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Max Abroad : The Best of Spain

Quite simply writing about the best things Spain has to offer and anything that might crop up along the way. Spain is a lot more than just sun, sand and sea...

Antoni Gaudi - a brief history - (updated)
Thursday, May 30, 2013

Antoni Gaudí is one of the outstanding figures of Catalan culture and international architecture. He was born in Baix Camp (Reus, Riudoms), but it was in Barcelona that he studied, worked and lived with his family. It is also in the city that we find most of his work. He was first and foremost an architect, but he also designed furniture and objects and worked in town planning and landscaping, amongst other disciplines. In all those fields he developed a highly expressive language of his own and created a body of work that speaks directly to the senses.

Gaudí spent most of his professional career building the Expiatory Church of La Sagrada Família, He received the commission in late 1883 and it occupied his whole life. He did other work there, such as the Provisional Schools of La Sagrada Família (1909), and the construction of the workshop, where he worked with models and photographs, and where for his final years he went there to live to keep a closer eye on the work. 

In 1910 Güell promoted an exhibition of Gaudí's work at Le Grand Palais in Paris, It had a certain international echo, which reached as far as the United States and introduced him to the architect Sullivan (Chicago School). 

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was born on 25 June 1852 and baptised the following day at the church of Sant Pere in Reus, the city where he spent his childhood. He was the son of a coppersmith from Riudoms, from whom he learned the trade, and from 1860 to 1869 he studied at the Escolapian School in Reus, where he distinguished himself in geometry and arithmetic and received a traditional religious and humanistic education. As a boy he suffered from an illness that forced him to spend long periods resting at the family home in Riudoms. He took advantage of the opportunity to observe nature, which was to be a reference point throughout his life. At that time he did a number of drawings to illustrate the manuscript magazine El Arlequín, which published ten issues of twelve copies each. In 1869 Antoni Gaudí moved to Barcelona and enrolled as a free student at the Middle School to follow the elements of physics and natural history courses. He went on to the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Barcelona and, from 1873, prepared the entrance exam for the Barcelona Province School of Architecture, at the Llotja in Barcelona, where he obtained the official architect's diploma in 1878. 

He did a number of jobs for La Obrera Mataronense, the first workers cooperative company in Spain. At the same time, to pay for his studies he worked as a draughtsman for the master builder Josep Fontserè, who was landscaping Ciutadella Park at the time. He also wrote a set of notes known as El manuscrit de Reus. 

From 1876 Gaudí worked as a draughtsman for his teacher Leandre Serrallach and, shortly afterwards, with the architect Francesc de Paula del Villar on sketches for the apse and the altar niche at La Mare de Déu de Montserrat, a work which began in 1887.

In 1878, with his architect's diploma, Gaudí received his first official commission from Barcelona Council, to design street lamps part of the urban equipment of the city. At the same time Eusebi Güell's father in law, Antonio López, Marquès de Comillas, commissioned him with the project for the furnishings for the family chapel and vault, near the Palau de Sobrellano, in Comillas (Cantabria). 

He had more work as an architect after 1883, the time when he was working as a draughtsman and associate of the architect Joan Martorell. That was when he was commissioned with the construction of Casa Vicens, Villa El Capricho in Comillas, and the continuation of the work on Expiatory Church of La Sagrada Família was entrusted to him. Shortly afterwards he received the first major commission from Eusebi Güell(a powerful industrialist), his future patron and main customer, which gave him the building of the pavilions at the Güell Estate, followed by Palau Güell, in Carrer Nou de la Rambla.

In 1887 he began to plan the Episcopal Palace in Astorga and the following year the works on the Teresian School in Barcelona. He then built the Casa de los Botines in León and in 1892 worked on a religious building for the Franciscan friars in Tangier, the Catholic Missions of Africa, which he never completed.

One of the last works Gaudí did for the industrialist Eusebi Güell was the building of the church at Colonia Güell, in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, which he began in 1898. In the same year be built Casa Calvet, which won the Barcelona Council annual award, and in 1900 he started the works on Güell Park and the Torre de Bellesguard. At the same time he did a number of religious projects: at Montserrat the First Mystery of Glory of the monumental Rosary, and in Palma the restoration of the cathedral. In 1905 he worked in La Pobla de Lillet on the Artigas Gardens and the Xalet del Catllaràs. And in 1906, when he finished Casa Batlló, he began the building of Casa Milà. He is attributed the preliminary project for a hotel in New York, which was never done.

