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Archive for March, 2019

The Camino de San Ignacio, also known as the Ignatian Way, recreates the route that Ignatius of Loyola took in 1522, when he left his home in Loyola and walked all the way to Monserrat and Manresa. The almost month-long pilgrimage changed his life, with his subsequent religious achievements changing the world. Nowadays, people closely follow this important route consisting of 27 stages through 5 regions, with the hope of finding themselves spiritually, learning more about the history or to simply have fun. Below we have outlined all the details of each stage of this spiritual journey, as well as information about the most important destinations and monuments along the way!

Through EUSKADI

Stages 1-6: Loiola > Laguardia (126km)

1) Loiola – Zumarraga, 17.5km

2) Zumarraga – Arantzazu, 19.5km

3) Arantzazu – Araia, 17.7km

4) Araia – Alda, 21.5km

5) Alda – Genevilla, 23.3km

6) Genevilla – Laguardia, 27km

 The Ignatian Way begins here in Loyola, a town nestled among the hills in Spain’s Basque region. It is also the birthplace of St Ignatius, who is now one of world and religious history’s most important figures. Here you will visit the Sanctuary of Loyola, which consists of the Loyola family Tower House and the basilica. The house falls within the sanctuary’s limits and nowadays hosts a little museum showing Saint Ignatius’s family’s life, and its most famous person, Saint Ignatius. The basilica, which also forms part of the Sanctuary, was built in Baroque style with a circular floor plan and a 65 meter high dome, designed by the Italian architect Carlo Maria Fontana. It is one of the most representative examples of contemporary Basque art.

sanctuary of loyola

the Sanctuary of Loyola

family tower house

the Loyola Family Tower House 

Through LA RIOJA

Stages 7-11: Laguardia > Alfaro (108.6km)

7) Laguardia – Navarrete, 19.6km

8) Navarrete– Logroño, 13km

9) Logroño – Alcandre, 31km

10) Alcandre-Calahorra, 21km

11) Calahorra – Alfaro, 24km

 On the way to Logroño, you will pass through the town of Navarrete, in the region of La Rioja, to visit the impressive Asunción church. The parish church of Navarrete is a Renaissance building of considerable magnitude, whose construction lasted for nearly a century. The main attraction is the altarpiece, which is now considered the most spectacular altarpiece in La Rioja due to its richness and stunning decoration.
Logroño is a city rich in history and traditions, which have been preserved since the middle ages. the river Ebro passes through the city and can be crossed via two bridges that connect Logroño with Navarre and Alava, the oldest of them being the Puente de Piedra. Places worth a visit in Logroño are also the Palacio de los Marqueses de Legarda, Palacio de los Chapiteles, the Museum of La Rioja and Santa María de Palacio, the oldest church in the capital of La Rioja, which dominates the city’s skyline with its gothic spire.

santa maria del palacio

Santa María del Palacio

On reaching Calahorra, pilgrims should take a visit to the beautiful Santa Maria Cathedral. This gothic cathedral dates back to the 15th century and having been in construction for 200 years, it therefore consists of various styles as it was influenced by different eras. Other things to see include a Roman arch and the Church of San Andrés from the 16th century in the Muslim old town, and the Church of Santiago in Plaza del Raso, the finest example of La Rioja’s neoclassic style.

Through NAVARRA

Stages 12-13: Alfaro > Gallur (61km)

12) Alfaro – Tudela, 23km

13) Tudela – Gallur, 38km

 In Tudela, the main monuments to visit are the cathedral and the church. Declared a National Monument in 1884, the Cathedral of Santa Maria was built in the twelfth century over the town’s main mosque. It is worth stopping to take a look at its three doorways, the most spectacular one being on the main façade, known as the door of the Day of Judgement. Having been totally restored over the last few years, visitors are able to enter the light-filled central nave in Gothic style and its magnificent chapels and altarpieces. The Church of la Magdalena is also a national monument that still retains one of the few Romanesque towers you can see in Navarre.

