HOLY WEEK


  HOLY WEEK
Spain is completely transformed during Easter week. Everybody, everywhere, turns out to experience one of Spain’s most traditional events. Don’t miss the chance to come to Spain at this time of year: you’ll be able to share some very special moments.
However, if you’ve never visited Spain during Easter week, then you simply have to come. And even if you already know this famous party, it’s well worth making another trip, as each region of Spain has its own way of celebrating the event.
In Spain, Easter week is celebrated with a great deal of emotion. People take an active role in its events and traditions. All day and night the streets are filled with the beat of the drums, masses of colorful flowers, and the consummate art of religious sculpture.
Easter week is celebrated in every city, town and village in Spain. Nevertheless, there are some cities ( most of them in Andalucía)  that are especially well known for their uniqueness and beauty, and have received the International Tourist Interest designation; some of them are: 
HOLY WEEK IN SEVILLA
Throughout the city thousands of people lined the streets waiting to catch a glimpse of the processions, each of which takes many hours between leaving its parish and returning there after following a set route around the city. Each of over 50 brotherhoods (cofradías) have two floats.
For the ‘costaleros’ who carry the float it’s a once in a lifetime honor to do so as the numbers wishing to be carriers far outnumber the places available. Unfortunately, there have been some years when heavy rain has caused the cancellation of many processions and grown men were left crying in the streets knowing they would never again get the opportunity to be a ‘costalero’. The floats often weigh over 2000kg and it takes many months of practice before the important day. On average there are 40 ‘costaleros’ per float with each one supporting a weight of around 50kg for around 8 hours.
Following the float, penitents are dressed in capes and “CUCURUCHOS” looking head gear. This hides their identity, the meaning being that God is the only one who knows who they are. Easter week is a religious occasion and the mood of each day’s procession changes from the lighting ones on Palm Sunday to the dark ones of Good Friday which depict the crucifixion of Christ and finally the joyous ones of Easter Sunday which celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
The Good Friday processions leave churches at midnight and are carried throughout the night with huge crowds following their every step. A particular highlight of note is around 3am when La Macarena, Seville’s most revered Virgin, reaches the official route.
El Cautivo

Virgen de la Macarena
                       
“PROCESION DE LOS LEGIONARIOS”: MÁLAGA
At midday on Holy Thursday, the legionaries bring shouldered the “Christ of Mena” from the port of Malaga towards the Church of Santo Domingo. Thousands of people are waiting for hours his entrance. In addition, the armed forces are the one who carry the image just as a symbol of protection.  
It is impressive and one of the most exciting moments of the Easter week, since cornets sound while the silence is startling while, in fact, everybody waits for his arrival. Then, after the sound of the “Bridegroom of Death”, Malaga break into applause.

“PROCESION DE LAS TURBAS”: CUENCA
At dawn on Holy Friday, the procession called “Camino Del Calvario” begins which consists of five steps. Nazarenes of all brotherhoods meet to stage through bugles out of tune and noisy drums the taunts that Jesus suffered in his way to the crucifixion.

“LOS SALZILLOS”: MURCIA
On Holy Friday, nine brotherhoods go through the streets as well as an additional parade called the “Promises” formed mainly by devout citizens. This procession is called “Los Salzillos” due to the sculptor Francisco Salzillo, who was the one that built the images during s. XVIII.  In addition, they go barefoot the whole procession.

“PROCESION DEL YACENTE”: ZAMORA
This brotherhood was founded in 1941 to worship the image of Christ Recumbent, which had been found abandoned in the Church of the Conception. That said, the procession starts at 23 pm on Holy Thursday. Jesus’ body is simply covered with a shroud and is led to the sepulcher accompanied by brothers in complete silence and a mild drumming.

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CARNIVAL IN SPAIN


CARNIVAL IN SPAIN: HAPINESS, ORIGINALITY AND RYTHYM
Carnival in Spain is known for its amazing costumes and masks; although it is not as impressive as in Venice or Brazil it is surely worth seeing. People of all ages participate and enjoy, even those with little resources. Participants dress up according to their possibilities and imagination and take to the streets to celebrate both night and day; crazy days in which nothing is what it seems and anyone can become into whoever or whatever they have always dreamed about.  In addition, there are parades, troupes, contests for the best costume and street theatres. This celebration ends on Ash Wednesday with the Entierro de la Sardina tradition. The Burial of the Sardine is a parody of a funeral in which the sardine is buried, symbolically marking the farewell to life’s pleasures and the arrival of Lent.
Nevertheless, the most celebrated Carnival event in Spain takes place in the southern part; such as Cadiz, and the Canary Islands; Tenerife and Las Palmas De Gran Canaria. They are broadcast on national television, attracting thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Although in our region carnival is not as known as in the southern part, you can find lots of parades and contests. In Castilla-La Mancha Carnival is very widely celebrated in those towns near Ciudad Real; in Alcázar de San Juan, Madridejos or Herencia. We are going to talk about Carnival in Villafranca de los Caballeros , which is close to Madridejos; 1 hour away from Torrijos.