The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família was his greatest project which began on 19 March 1882, a project by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901). At the end of 1883 Gaudí was commissioned to carry on the works, a task which he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original idea. 

The building is in the centre of Barcelona, and over the years it has become one of the most universal signs of identity of the city and the country. It is visited by millions of people every year and many more study its architectural and religious content. 

It has always been an expiatory church, which means that since the outset, 131 years ago now, it has been built from donations. Gaudí himself said: "The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work of art that is in the hands of God and the will of the people." The building is still going on and could be finished by 2030.

When Gaudí died, the management of the works was taken over by his close associate Domènec Sugrañes, until 1938. Later directors were Francesc de Paula Quintana i Vidal, Isidre Puig i Boada and Lluís Bonet i Garí, all associates of Gaudí, people who knew the master and who directed the works until 1983. After that Francesc de Paula Cardoner i Blanch and then Jordi Bonet i Armengol became director. Since 2012 is Jordi Faulí i Oller who has occupied the post.

In 1930 the bell towers of the Nativity façade were finished and in 1933 the Faith door and the central cypress.

In July 1936, at the time of the military uprising and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, revolutionaries set fire to the crypt, burned the Temporary Schools of La Sagrada Família and destroyed the workshop. At that time the original plans, drawings and photographs were lost, and some of the scale plaster models were smashed. We should point out, however, that since Gaudí's intervention in 1883 and in spite of those acts of vandalism the building of the church has never stopped and has always  respected the will of the architect's original design.

After the Spanish Civil War the construction of La Sagrada Família began again and the church continued to rise slowly. From 1939 to 1940, the architect Francesc de Paula Quintana i Vidal, an associate of Gaudí since 1919, restored the burnt crypt and reconstructed many of the damaged models, which were used to continue the construction according to Gaudí's original idea. 

In 1952 the XXXV International Eucharistic Congress was held in Barcelona, and a number of events were organised in the church on that occasion. The same year the Nativity staircase was built and the façade illuminated for the first time; from 1964 it became permanent by decision of the Barcelona Council. 

The works continued strongly in 1954, when the foundations of the Passion façade were begun, based on the many studies done by Gaudí between 1892 and 1917. After the foundations came the crypt, where in 1961 a museum was opened to explain to visitors the historical, technical, artistic and symbolic aspects of the church. On that façade the four terminations of the bell towers were erected in 1976; they were finished the following year. 

One important date is 1955, when the first "collection" was made, a whole day devoted to collecting funds to pay for the works, an initiative that was maintained in the following years as a way for society to take part in the construction of the church. 

On 19 March 1958, the feast of St Joseph, the sculptural group representing the Holy Family, done by Jaume Busquets, was placed on the Nativity façade. 

From 1978 the foundations of the nave and the crossing were done and the columns, vaults and façades of the main nave and the transepts were erected.

In 2000 the vaults of the central nave and the transept were built and work began on the foundations of the Glory façade. That year, on the occasion of the new millennium, a mass was held inside the church which provided an opportunity to grasp the grandiosity of the work.

In 2001 the central window of the Passion façade was completed with the installation of a stained glass window dedicated to the resurrection, the work of Joan Vila-Grau. The four columns of the centre of the crossing were also finished. 

The figure and work of Gaudí were especially remembered in 2002, when the Barcelona Council promoted International Gaudí Year on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth. La Sagrada Família took part with different events, such as the restoration, removal and opening of the Sagrada Família Temporary Schools as a new exhibition space, or the "Night of Light and Fire", a show held on 1 June which, with its special illumination and a spectacular castle of fireworks, was the highlight of the commemoration. 
Sagrada Familia 1910

Gaudí sought out stimulus for his creations in medieval books, in the gothic art that was then experiencing a renaissance, in illustrations of oriental structures and in the organic shapes of nature. The straight line, rigidity and order in forms was broken with the arrival of Arte Nouveau at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century.

Gaudí was not insensitive to this change, and developed a style of his own. The theoretical writings of Englishman John Ruskin, who in 1853 taught that ornament was the origin of architecture, greatly influenced him. He was also significantly influenced, at a younger age, by Viollet-le-Duc's book on medieval French architecture from the eleventh to the sixteenth centuries, and by books by other authors, such as William Morris.

Gaudí had a bad temper (there is a Catalan saying: "Gent de camp, gent de lamp," which means "People from the country are quick-tempered people"). He said that his bad temper was the one thing he was never able to control in his life. On the other hand, Gaudí took interest in the social problems of the workers, and felt attached to the people. His blonde hair, deep blue eyes, fine features and rosy skin made him appear Nordic, but he always retorted to whomever told him so, showing his pride for being Mediterranean.

