from Spain to the United Kingdom territory along Winston Churchill Avenue



We took the tour. Airport runway closes to pedestrian and vehicular traffic when planes land and take off.


At scenic outlook, one can see the two continents: to the right is Europe (Spain); farther to the left is Africa (Morocco).





Colonies of apes/monkeys, probably brought by the Moors, said our tour guide, inhabit Gibraltar.










The tunnels and cannons on top of the Rock were used during the Anglo-Spanish War and World War II.




Gibraltar's International Airport runway beside the Mediterranean Sea, with people crossing when runway is not occupied.





A British look but, to me, still a Spanish feel as most speak Spanish. There is no VAT, so people cross in to gas up and buy stuff.  


Now back to Spain...




Oct. 30, Su, Malaga


Málaga's history spans about 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. It was founded by the Phoenicians as Malaka about 770 BC, and from the 6th century BC was under the hegemony of Ancient Carthage. Then from 218 BC it was ruled by the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire as Malaca (Latin). After the fall of the empire it was under Islamic Arab domination as Malaqah for 800 years under the Caliphate of Cordoba, the Umayyad dynasty and the kingdom ruled by the Zirids. In 1487 it came under the dominion of the Spaniards in the Reconquista. The internationally acclaimed painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso, actor Antonio Banderas and professional golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez were born in Málaga.


Last day, returned car at airport with Cristhy and Melody going back to Ireland. Had a full day to explore as my flight was at midnight.



To find my way back, my technique was to shoot landmarks as I go through circuitous blocks and alleys.







Kids looked perplexed as the "headless" man talked to them, and later gave them candies.






Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación, 1528


I lucked out and was able to attend the Sunday mass at 1pm.




At the back of the Cathedral is a small plaza with shops and restaurants.




The birthplace of Pablo Picasso






With heavy security, could not buy a shot inside Museo Picasso, so just chilled out at the plaza bench with the master.


Alcazaba and Teatro Romano

Alcazaba was a Moorish fortification built mid-11th century. Ruins of Roman Theatre date back to 2 BC.








Atop the Alcazaba, a view of Malaga harbor.



Enjoying paella and Mahou beer, the parent company of San Miguel


Brods, keep your eyes on the beer and the glass...


Man, I said keep your eyes on the beer !!


Ok dorbs, lumampas na. Cheers ulit !




Taking the bus up to Castillo de Gibralfaro, an ancient Moorish castle-fortress. 






This is the highest point of Malaga overlooking the Mediterranean





Walking back to Estacion Zambrano to get my backpack in the locker and take the train to Estacion Aeropuerto



My return trip from Malaga-Madrid-Newark-Houston-LA took 23 hours to complete


"Home sweet home" with some pasalubong - mazapan, chocolates and truffles from Spain.





As I said in the beginning, this second trip to Europe in the same year, in Oct. 2011 (after Eastern Europe in May), was totally unexpected. The invite from my eldest sister Melody Bituin-O'Toole to join her and her husband Cristhy in her timeshare in Costa del Sol was too good to pass up. With the fine accommodations at Club Marbella in the resort city of Mijas, a municipality of Malaga, and my sister paying half my airfare, it was a no-brainer. On top of it, Spain has just so much to offer and the sights and its culture so rich and varied, it has become my favorite country to revisit ever since my family's first trip to Madrid and Toledo in 2004.


For a three-peat, anyone up to running with the bulls in the streets of Pamplona?!!



Three-peat in Pamplona?


Pardon my amateur photoshop, but I already see some brods going for the challenge. Tabets talaga!!




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