                   
 CARNIVAL IN VILLAFRANCA DE LOS CABALLEROS
There, in Villafranca, Carnival is hold in a very intense way. The weekend previous to the “Ash Wednesday” the party begins. On Saturday morning, people go out to the street, they have lunch with their friends until the sun sets. Then, people go to their houses to change clothes and go out later. Next day, on Sunday, after having spent a funny day with friends; in the morning there is a contest known as “MASCARITAS”, in which people of different ages get costumed and have a good morning; after this, families have lunch together and, later, they go altogether to see the Carnival parade; where there are several prizes: three for local groups and three for foreign groups.
The first prize for local groups this year went to EUPHORIA DANCE, a group of “funky dance” in which I myself got costumed. And the first prize for foreign groups went to LAS HURÍES, a group from Quintanar de la orden. 

CARNIVAL IN SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE
It is, without a doubt, the most “Brazilian” of all the Spanish carnivals, and it is famous all over the world for its originality year after year. For fifteen days, the streets of the city come alive with freedom, extravagance and rhythm.

The gala to elect the Carnival Queen is held on the Wednesday of the first week. In this spectacular competition, all the candidates parade on a square stage wearing the most fantastic costumes, which can weigh more than a hundred kilos!

 Once the queen has been elected, the parade announcing the start of the Carnival takes place on the Friday, where thousands of people and musical groups fill the streets in a multi-colored chain of happiness. Over the three next days, the city organize different carnival groups perform. In fact, lyrics of the songs are not usual since they use social and political themes as their subject, but always with humor!
 
CARNIVAL IN CADIZ
In February, Cadiz becomes a big party. It’s carnival time!
You can hear carnival music in any corner of the city, and the last touches are put to the fancy-dress costumes (in Cadiz they are known as tipos), some of them real works of art. The locals put their hearts and souls into what is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the city, and perhaps the most fun-filled and entertaining of all the Spanish carnivals.
Compared with the spectacular nature of other carnival celebrations, the light-hearted fun and entertainment of the Carnival of Cadiz makes it a unique party which is well worth getting to know.
And there is no lack of other events during this time to ensure that the days of Carnival in Cadiz are complete.
The costume is the real king of the carnival. It is almost obligatory to wear fancy dress, above all on the first Saturday of the carnival.
http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/default/2011/03/03/00121299138918369924172/Foto/E_110303-074849.jpghttps://i.ytimg.com/vi/pNO1cMz4BkA/maxresdefault.jpgThe whole city is involved. This is a perfect time to get to know it and to enjoy the inventiveness and sense of fun of the people of Cadiz. You can’t lose it!

SALAMANCA


SALAMANCA
Salamanca is an important city of Spain, and it is located in the south-west of Castilla y León; 800 metres above the sea level it is built on three hills by the right shore of the river “Tormes”
Salamanca is a very ancient city which remains dating back in the Paleolithic, Celtic and Romanic ruins. It was conquered by the Arabs and it was rebuilt in the XIIth  century.
Salamanca stands out mainly because of its University, which was the first in Spain, the ancient cathedral and also the modern one, the Roman bridge, the house of shells or the Main Square. We can also find many other important Romanic and gothic monuments and Arabic architecture.
SALAMANCA CATHEDRAL
The St Maria’s Cathedral is one of the two cathedrals of Salamanca and it is usually known as the old one. It was founded by a bishop in the XIIth century. Bearing in mind Salamanca´s border role, the cathedral was used as fortress. However, the towers disappeared and nowadays it is considered as a Christian temple. 
 On the other hand, Asuncion de la Virgen´s Cathedral, the new one, was built next to the other. It is a mixture of several styles and it´s the second biggest cathedral in Spain. The main reason of its construction was the increase of the population in Salamanca as the university attracted many students. Therefore, the old one was seen as small and dark, so King Fernando el Católico ordered several architects to build this last one. 
HOUSE OF SHELLS 
It was built at the end of the XV century by an important knight, who was a member of the order of Santiago. It is a mixture of gothic, Moorish and Italian styles, which in fact, looks amazing. This palace is decorated with 300 scallop shells! Some people say they are either a symbol of love or a decorative one to the outside. Nevertheless, other believe they referred to the Order of Saint James. Today, the House of the Shells is the Public Library of Salamanca.
ROMAN BRIDGE
The roman bridge is really famous in Salamanca. It stands 356 meters over the Tormes River. It was reconstructed in the 17th century since it was damaged by a huge flooding.  Moreover, the bridge is very large, about 192 m long, but it was even longer before being destroyed. Finally, it forms part of the Silver Roman road that linked Merida with Astorga, cities of Extremadura and León.
SALAMANCA UNIVERSITIES