Turn-of-the-century Barcelona flourished, thanks to the textile industry; the wealthy liked to be surrounded by artists, intellectuals and famous people, and the bourgeoisie enjoyed great prestige. This was a good atmosphere for the young architect, who saw how numerous doors were opened for him to carry out his projects. Anyway, Gaudí never renounced contact with the less-favored working classes from which he came. It is not surprising that his first large project was workers' housing in a factory, the Cooperativa Mataronense ("Mataró Cooperative"). The project was intended to improve the workers' quality of life, but Gaudí's project was ahead of its time (which was more conservative), and only one section of the factory and a kiosk were built. The architect was slightly disappointed, but the presentation of his project at the Paris World Fair in 1878 meant the beginning of his fame. It appears that Gaudí achieved his greatest fame and renown in 1910, gaining the attention of some Americans who asked him to build a hotel in New York. An exhibition on Gaudí's work, promoted by Eusebi Güell, was held in the Grand Palais in Paris, from April to June of 1910, and some of the plans and photographs exhibited there were also taken a year later to the I Salón de Arquitectura (First Annual Architecture Show) in Madrid. In 1911, he had Maltese fever, and stayed for a time in Puigcerda, where his condition worsened and, believing his time had come, he made out his will.

Gaudi's bed in his studio next to the Sagrada familia


To the day of his death, he worked exclusively on the Sagrada Família, and in 1925 moved his residence to the studio he had on the premises. In his old age, Gaudí was a man that was conformed with little and dressed without much care; so much so that the day of his accident nobody recognized him as he lay on the ground. On June 7, 1926, he was run over by a tram at the intersection of Carrer de Bailén and the Gran Vía, and the taxi drivers refused to take a poor vagabond to the hospital (the municipal police fined them later for not assisting an injured man). He did not seek out contact with journalists and he avoided cameras, so there are few photographs of the architect. This change in attitude may have been caused by a series of events that took place beginning in 1912. That year, his niece, Rosa Egea, who lived with him in Barcelona, died. In 1914, his faithful collaborator, Francesc Berenguer Mestres, died, and for matters of professional fees, he was confronted with the Milà family in litigation. In 1915, the continuity of the construction of the Sagrada Familia was endangered by a serious economic crisis. En 1914, construction of the Colonia Güell was definitively interrupted. Two years later, his friend, Doctor Torras i Bages, Archbishop of Vic, died. In 1918, his best friend and patron, Eusebi Güell, passed away.

They were sad events that affected him but did not limit his energy and desire to see his greatest work, the Sagrada Família, come into being. Gaudí died at the age of 74 (June 12, 1926), but if it hadn't been for the tram he may have lived many more years, since his father had lived to the age of 93, with all his vigor. Half of Barcelona dressed in black to give final homage to a man that had become very popular, although few had ever met him personally. His body was buried in the crypt of the edifice where he had worked for the last 43 years of his life, the Sagrada Familia.

Gaudi's Studio 

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"La Mezquita de Cordoba" - An outstanding Cathedral
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba was is the third largest Mosque in the world after  Casablanca and Mecca. 
The original Mosque was built over the Visigothic Saint Vincent Basilica, Cordoba's most important Christian temple since its foundation in the 6th century. Hardly a trace of the ancient Christian church had been left, and it was not until the 1940s that rests of the Basilica, mainly mosaics and pillars, were discovered in the subfloor of the Cathedral when building works had to be carried out.

The building was divided into a courtyard, also known as the Orange Courtyard, the old minaret, which was transformed into the belfry tower of the Cathedral in the 17th century, and the prayer hall, made up of more than 800 marble, jasper and granite columns, which supported around 400 horseshoe arches with arch-stones in two colours. Above them, the mihrab impressed with all its splendour. It was built using marble, featuring stuccos and beautifully coloured Byzantine mosaics, contrasting with the gold background.

The Mezquita Cathedral is one of a kind and a unique place for Muslims as well as Christians. The construction of the Mosque began in 786 A.D. and enlargements were carried out by four different Umayyad Rulers. It is made up of a courtyard and a prayer hall, divided into nineteen naves running lengthwise.

Since its beginnings, the Mosque has been the biggest building of its kind in the western Muslim world. This building had not only religious but also social, cultural and political manifestations. The first Eucharistic ceremony of the Dedication of the Cathedral was celebrated in 1236 and the construction of the main chapel, transept and Choir was initiated in 1523.