Through ARAGON

Stages 14-20: Gallur > Fraga (176.8km)

14) Gallur – Alagón, 23km

15) Alagón – Zaragoza, 31km

16) Zaragoza – Fuentes de Ebro, 29km

17) Fuentes de Ebro – Pina de Ebro, 12km

18) Pina de Ebro – Bujaraloz, 37km

19) Bujaraloz – Candasnos, 21km

20) Candasnos – Fraga, 23.8km

 When passing through Zaragoza, the most important monument for pilgrims to see here is the Our Lady of Pilar Church. It is the dynamic centre of life in the city, with hundreds of visitors passing through its doors every day to attend mass or pray in the shrine’s chapel. Inside, a Roman-style pillar is topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus that dates from the fifteenth century.  It is housed in a chapel of marble, jasper, and gilded bronze that forms almost a church-within-a-church. Outside the basilica lies the largest pedestrian plaza in Spain, a picturesque expanse lined with cafes and fountains and the site of frequent musical performances, festivals, and other public events.

our lady of pilar church

Our Lady of Pilar Church

 

Through CATALUNYA

 Stages 21-27: Fraga > Manresa (183.7km)

 21) Fraga – Lleida, 33km

22) Lleida – El Palau d’Anglesola, 22.7km

23) El Palau d’Anglesola – Verdú, 24.7km

24) Verdú – Cervera, 16km

25) Cervera – Igualada, 37km

26) Igualada – Montserrat, 26.8km

27) Montserrat –Manresa, 23.5km

 In Lleida, the Old Cathedral is undoubtedly the city’s most distinctive landmark. According to historians, construction began in 1203 on the site of a Muslim mosque and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. With a three-nave Latin cross basilica layout, it was consecrated for worship in 1278 and is designed in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. It also features a bell tower which offers wonderful views of the city.

old cathedral of lleida

Old Cathedral of Lleida

 

Once you arrive at Montserrat Monastery, you will see an indescribable view all the way to Barcelona. The mountain Montserrat has been of religious significance since pre-Christian time. Before Christ, it was a temple to worship Venus was built by the Romans. Many of the tourists come here only because of the statue of the Black Madonna, who is the patron saint of Catalonia. The 12th-century figure is enthroned above the high altar in the basilica of the monastery. In her honour the “Escolania de Montserrat”, consisting of about 50 choirboys from the boarding school of the monastery church sings songs daily.

montserrat

Montserrat Monastery in Montserrat Mountain

the black madonna

the Black Madonna

The final 23 kilometres of the route are the last physical challenge for the pilgrim before arriving at the long-awaited cave of Saint Ignatius in Manresa. Ignatius of Loyola came down to Manresa on foot and spent eleven months here. It was an important turning point in his life, and his privileged place of prayer was the Cave. It is a cavity over the river Cardener, excavated by the fluvial erosion during the Tertiary.  The building of the Cave has experienced transformations for over 300 years, however at the moment its image, together with the Basilica of la Seu of Manresa, represents the icons of the city.  Nowadays, the Cave has become an international centre for Ignatian spirituality and welcomes visitors from all over the world who make stops for meditation, education and Spiritual Exercises.

cave and basilica manresa

the Cave of San Ignacio and the Basilica

inside cave

Inside the Cave of San Ignacio

ignaciano route

Map highlighting importing stages of route

 

If you are interested in learning more about Spain’s rich culture and fascinating history, do not forget to subscribe to our Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog to see more posts!

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In 711 the Moors crossed the Gibraltar strait and came to Hispania, conquered the Iberian Peninsula and for almost eight centuries the Muslims govern the area (except for Asturias and Galicia). During these years the Islam was a wide spread religion across Spain. Due to the Islam influence today we can find several cities, sites and places inspired by Islamic heritage.

The heart of the Muslim empire was in southern Spain which is nowadays called Andalusia. The name of the area also comes from the Arabic term Al-Andalus, which means Muslim Spain and which was the name of the occupied territory.

The Islamic period preserves a rich and varied heritage, especially during the Almohad Caliphate period in the 12th century. In this time Seville or earlier Isbiliya become in the capital city of Al-Andalus and several other city in the area strengthened and gain potency.

The almost eight hundred year of conquering of the country not only brought few beautiful mosques and book to Spain but several much more.

  • Gastronomy

One of the biggest influences of the Muslim occupation was on the cuisine, a tradition which fortunately continues today. The gastronomic costumes have survived for over thousands years and still part of the everyday Spanish life.

