An Andalusian Experience

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Travel news from Andalusia

NEW MUSEUM FOR IBERIAN ART
An old prison in Jaen will be converted into Spain’s major museum devoted to the art and culture of the Iberians, the original settlers of the Iberian peninsula whose civilization thrived before the arrival of the Romans. A museum specifically devoted to this important chapter of Spanish history is a dream long cherished in Jaen, which has the country’s largest number of Iberian sites. More than 500 ancient Iberian settlements have been identified in the province, and Jaen’s Provincial Museum can only exhibit a fraction of the valuable artefacts unearthed by archeologists.

CITY HOTELS
Andalusia’s largest hotel group, the AlmerIa-based Hoteles Playa, is branching out into a new line of hotels in addition to its holiday establishments in major tourist areas. Hoteles Playa’s Senator hotels will be large facilities centrally located in major towns and cities, and aimed primarily at the business traveler. One of the first will be built in Marbella, on the Costa del Sol, where the chain already has three new hotels aimed at the holiday market.

MALAGA'S MOORISH CASTLE TO REOPEN
The Alcazaba, the main monument in Malaga, will reopen in its entirety after several years of restoration work. Sections of the palace were opened while work was carried out, but now the entire palace will be accessible. Works include a new access via elevator, and a new museum. 

TOP AWARDS FOR HOTEL LA BOBADILLA
The exclusive La Bobadilla resort hotel in Loja (Granada) has recently won two major awards. The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries granted top honours to the hotel’s La Finca restaurant for being the establishment with the best presentation, selection, storage and service of Spanish wines. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences has recognised La Bobadilla as one of the world’s top hotels by granting it its coveted Five Star Diamond Award. The prestigious accolade is awarded after nominated establishments are visited anonymously and evaluated for their ambience, gastronomy, cleanliness and hospitality.

PROTECTION FOR LORCA SITE
The Andalusian regional government has purchased a site in Viznar near Granada connected to the poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, where a small park will be planted. The poet spent his last hours in this spot, known as La Colonia, in an abandoned mill which no longer stands, after he was arrested by insurgents at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. From here, he was taken into the countryside and shot. The spot has since become a place of pilgrimage for the many admirers of the poet around the world.

WINE MUSEUM FOR MALAGA
The Malaga wine appellation region’s governing council will renovate an old palace in the centre of Malaga, the Palacio de Biedmas, to house a museum devoted to the famous sweet wines of the province. Displays will illustrate the history of wine making in Malaga, which stretches back centuries. In the 18th and 19th centuries Malaga’s sweet wines were exported all over the world, and this was one of the first regions in Spain to become an official Denominacion de Origen, or wine making appellation.

SEVILLE MUSEUM REOPENS
Andalusia's major fine arts museum, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Seville, reopened in February 2001 four months after closing for restoration work on the building, a 17th century former convent.

NEW RECORD FOR MALAGA AIRPORT
Malaga International Airport, Andalusia's largest, hit a new record in mid-December with the arrival of passenger number 9 million for the year 2000. 

SIERRA NEVADA IN THE NEWS
Thanks to timely snow falls, the Sierra Nevada winter resort in Granada - the country’s sunniest and most southerly - became the first Spanish ski station to open for the 2000-2001 season in November. The season normally lasts through April. Sierra Nevada also has become the first Spanish ski station to provide on-line booking of lift passes, through its web site, www.sierranevadaski.com. It was also announced that following the season the station will embark on an ambitious 2,200 million peseta plan to renew lifts and artificial snow infrastructure.

ARCHIDONA HOTEL SCHOOL 
The 16th-century Santo Domingo convent in Archidona (Malaga) has been restored to house a new hotel and catering school. Aside from training facilities for hotel and restaurant staff, the historical building will include a working 31-room hotel accommodating guests. 

SAND DUNES RECOVERED
A sweeping plan is being carried out to recover one of the most valuable nature spots in Spain, the sand dunes on the coast of Punta Umbria (Huelva). The project seeks to achieve a balance between the fragile ecosystem and sustainable tourism, for this is one of the most beautiful and popular beach areas in Spain.

LONDON-SEVILLE CONNECTION
Due to the high demand, the British Airways is to double the number of flights between London and the Andalusian capital, Seville.

ANDRES SEGOVIA MUSEUM
A new museum devoted to the great Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia has opened in his home town Linares (Jaen). The museum, which also houses a research center related to the life of the musician, is housed in the restored 17th-century Palacio de los Orozco palace.

5000 YEARS OLD
Cadiz is considered the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe, having been founded by the Phoenicians around 1000 BC, but new finds have pushed its age up another two thousand years. Archeologists have uncovered traces of a Copper Age burial site there.

SPORTING HIGHLIGHTS
The 2003 World Sailing Championship will be held in waters of the Bay of Cadiz between September 13-27 2003. The Andalusian regional government is promoting the hosting of major international competitions such as this one, in view of the success and long-term benefits of past events such as the World Athletic Championship in Seville and the World Alpine Skiing Championship in Sierra Nevada. Other top events to be held in the near future include the World Equestrian Games in Jerez in 2002 and the Mediterranean Games in Almeria in 2005.

NEW WILDERNESS ROUTE
The travel possibilities of the new Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama nature park straddling the provinces of Malaga and Granada have increased with the opening of a new hiking route in the Granada sector of the park. Starting from the village of Fornes, the waymarked circular route covers 15 miles and takes around eight hours to walk 

CRUISE CENTER
The port of Malaga has long been a favorite stop for cruise ships, and now the city is to serve as a starting point for a cruise line, with weekly departures. In 1999 nearly 160,000 cruise passengers arrived in Malaga, and this year the number is expected to reach nearly 250,000, with 384 cruise ships scheduled to call at the port.

ROUTE OF THE CALIPHATE
According to data gathered at 22 information points along the Route of the Caliphate, the historical and cultural itinerary running from Cordoba to Granada, 420,000 visitors have traveled the route since it was instituted. This is the first of a series of itineraries promoted by The Legacy of Al Andalus, an organization which promotes the knowledge of Andalusia’s Moorish past through cultural programs and historical travel routes.

NATURE AREA
The coastal strip between Tarifa and Algeciras on the Strait of Gibraltar, the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula, is to be declared a protected nature park. The 25-mile stretch, much of it covered in cork oak forest, is crucial to migrating bird species which every year make the crossing between Europe and Africa.

MINERAL GIANT
Scientists have discovered a giant geode - a hollow mineral whose interior is filled with crystals - in an abandoned silver mine in Almeria. The geode contains gypsum crystals and is 26 feet long and six feet wide. Geodes are rarely more than one foot in diameter.

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