Salamanca University
Salamanca is mainly known because of its university tradition. Here, in Salamanca, you can find two different universities, a public one and the pontifical one which depends on the church.
Salamanca University, which was the first in Spain, is located in the most ancient universitarian area of Spain and is the only one which is nowadays still in use.
Both universities count with a university population of 32000 students, which make Salamanca the University City par excellence in Spain and Europe. But Salamanca is more than a university, Salamanca has a great historical legacy; as the first Spanish grammar or the first universitarian woman.
 
At the end of the first term of the school year, at Christmas, is typical the “Universitarian New Year”. This is a party in which the under graduates eat the 12 lucky grapes a few days before they return their homes to spend Christmas holiday.

GALICIA


GALICIA 

Galicia is located in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula, its geographical location is known as “finis terrae”, the most western region of Europe. Galicia is composed of the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra.
 
Galicia is known because of its wonderful quality and variety of products from the sea and the countryside. It has a wide coastline surrounded by the Cantabrian sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Galicia’s most characteristic elements are “las rías”, fluvial valleys covered by the sea. It can be distinguished “Las Rias Baixas” and “las rias altas”.
The climate in Galicia is a mixture between Mediterranean and Oceanic climates, it is characterized by abundant rains.
One important tip if you come to Galicia: BRING YOUR RAIN BOOTS.
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Since thousands of years, El Camino de Santiago has led pilgrims as far as the sanctuary of one of Christendom’s apostles: Santiago cathedral is the last stop on the pilgrims’ journey. It was built in 1075 during the reign of Alfonso VI.
CÍES ISLANDS
They are an impressive paradise in northern Spain where you can enjoy the combination of nature and sea. They were chosen as one of the best in the world, so come and see for yourself! Beaches with white sand, a transparent with a large variety of fish, stunning landscapes… There are three islands, and you’ll find them in the Rías Baixas estuary in Galicia, opposite the coast of Vigo.

Their peace and calm are further qualities that make these islands so outstanding. Hundreds of people visit them, therefore, to avoid mass tourism, access to visitors is limited.
Here you can do many sporting activities, such as hiking, furthermore, there are great routes where you can discover the forests, some observatories, wonderful cliffs… Scuba diving and sailing can also be practiced. To sum up, come and visit them, you`ll not be disappointed.
GALICIA’S GASTRONOMY
You can´t come to Galicia and don´t taste its dishes. Galicia is near to the sea, so its gastronomy is caractericed by its variety and quality, specially dishes made by seafood, now, I am going to show some of the most important ones:
“Pulpo a la gallega”( a very simple dish to eat as a snack)
“Vieiras gallegas”

Madrid

MADRID

Madrid is the capital city of Spain, and it’s located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula.
It’s a cosmopolitan city which combines the most modern buildings a huge cultural heritage, legated from years of thrilling history.

In Madrid you can find different kinds of entertainment: There are some museums such as Reina Sofia, Thyssen and the most important one, El Prado. You can also see some historical buildings such as “El Palacio Real”. If you go to Madrid a visit to the emblematic parks and squares such as the “Plaza Mayor” and “El Retiro” is a must.
THE CENTER OF MADRID: “PUERTA DEL SOL”

La Puerta Del Sol is one of the most popular and busiest places in Madrid. This is the center of the radial network of Spanish roads, that is, it shows the km 0. Moreover, it contains the famous clock which marks the traditional eating of the twelve grapes in New Year.