The Cathedral was built in Renaissance style and was designed by the architects Hernán Ruiz I, II and III, Diego de Praves and Juan de Ochoa. Its impressive choir stalls around the High Altar were designed by Duque Cornejo. On both sides of the temple a number of Chapels are located, which were built to satisfy the desire of fervent Catholics to be buried in the Cathedral.

The Basilica of Saint Vincent the Martyr was the original seed that was later transformed into the Umayyad Mosque, as the Moors built the original Alhama Mosque over its foundations. It is estimated that the church was built in the mid-6th century and subsequently became the main place of worship for Christians in the city.

Abd ar-Rahman al Dahil or Abd ar-Rahman the First (also known as the Falcon of Al Andalus) was born in Damascus in 731 A.D. and died in Cordoba in the year 788. He was a prince of the Umayyad dynasty, who had to flee Syria after his family was overthrown by the Abbasids in the Abu Futrus massacre (Egypt). During his flight, he travelled through many places until he ended up in Al Andalus, conquered four decades earlier by his own family, where he was able to find a number of Syrian supporters. He went on to defeat the Emir Yusef and proclaimed himself the independent Emir of Al Andalus. He founded the dynasty which ensured Umeyyad rule in Spain until 1031.

The construction of the Mosque began during his reign, but it was, in fact, not until the last years of it that he felt the need to do so. Maybe it was only then that he realised that he would need to leave behind a religious legacy for his subjects.

Choosing the location of the old Visigothic Saint Vincent Basilica for his new Mosque, which ultimately led to the destruction of the church, meant that he was able to take advantage of a place already used for prayer and worship, and make use of its building materials for his new project.

Abd ar-Rahman II was born in Toledo in 792 A.D. and rose to the throne when he was little more than thirty years old. He distinguished himself through his ambitious construction projects, founding the city of Murcia, building the Arab fortress in Merida and the city walls of Seville.

His reign (822-852) was a fruitful period for the Umayyad dynasty in Spain, witnessing an intellectual rebirth which broke with Syrian traditions and the conservative tendencies of his predecessors.

Abd ar-Rahman III was born in 891 and acceded to the throne in 912. He succesfully defeated the rebels in Al Andalus and was able to pacify the Umayyad Kingdom after Zaragoza surrendered in 937. He proclaimed himself Emir as well as Caliph.

Although he didn't add a new extension to the Mosque, his most important work of architecture was the palace-city of Medina Azahara.

He didn't make any changes to the oratory but he enlarged the courtyard, dismantled the first minaret and built a new one, which served as a model for the Almohad minarets and the Mudejar bell-fries.

This minaret still exists today underneath the Christian belfry. Its original height is known through old drawings which have been preserved.

Al-Hakam II was born in 915 and rose to the throne in 961. He is described as a very religious, virtuous and pious ruler. He gave continuation to his father's policies and maintained peace and prosperity in Al Andalus. His reign symbolises the glory and splendour of the Caliphate of Cordoba.

He made enlargements to the Mosque, carried out reformation works in the Alcazar and finished Medina Azahara. He provided the city with street lights, a sewage network and paved the majority of its streets.

Al Mansur was born in Torrox in 940. He moved to Cordoba to receive his education when he was still very young. He later became a stubborn dictator who promoted a holy war against the Christians.

He brought large quantities of slaves to Cordoba following each of his 56 campaigns against the Christians in the North. He also reorganised his army, incorporating soldiers of Berber origin.

It was Gonzalez Frances who, in 1896, had the idea of putting together this collection of relics to display in a museum. The idea was not to create a big collection of artworks. The only aim was to add splendour to the liturgy and to express the devotion to the Virgin Mother and the Saints. The 17th of May 1345 is the date when the chapel was mentioned for the first time. The presence of Aragonese canons connects this altar with Our Lady of the Pilar from Zaragoza.

The altarpiece made of carved and gilded wood depicts Santiago kneeling before the Virgin Mary. Surrounding the two, we see an urban landscape that alludes to the city of Zaragoza. The altarpiece was designed by the sculptor Juan Fernández del Rio. There are two oval pieces of wood illustrating the indulgences granted to those who pray before the image of the Virgin.


The Mosque also holds many treasure such as beautiful ivory crucifixes, portapaces, chalices and ciboria, silver-works and large crucifixes made of precious materials. One of them was donated to the Cathedral by the Bishop Diego de Mardones in 1620.

