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El Escorial Palace

November 1st, 2010

Spain is known foremost for its voyages of conquest and discovery, its literary heroes such as Don Quixote as well as its famous cuisine that has influenced today’s eating habits worldwide. It is also famous for its famous historical sites that have earned the denomination of World Heritage Sites from UNESCO. One such site is the Escorial Palace in northwestern Spain.

The Escorial

The Escorial palace or El Real Monasterio de El Escorial to give it its official name is situated in the arid plains of the Guadarrama mountains, about 28 miles from Madrid, the capital of Spain. Completed in 1584, it was built on the orders of Philip II. It is a vast complex housing a monastery, royal palace, museum, school as well as mausoleum for over 26 Spanish kings and queens since Charles I, the father of Philip II.

The Library

In order to obtain a better idea of the complex, it can be divided into five areas. First, there is the Library built by Charles, the first to house his excellent collection of manuscripts. Succeeding monarchs have added greatly to the collection and now it boasts a total of over 40000 manuscripts.

The Basilica is a marvelous creation of red marble, frescoes, sculptures and works by Velazquez (Joseph’s Tunic) as well as The Last Supper by Titian, all covered by a cupola inspired by that of Saint Peter’s in Rome.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is the burial place of kings. Most Spanish monarchs are buried here with a few exceptions. Recently, in the nineteenth century, an extension known as the Pantheon of the Princes was added where the bodies of the sons and daughters of Spanish kings were interred. With the exception of the Pudridero where the bodies of kings and princes are left to decompose, most of the buildings can be visited by the general public.

La Casa Del Rey

The Palace, also known as the House of the King, is an elaborately decorated building with frescoes of famous battles in Spanish history. Also on display are the rooms where Philip II lived and the bed in which he died.

The Reliquaries

The Reliquaries contain a collection of over 7500 relics of Catholic saints. It is the largest such collection available. They are housed in the specially constructed reliquaries that are placed mainly in the Basilica.

A visit to El Escorial can give the visitor a good idea of the splendor and magnificence of the middle ages when kings ruled over vast dominions and built magnificent monuments to mark their stay on earth and to house their remains when they departed this life.

The Palace is closed every Monday and on all Christian Feast Days as well as on January 1, May 1 and on all Spanish National Holidays such as October 12 and December 6.

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November 1st, 2010

The Kingdom of Spain has seventeen autonomous communities and one of the most eminent is Catalonia (Spanish: Cataluña)

This area covers more than 32 thousand square kilometers of Spain and has a population of more than 7.5 million people. Barcelona is its capital city and it lies between France and Andora; Mediterranean Sea and Valencian Community. It is a multilingual region and the official spoken languages are Spanish, Aranese and Catalan. Catalonia got its name in the 12th century and it is derived from the Spanish word Catalunya which roughly means “Land of Castles”.

Catalonia - land of Contrasts

The climate of Catalonia is very contradictory in its own way. On the coast (Barcelona, Tarragona, Girona) the climate is Mediterranean. The Alpine climate in its harshest form dominates the Pyrenean mountains. Furthermore, it is not strange that Barcelona has hot breezes during summer periods while winters are very cold, especially in the mountain regions. The more central part of Catalonia is hotter in the summer than the borders due to the very consistent inverse air pressure on that side of the peninsula.

Catalonia has a colorful history. This beautiful region was first found and colonized by the ancient Greeks and Carthaginians. After Punic war, Catalonia came under Visigoth rule for centuries. Wars were fought around the peninsula, when around 1440 king Aragon I claimed the crown. Later the area got its name and was known as Catalonia since then.

Catalonia today

The main point of interest in Catalonia is surely Barcelona. It is the most populous city among all the autonomous communities and the whole of Spain after Madrid. This Capital stands as a global city due to its importance in education, politics, media, entertainment, education, etc. Founded as a Roman province, Catalonia has many historical, habitual, cultural and educational values. Barcelona (as the capital of Catalonia) houses the Catalan government, the Catalonian parliament and the Supreme Court of Catalonia.

Catalonia is the place for many visitors and tourists as it has to offer a lot in terms of hospitality and heritage along the vast majority of popular hotels and resorts

Major attractions apart from Barcelona city are Costa Brava (the famous coast of Spain) and Costa Dorada, known as the Golden Coast. It stretches from Costa Brava to Terragona and is full of sandy beaches and very pretty landscapes along with small cities of great cultural value. Last but not the least there is Lleida. It is an inland mountain region famous for Cathedral Seo, which was built in the 12th century.