El Oso y El Madroño”


It is the most famous symbol of Madrid and it has been the emblem of the city from the middle Ages. It is a 20 ton statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree.


“EL RETIRO”
El Retiro is the most important park in Madrid since it was opened in 1868. Here, there are many zones to visit and activities to enjoy with; since going for a walk to have a nice trip on boat.
Here, you can find different zones or areas, the busiest one is THE POND , were you can rent a boat to go for a rowing trip in the pond with your friends or, as it’s very typical, with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

“LA GRAN VÍA”

Gran Vía, without any doubts is the most important street of Madrid, where you can find many people at any time of the day. Some time ago, when it was full of cinemas and theatres, it was known as Madrid’s Broadway.

PRADO MUSEUM

The Prado Museum is the most important museum not only of Madrid, but also of Spain. It was founded by King Ferdinand VII in 1819. Here we can find the largest collection of Velázquez, Goya and Rubens in the world. It includes several of the great masterpieces of European painting, such as “El caballero de la mano en el pecho” by El Greco, Velázquez’s Meninas, and “The Second of May 1808” by Goya.
It also includes collections of ancient sculpture, decorative arts, drawings, photographs…

          

SEVILLE – Sevilla

One of the most Spanish cities, if any, is the city of Seville. With its architecture combines Arabic and Christian styles and characterizes the Andalusian region. Sevilla is the city of festivals, tapas, flamenco and bullfighting, but also is a romantic and mysterious city.

LA GIRALDA
The Giralda tower is the most emblematic monument of Seville. It is the minaret of the old mosque over which the Cathedral was built. It was considered one of the tallest towers in the world. This Minaret was constructed by the arabs between and reaches a height of 76 metres.
THE CATHEDRAL
Let us build a church so big that those who see it will think us mad’, that is what the cathedral chapter decided in 1401 when the former mosque of Seville had to be knocked down. It is one of the last Spanish Gothic cathedrals, and the Renaissance style is already evident there. Its impressive size makes it the third largest in the Christian world, after Saint Peter’s in Vatican City and Saint Paul’s in London.
FERIA DE SEVILLA
 Seville April Fair is a huge annual event on the extensive list of festivals taking place in the city. The fair officially begins on Monday at midnight, normally 2 weeks after Holy Week, and ends with a fireworks display the following Sunday, again, at midnight. As well as flamenco the other main themes of the party are horses and bullfighting in what is such a classic Spanish affair. Seeing the local girls at the Fair in their colorful flamenco dresses it is easy to understand his attraction.

GRANADA

Granada is a province of Andalucia, where you can enjoy doing lots of things with a great climate at any time of the year. In this article you can find the different touristic landmarks of the city:

IMPORTANT BUILDINGS:

“LA  ALHAMBRA”, “THE EIGHT WONDER OF THE      WORLD”.

It is considered human heritage. Moreover, it is the most characteristic monument of the city as well as one of the most visited in Spain.

It is an Arabic and spectacular building. The set is a remarkable construction: no facade, no center, no a particular axis. Buildings, towers, palaces, courtyards and gardens are happening naturally.

You can watch a video in the following link: http://www.granadatur.com/page/63-    

ARABIC BATHS
-From the street we can appreciate the door of these wonderful and well-conserved Arabic baths from the XIth century, the “bañuelo” has been also known as “Aammim Alyawza” (Baños del Nogal). It’s close to “La Alhambra”.-“El Bañuelo” from Granada is one of the few places which could survive after the destruction of the Catholic Monarchs because it had the same importance for Christians as brothels.

-In 1918 it was declared National Monument and it was restored by the architect Torres Balbás 
-Its ground is rectangular and it has concrete walls, and covering the different rooms there are brick baults with octagonal skylights by start shape to illuminate them. 

SIERRA NEVADA
It is a mountain range located in the penibetic massif system and which reaches the provinces of Granada and Almeria. -Sierra Nevada is worldwide well-known due to the ski-resort it possesses. Moreover, you can enjoy the amazing views while you practice sports or enjoy the nature.
On the one hand, as for the ski-resort, ski is not the only sport you can practice. For instance, the most experienced skiers can go snowboarding, mountain bike and even paragliding over the mountains. 
On the other hand, you can enjoy the nature by going down through cliffs and rivers. That said, some people try to get to the highest peak in Spain, the “Mulhacén” (3482m), through a touristic route. Therefore, you would be able to make out the African continent and lots of endemic species.