When the Moors came to Spain brought several new type of fruits and spices and when settled down they have started to plant the plough fields. Many of these products are the basic ingredients of today’s Spanish cuisine and include most spices and produces such as saffron, apricots, melons, artichokes, eggplant, carob, sugar, aubergines, grapefruits, carrots, coriander and rice.

spices

Different type of spices used in the Spanish kitchen

However, the Moors not only brought ingredients but several typical dishes and cooking methods to the Iberian Peninsula. One of the most famous and well – known dish in Spain, which can best symbolises the Spanish cuisine, the Paella comes from the Muslim ages. The main ingredients of this typical food are rice and saffron which weren’t known in Hispania before the Moor occupation. However, we should also mention other excellent platters such as the Arroz con Leche (Rice pudding), Pinchito Moruno Andaluz (a dish normally made with chicken, saffron, cumin and coriander), salt crusted baked fish and several other.

In today’s Spanish kitchen a favoured cooking method which is also due to the Moorish occupation is to coat different vegetables and fishes in flour and then fry it in oil. Another really important method is to salt fishes or vegetables and soak them in vinegar for a long time. A typical example for this is the Boquerones en Vinagre which means anchovies in vinegar.

 

food

Paella Valenciana (in the middle) and other different typical Spanish food       (Tortilla de Patatas, Pimiento Padrón, Jamón Ibérico, Croquetas, Queso Curado)

  • Architecture

The Islamisation of Spain transformed their socio-cultural and economic structures from poverty and darkness into prosperity and enlightenment. This has brought certain advantages in the architecture and art. Several region in Spain but especially Andalusia started to evolve and produced some of the world’s most fascinating architectural monuments including a number of palaces, mosques and gardens. They have started to achieve heights with stretching the buildings as well using new ornaments such as the horseshoe and multifoil arches. These new innovations are well visible in the Great Mosque of Cordoba, Al-Zahra (is the ruins of a vast, fortified Moorish medieval palace-city) or in the Alhambra Palace in Granada.

mosqeu cordoba

The inside part of the Great Mosque of Cordoba

alhambra

The Alhammbra Palace in Granada

  • Universities

The earliest universities in Europe, the madrasas or Islamic universities have been created from the 11th century. The first madrasas that was opened in Al-Ándalus was the University of Malaga and later several other cities such as Granada and Zaragoza opened their own universities. From the beginning up until the 16th century the teaching language was Arabic and the universities were dedicated to medicine. Only Cordoba, which in that times was the centre of culture, arts and the empire had three universities, 80 schools and a library with 700,000 manuscripts.

madrasa

Madrasa de Granada

  • Language and Vocabulary

Since Hispania was under Moor occupation for more than 800 hundred years the language also has been influenced by the ancient Arabic language. The current Spanish language is a result of the evolution of the ancient Castellan and Mozarabic languages. Several words and phrases comes from the Arab and a good example is Andalusia which was the heart of the Moor Empire and the name was in the era Als-Andalus. But we can find more than hundred Arabic origin words in the language. Just to mention a few: aceite (oil), zanahoria (carrot), naranja (orange), almohada (pillow) and so much more.

book

Book with Arabic writing

  • Islamic heritage routes across Spain

Ruta de al-Mutamid

The Route of al-Mutamid starts in Lisbon and embraces the south west cost of the Iberian Peninsula up until Seville. The original route goes through in 11 cities and offers a mix of Islamic heritage sites, gorgeous monuments and natural beauties including Sagres which is the most south western point in Europe, Albufeira, one of the most famous holiday site in Portugal, Huelva, Seville which is the home of several beautiful Islamic heritage monuments and several other fascinating cities and sites.

Ruta de al-Mutamid

The map of the Route of al-Mutamid

albufeira

The coast of Albufeira

Ruta del Califato

The Caliphate Route is an Islamic heritage route combining historical – monumental heritage with beautiful landscapes and great attractions. The path goes in the southern part of Spain, in Andalucía from Cordoba to Granada. During the way travellers will go through in three provinces: Cordoba, Jaen and Granada and can enjoy the main attractions of the way. Some of them are the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the Sierra de Moclín natural park, Alhambra Palace in Granada.