A magnificent monument, The Mosque of Cordoba is a fascinating journey in time to be enjoyed by everyone.


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Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Spain 2012
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Funnily enough for those who think mainland Spain is just about sun, sand and sea there is only one beach within the list of Spain's top tourist attractions and believe it or not it is on the north coast! Spain is far more than just sand and cocktails with an incredible wealth of history, culture and tradition. From the green hills of Galicia to the snowy mountains of Sierra Nevada and the desolate deserts of Almeria and all along this scenic route there is an endless choice of fascinating places to visit. These were the top 10 tourist attractions for 2012 :


Nº1  Alhambra       Go to article on the Alhambra



Granada's Alhambra Palace is Europe's favourite tourist destination. In 2012, a total of 2.26 million visitors went to explore this spectacular Arab complex which dates back to the Mediaeval era in Spain – an increase on the 2.18 million in 2011, which shows that the recession is no barrier to enjoying this historical gem.

Nº 2   Mezquita de Cordoba    Go to article on The Mezquita of Cordoba


The Great Mosque -Aljama- of Cordoba, built during the period of Moorish occupation, is the most splendid Islamic monument in the western world. Its construction commenced in 785, when Abd-ar-Rahman established Cordoba as capital of al-Andalus, on the site of an ancient church dedicated to San Vicente and was extended during successive periods by Abd-ar-Rahman II, Al-Hakam II and Almanzor.


Nº3   El Escorial      Go to article on Escorial

 The Escorial is a vast building complex located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid, in central Spain. The building is the most important architectural monument of the Spanish Renaissance. Construction of El Escorial began in 1563 and ended in 1584. The project was conceived by King Philip II, who wanted a building to serve the multiple purposes of a burial place for his father, Holy Roman emperor Charles V; a Hieronymite monastery; and a palace.


Nº 4  La Sagrada Familia   Go to article on Gaudi

 The Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, and one of Spain’s most visited tourist attractions. It’s a design by Antoni Gaudí, a Catalan architect who worked on this project for almost 40 years until his death in 1926. The construction of the basilica began in 1882 and still as yet not finished.


Nº 5 Ibiza

Besides being the clubbing capital of the world, Ibiza also has an amazing natural beauty, a superb climate and a World Heritage site. Whether you want to lose yourself to the music of the world’s best DJs in Ibiza’s unmatched party scene or if you want to enjoy the astounding clear sea, warm sun, attractive coves and eventful beaches – or a bit of everything – Ibiza is certainly the right place.


Nº 6 Cuenca    Go to article on Cuenca

Declared a World Heritage Site, Cuenca spreads out below the ruins of the Arab castle, the former fortress of Kunka. The modern area of this small city lies below on the Júcar plain. The old part of Cuenca is surrounded on three sides by a deep gorge carved out by two rivers, the Júcar and the Huécar. Cuenca is famous for its 15th Century "hanging houses" (casas colgadas), that appear to be hanging on to the cliffs edge. One of these houses is the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, and is one of the finest of its kind.


Nº 7 Aquaduct of Segovia    Go to article on Segovia

 The Aqueduct of Segovia is one of the best-preserved monuments left by the Romans in Spain. The ancient aqueduct carries water 16 km (10 miles) from the Frío River to Segovia and was built of some 24,000 massive granite blocks without the use of mortar. Probably constructed around 50 AD it still provided water to the city in the 20th century.


Nº8  La Concha


 Protected from strong winds by steep cliffs and islands, La Concha in San Sebastian is said by many to be one of the best city beaches in Europe, let alone Spain. Here you can go surfing, walk along the promenade in search of good restaurants and enjoy the beautiful views of the beach.


Nº 9  Pamplona - Running of the Bulls  Go to article on Pamplona - San Fermin


The Pamplona encierro is the most popular in Spain. It is the highest profile event of the San Fermin festival, which is held every year from July 6–14. The first bull running is on July 7, followed by one on each of the following mornings of the festival, beginning every day at 8 am. Participants must be at least 18 years old, run in the same direction as the bulls, not incite the bulls, and not be under the influence of alcohol. 

Nº 10    Palacio Real   Go to article on The Royal Palace


The Palacio Real de Madrid ( Royal Palace of Madrid) is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in Madrid, but is only used for state ceremonies. King Juan Carlos and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional, a public agency of the Ministry of the Presidency.