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Cantabria - a country of great diversity

November 1st, 2010

The name Cantabria comes from the Celtic language and its literary translation is “the people who live in stones.” Cantabria has the largest archaeological sites (from the Paleolithic era) in the world. The most important cave is Al Tamira. This cave and another 9 caves were declared as world heritage sites by UNESCO. The most important cave paintings date back to between 16,000 BC and 9000 BC. The first written document about the existence of Cantabria was made in 195 BC. Since that time, Cantabria was always mentioned in written documents of the Roman Empire. Cantabria’s notorious population was recorded in Greek and Latin texts. Cantabrian people were used as mercenaries. In 30’s BC, Cantabrian war against the Romans started. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Cantabria freed themselves from the Visigoths.

Cantabria is an area of outstanding vegetation and belongs to the so-called Green Spain

The whole area is divided into coast and mountain regions. The climate is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The mountain belt has a high average rainfall. Thanks to the Golf current, climate of this region is milder than expected to be (based on its latitude). Cantabria offers a great variety of landscapes - mountain area is parallel to the sea coast. In the forested Cantabria still live wolves and bears; mountain cliffs are still inhabited by eagles and rivers are still full of trout.

Unique place in Cantabria is the highest mountain peak-Pico De Mares

From here, every drop of rain has equal chances to fall into the Atlantic Ocean, the Cantabrian Sea or the Mediterranean Sea. The totally contrast to the cruel and wild mountains is coastal belt with a lovely fishing villages, beautiful bays and romantic atmosphere with the scent of Mediterranean vegetation. The Mediterranean coastal belt is circa 10 km long. Variety of coastline runs from the steep cliffs to the sandy beach. The coast is marked by the largest bay of Santander and a capital of the same name. Santander is a very active port; the great cultural offer of the city as summer universities and international festivals attract large numbers of tourists annually.
In addition, there are many sports facilities that make this city an exceptional place for vacation. Cantabria has 7 national parks and the most famous is Picos de Europa.

Cantabria due to its unique mixture of climate, vegetation and cultural heritage is exceptional tourist reserve. In addition, it offers unforgettable gastronomic delights that do not leave anybody indifferent.

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November 1st, 2010

A trip to Granada and its vicinity, hundreds of kilometers into the interior of the famous Costa del Sol (Sunshine Coast), completes the experience of visiting Spain. This is a place that opens up for lovers of poetry the possibility of visiting Fuentevaquerosu, the village where Frederico Garcia Lorca was born. Then there is Viznaru, the place where the Spanish Falangist killed the most famous Spanish poet in 1936. The rivers of tourists are flowing to Granada, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain.
Alhambra is a complex of fortresses and buildings that were built in the middle ages first by the Maori invaders and their descendants.

Its full name is Qal’at al-hambre and translation of it is Red Fort. Alhambra is basically a huge complex that spreads on the slopes of Granada. Thus it is one of the most popular tourist destinations throughout Europe. It was named after the red earth from which it was created. Its constructors used red clay for the creation of the whole complex.

”Red Flower”

Alhambra in Granada is full during all seasons round the year. It is with all rights called “red flower” of Andalusia. Moreover, it offers exceptional all-day enjoyment. There are many walls, palaces and gardens that are a pleasure for lovers of antiques.

It was mentioned for the first time as a fortress in the 9th century. However, it gained the appearance we admire today in the 13th century, when it was chosen as the royal residence by the ruling dynasty Nasrid. This beautiful complex was rebuilt in the time of Mohammed II (1273- 1302) and Muhammad III (1302 - 1309).

They also made a channel from the Darr River and built a dozen towers on the city walls that were continuously expanded. The golden age of Alhambra was in the time of the rule of Youssef I (1333 - 1353) and Mohammed V (1353 - 1391), when all the properties were decorated with arabesques and ornaments.

Parts of the Alhambra and its walls were destroyed when Spain was returned to the Catholic rulers. Then it lost part of the valuable historical
buildings which included a mosque. On their foundations palace of Charles V and the Church of St. Mary were built. All of this does not diminish the beauty of Alhambra which is a valuable pearl that preserves the Spanish and Muslim cultural heritage in the territory of Europe.

Palace of Lions

When Mohammed V succeeded his father Youssef I, he completed the construction of the most impressive part of Alhambra - mansions Lions (Palacio de los Leones).

This complex shows all the splendor of Islamic architecture built in the private residence of the royal family; beach, harem and all accompanying objects are decorated with great detail. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and promenades where visitors without professional guides can roam for hours in the labyrinth.