Ruta del Califato

The map of the Ruta del Califato

sierra de moclin

The Sierra de Moclin natural park

Ruta de los Almoravides y los Almohades

The Ruta de los Almoravides y los Almohades is a 400 km long path runs through in the province of Malaga and Cadiz in the south part of Spain. This cultural route begins in Tarifa, a south close to the Gibraltar and runs up until Granada. The tour uncover coasts, countryside, mountains, towns and cities in the area. Visitors can discover magnificent landscapes, legendary monuments and castles, traditions and heritage during the way. The tour ends in Granada, which gives home for several important Islamic heritage sites such as the Alhambra which is UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984.

Ruta de los Almoravides y los Almohades

The map of the Ruta de los Almoravides y los Almohades

cadiz

The city of Cadiz

If you get interested for the Islamic heritage, Spanish cuisine, fascinating architectures and history of Spain our Islamic Heritage packages are the perfect for you! For further information feel free to contact us!

map islamic heritage

Map of the cities which are home of several important Islamic heritage sites

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Honeymoon or in Spanish so called “Luna de Miel” is one of the most eagerly-awaited once in a lifetime vacation thus everybody is seeking for an unforgettable experience during this time. Whether you’ve dreamed of a beach honeymoon or lusting for exotic escapes, after months of planning you and your couple are awaiting for a luxurious, all – inclusive resort. We rounded up the 5 most luxurious hotels across Spain so you can start to organise your well – deserved post wedding holidays.

1.Hotel W – Barcelona

The hotel W is located in the cost of the city in the Barceloneta so it offers the best views of Barcelona’s shoreline. The hotel is designed by the world famous architect Ricardo Bofill and nowadays one of the most emblematic building in the city. In the hotel you can find Spain’s first Bliss Spa, a restaurant on the second floor with unparalleled views of the city, a rooftop bar and several different facilities specialised for honeymooners. As well couples will love the view of the city and the see, from the rooftop and all of the rooms and suites.

Hotel W Barcelona

Hotel W – Barcelona

w suite

WOW Suite – Suite

2. Hotel Alfonso XIII. – Seville

If you are looking for a honeymoon surrounded with history than the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, is the perfect choice for you. This historic building has been built in the 20th century to accommodate international dignitaries at the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Nowadays it is one of the most romantic and luxurious hotel in Andalucía. Visitors can find 3 restaurants, spa, outdoor swimming pool and a lounge. As well the hotel offers special honeymoon suites for their guests.

sev

Hotel Alfonso XIII. – Seville

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Grand Deluxe Room

3. Princesa Yaiza Suite hotel resort – Lanzarote

This great luxury hotel is located in the town of Yaiza in Lanzarote, and has a 5 star category. The Hotel Princesa Yaiza Suite Resort offers six different pools, one of them is a freshwater pool, to live new experiences. All of its rooms are elegant and luxurious with Canarian colonial style.

The hotel also include several first – class restaurant, bars, as well a private golf court. Their spa facilities are excellent for everyone who is seeking for recreation. From several type of massages to different pampering bathes you can find everything in their offers.

lanz

Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel – Lanzarote

lanzsuite

Suite Real

4. Hotel Hacienda Na Xemana – Ibiza

Discover a new way to enjoy your honeymoon in Ibiza. The Hotel Hacienda Na Xemana propose you and your fiancé a luxurious, calm and memorable stay. The La Posidonia Spa is a place dedicated to your physical and spiritual well-being. The hotel invite you to experience a world of sensations, both for the mind and the body. Enjoy the best Ibizan sunset with your love from your room to complete the experience.

infinity pool

Hotel Hacienda Na Xemana – Infinity Pool – Ibiza

ibiza

Suite Na Xamena

5. Hotel María Cristina – San Sebastián

The recently renovated Hotel Maria Cristina was first opened in 1912 and played an important role in the historical and cultural life of San Sebastian. Visitors can experience a highly exquisite hospitality in all around the hotel. The rooms are decorated with a sophisticated range of greys and whites which makes the guest feel the high luxury, tranquillity, style and technology. All of the facilities are offer a sensational variety of services to create an unforgettable stay. During your visit don’t forget to discover the Dry Bar, which is an elegant space where you can enjoy afternoon tea, classic and exclusive cocktails, and a wide variety of traditional Spanish tapas and main courses.

sanseb

Hotel María Cristina – San Sebastián

sanseb2

Terrace Suite

If you want to learn more about Spain’s fascinating places, cultures and traditions, be sure to follow the across Spain travel chronicles blog!

mapa

map locating the above mentioned cities

 

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