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"How the Andalusian Horses Dance" - Spectacular!
Wednesday, May 8, 2013




The Andalusian horse is an imposing animal of extraordinary beauty, elegance, balance and harmony. The Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE (Pura Raza Española), is a horse breed from the Iberian Peninsula, where its ancestors have lived for thousands of years. The Andalusian has been recognized as an individual breed since the 15th century, and its conformation has changed very little over the centuries. Throughout its history, it has been known for its prowess as a war horse, and was prized by the nobility. The breed was used as a tool of diplomacy by the Spanish government, and kings across Europe rode and owned Spanish horses.

 The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art is the at the heart of Spanish Horse Riding and is  located in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. This school is devoted to developing and maintaining the classical dressage style of Spanish riding. 



The baroque and neoclassical style of the buildings and grounds of the Royal Andalusian School gives you the impression that this facility has been in existence for a long time. However, it was as recent as 1973 when King Juan Carlos I awarded Don Alvaro Domecq Romero the “Caballo de Oro” (Golden Horse) trophy in Jerez de la Frontera. This is the most prestigious equestrian trophy awarded annually in Spain in recognition of dedication to, and work carried out in favour of, the horse. In honour of this award, Alvaro Domecq presented his show "How the Andalusian Horses Dance" for the very first time and is now known all over the world thanks to this show, a unique exhibition of horsemanship which both exhibits and summarises the work which the institution has carried out since its establishment.


From the remotest of times Andalusia has produced a special communication between Man and the Horse.  This is supported by archaeological remains which highlight the importance of the horse in the area of the Guadalquivir River during the times of the Iberians and Tartesians, going on to discover the rather unique game of cañas which horsemen from Jerez played during the Middle Ages as training for  war. The violent Renaissance game of Cañas developed and turned into an exhibition of equestrian skills which took place in the central Arenal Square. Although such exhibitions fell into disuse over the years, these skills were kept alive by the garrochistas in the countryside and the rejoneadores in the bull rings. In the 20th Century, the Royal School purified and systemised these traditions, taking as its inspiration the grand European schools such as the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, originally formed with Andalusian horses.



The Royal Andalusian School also boasts an Equestrian Art Museum which invites us to experience first hand the origins and evolution of the equestrian art in Andalusia and the rest of the world, offering the keys which will enable one to fully enjoy their visit with all five senses. Not only the new exhibition rooms, but every single one of the equestrian facilities of the Royal School form a part of the Museum because they all have a part to play in maintaining the equestrian art alive.



2004 was declared the year of Museums and Intangible Heritage by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The Museum of Equestrian Arts falls within this category of museum as, though it has many interesting pieces on display, it is really dedicated to the art of riding, its understanding, appreciation, preservation, study and promotion.

Strolling through the Botanical Garden, visitors in the near future will be able  to see live Przewalski horses, a breed which is over 12,000 years old and which provides a fundamental link in the evolution of the horse. This species is the only wild horse currently in existence as other technically wild horses, are really cimarrones (descendants of domesticated horses then turned wild).

The Harness Workshop of the Royal School Foundation has been prepared to form an integral part of the museum's facilities, an authentic laboratory of restoration, research and creation of the traditional harnesses that become a second skin for the horse. The Harness Workshop is also a school dedicated to preserving and promoting craft skills which are essential to the equestrian world.

The Palace is where one finds the main interpretative areas which enable you to experience and understand the concept of equestrian arts, and at the same time we marvel at the Recreo de las Cadenas Palace itself. The spectacular living quarters and chapel are open to visitors and also used to house temporary exhibitions and other activities related to the Museum.


After the Recreo de las Cadenas Palace the tour allows the public to visit the rest of the Royal School's facilities: riding ring, stables, training area, etc… and attend "How the Andalusian Horses Dance" when scheduled, the live performance of equestrian art, and visit the Carriage Museum which also forms a part of the Royal School of Equestrian Art. Here ar a few videos to help you get a feel for this wonderful art if you don't already know it.








For your interest here are the details:



Address: Avenida Duque de Abrantes, S/N. Palacio Recreo de las Cadenas, 11407, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Costa de la Luz
Phone: +34 956 31 96 35 ; +34 956 31 80 08




Time schedule:

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays (only Fridays in August and September), at 12.00 hours.

Saturdays at 12.00 hours the following dates: 29th June, 20th July, 17th August, 7th September, 12th October, 2nd November and 7th December.


Ticket office timetable: From 09.30 to 11.45 hours.


Prices: From 12 - 27 euros.


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