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Beaches in Valencia

November 1st, 2010

This beach is located at the entrance of the Turia River. Many fishermen with their fish meet in this place. The commercial port of Valencia is very near and you can see it from here. This beach has white sand and calm waters. The beach length is 800 M and width 20 M. This beach is very crowded at peak hours. However, this will be of interest to nudists.

La Malvarrosa beach

This beach is located in the Valencia city. The infrastructure for sports on this beach is tremendous. One can play volleyball, beach rugby and practice cycling. This beach is extremely clean and is in good condition. This beach has white sand and moderate waves. The beach length is 2800 M and width 60 M. It is very crowded at peak hours.

L’Arbe del Gos Valencia

This beach is located near the sand dunes of the natural reserve Albufera and is provided with many facilities in addition to a lane for bicycles. It has golden sand and calm waters. The beach length is 2600 M and width 40 M.

La Devesa Valencia

This beach is situated inside the Nature Park Albufera and has dunes that are typical of this region. This is alternatively known as Devesa beach and many people love this beach. Its coastline is clean and has dunes, fine white sand and clean blue waters. It is relatively less crowded because the route to reach this place is not developed. You can either go by car or by foot. Walking is highly enjoyable. This beach has golden sand and moderate waves. The beach length is 4860 M and width 35 M.

El Saler Valencia

This beach is also in the Natural Reserve Albufera and is good for sports lovers. It has gravel sand and moderate waves. The beach length is 6200 M and width 35 M.

Col-Legi Valencia

This beach is situated inside the Nature Park Albufera and tourists rarely visit this beach. It has white sand and calm waters. The beach length is 1000 M and width 30M.

Cabañal-Arenas Valencia

This beach has urban services and has facilities for children’s amusement and sports. It is crowded for most part of the year because of pleasant temperatures. Nightlife here is very good. This beach has golden sand and moderate waves. The beach length is 1200 M and width 60 M.

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Beaches in Barcelona

November 1st, 2010

La Barceloneta is a neighborhood located in the district Ciutat Vella of Barcelona in Spain. During the construction of Ciudadela in Barcelona, a number of persons got displaced and this neighborhood came into being in the 18th century to accommodate these displaced persons.

The discovery channel, in the year 2005, produced a documentary by the title – ‘World’s Best Beaches’ and named the beach at Barceloneta as the world’s best urban beach. Further it is also considered as the third world’s best beach. This beach has also been mentioned in the second volume of the book ‘Don Quixote De La Mancha’.

It is a sandy beach having many nightclubs and restaurants along the boardwalk. The quality of sand on this beach has become a point for criticism in the past few years and WHO has started an inquiry to verify the quality standards of this sand against WHO beach health and safety guidelines. On this beach you can also see the famous monuments ‘Homenatge a la Barceloneta and the sculpture Peix d’Or.

Some of the things you can do in this place are – swimming, windsurfing, kite surfing, sun bathing, etc.

Nova Icaria Beach

This beach is situated very near to the Olympian Port of Barcelona and is always crowded. Small breakwaters separate this beach from other beaches. It has been awarded a blue flag. There is a walkway in the front of the sea and it has restaurants and cabana bars.

The service of various people – lifeguards, local police, Red Cross, etc. are available only during summer. In addition facilities are available for handicapped persons, water craft renting, beach umbrellas, hammocks, parking, etc. You can also practice sailing, jet skiing and windsurfing.

Mar Bella Beach

The length of the Mar Bella beach is roughly 500 M. It is situated along the eastern coastline of Barcelona and it came into existence after the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 when Spain undertook massive urban redevelopment of the coastal areas.

A separate area has been designated on this beach for nudists. There is a volleyball court and area for children to play. Facilities are available for basketball, skating, ping-pong, etc.

Sant Sebastia Beach

This beach is situated in the district Ciutat Vella and is the closest beach to Barcelona. This beach is about 1100 M long and is a traditional beach. This is mostly favored by men and has the highest average age as compared to other beaches. This beach is frequented more by local residents and also foreign tourists.

In addition there are other beaches in Barcelona and these are – Bogatell, Nova Mar Bella and Llevant.

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Welcome to Wordpress blog!

November 1st, 2010

Wordpress - is a content management system (CMS) specifically developed to manage frequently changing content. Wordpress is ideal for creation of web blogs as for example:

  • Personal blog
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  • Writer’s, traveller’s or researcher’s blog
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Wordpress allows publishing of data with typographic filters for proper formatting and styling of text. Publications can be categorized and archived. Internal system of links is optimized for search engines. Static pages can also be created. Wordpress allows for publishing of a group of authors.

The documentation and description of Wordpress can be found here

You can create a personal free blog right now using Informe.com free blog hosting.

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