Tag Archives: Madrid

Flamboyant Flamenco: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Spain

Flamenco in Madrid Spain

Flemenco is a Spanish fusion of music, singing and dance. Ethnic gypsies from Andalusia in southern Spain had a significant impact on the singing (cante), dancing (baile) and guitar playing (toque) that are used in flamenco. Consider it the “Dancing with the Stars” of Spain.

In this genre, voices can be filled with anguish and pain in cante jondo or express happiness and joy through movements in sevillanas and rumbas. Castanets, hand-clapping and foot-stomping create a lively and energetic performance.

Flamenco culture is native to Andalusia.

Flamenco culture is native to Andalusia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is performed during religious festivals, rituals, ceremonies and celebrations. In November of 2010, UNESCO declared Flamenco one of the masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity which include “traditions, performing arts and practices that are inherited from ancestors and passed on to descendants.”

History and tradition co-exist in the rhythum of tablaos (flamenco stages) and clubs in Madrid where flamenco is very popular. The city offers a wide range of shows and serves as the hub of the record industry that presents this genre to the world.

Corral de la Moreria is one of the oldest Flamenco tablaos in Madrid and has been around since 1956 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfjryeug7FU&feature=related. Another popular venue is Cafe de Chinitas, located in the basement of an 18th century palace. Enjoy the granduer of a Vino con Vista dinner watching flamenco while visiting various regions of Spain.

“The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity was made by the Director-General of UNESCO starting in 2001 to raise awareness on intangible cultural heritage and encourage local communities to protect them and the local people who sustain these forms of cultural expressions.

Several manifestations of intangible heritage around the world were awarded the title of Masterpieces to recognize the value of the non-material component of culture, as well as entail the commitment of states to promote and safeguard the Masterpieces.

Until 2005, a total of 90 Masterpieces from 70 countries had been proclaimed. 76 more elements were added on 30 September 2009, during the fourth session of the Committee.”

The "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangi...

The “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” is a list maintained by UNESCO with pieces of intangible culture considered relevant by that organization. The map shows the distribution of Masterpieces by State Parties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Travels from your Travel Buddies @ www.vino-con-vista.comVino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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Filed under Barcelona Spain, Catalon art and architecture in Barcelona, Easter in Madrid Spain, ebooks, Flamenco Dancing in Spain, Things to do in Madrid Spain, Toledo Spain is a UNESCO site, Travel and Tourism, UNESCO, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in SPain, UNESCO sites in Barcelona Spain, vino con vista

Holy Week in Majestic Madrid Spain: Semana Santa

Plaza Mayor (square) of Madrid (Spain). At the...

Image via Wikipedia

Fachada de la basílica del monasterio de El Es...

Fachada de la basílica del monasterio de El Escorial, en Madrid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Courtyard of the Kings and the Basili...

English: Courtyard of the Kings and the Basilica of the Monastery of El Escorial, San Lorenzo of El Escorial, Spain Français : La Cour des Rois et la Basilique du Monastère de l’Escurial, San Lorenzo of El Escorial, Espagne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Right side of East facade of the Mona...

English: Right side of East facade of the Monastery of El Escorial, , San Lorenzo of El Escorial, Spain Français : Côté droit de la face Est du Monastère de l’Escurial, San Lorenzo of El Escorial, Espagne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy Week  is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday), Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Holy Week in Majestic Madrid is a spectacle to behold.In 1561, King Philip II (1556-1598) decided to move his court from Toledo to Madrid. In 1616, King Felipe III ordered the construction of Plaza Mayor to be built upon the former Plaza del Arrabal.

It was designed by Juan Gomez de Mora who used the Madrilenian Baroque Style. The Square contains 136 houses with 437 balconies from which 50,000 people can witness events in the Plaza. In the center, the equestrian statue of Phillip III watches over his masterpiece.

Español: Escultura en El Escorial.

Español: Escultura en El Escorial. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain.

Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are interesting UNESCO World Heritage sites near Madrid that you should visit. The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the king of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 28 miles northwest of Madrid. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum and a school. The Escorial has a royal monastery  and La Granjilla de La Fresneda, a royal hunting lodge. Originally it was a property of the Hieronymite monks, it is now a monastery of the Order of Saint Augustine.  It is one of several Spanish royal sites and was the residence of the royal family. The palace was designed by King Philip II and architect Juan Bautista de Toledo to serve as a monument to Spain’s central role in the Christian world.

The Palacio Real de Aranjuez

The Palacio Real de Aranjuez (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detail of the interior of the Royal Palace of ...

Detail of the interior of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Community of Madrid, Spain). Español: Detalle del interior del Palacio Real de Aranjuez (Comunidad de Madrid, España). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another interesting UNESCO site is the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. The landscape around was developed by the Spanish royal family over a course of three centuries and contains innovative horticultural and design ideas. The area was the exclusive property of the royal family until the 19th century when the modern civilian city developed.

Detail of the interior of the Royal Palace of ...

Detail of the interior of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Community of Madrid, Spain). Español: Detalle del interior del Palacio Real de Aranjuez (Comunidad de Madrid, España). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

El Escorial.

El Escorial. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a panoramic view of Plaza Mayor http://www.panorammer.com/panoramas/plazamayormadrid_f.php

Madrid has celebrated the events described in the New Testament including the death, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ since the 15th century. During Semana Santa ( Holy Week) there are many candle-lit processions in Madrid.

On Holy Thursday (Jueves Santo) at the Colegiata de San Isidro, the Virgin Maria Sanrisima de la Esperanza and Jesus del Gran Poder are brought out of the church through the main entrance by the costaleros http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWi3WxSAhPY.

On Good Friday (Viernes Santo) the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno leaves the Basilica del Cristo de Medinaceli in Plaza de Jesus and parades down the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Cibeles. The Procesion del Silencio starts at the Church of Santisimo.

On Domingo Santo (Easter Saturday), the Holy Burial takes place in Plaza Mayor. The culminating activity takes place in the afternoon on Easter Sunday in Plaza Mayor. The Tamborada del Domingo de Resureccion assembles drums to replicate the tremors that occurred when Christ died on the Cross http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOpQoD9dp4Q&feature=related.

Monasterio de El Escorial Español: Monasterio ...

Monasterio de El Escorial Español: Monasterio de El Escorial. Fachada sur. Deutsch: Südfassade der Schloss- und Klosteranlage Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy  Easter from your Travel Buddies @ www.vino-con-vista.com.

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites.
 

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Elaborate Holy Week and Easter Rituals in Toledo Spain: Semana Santa

English: A five-segment panorama of the Tagus ...

English: A five-segment panorama of the Tagus River in Toledo, Spain. Taken with a Canon 5D and 24-105mm f/4L lens. Français : Vue panoramique du Tage à Tolède, en Espagne. Panorama obtenu en assemblant 5 clichés faits avec un appareil Canon 5D et un objectif 24-105mm f/4L. Română: O panoramă alcătuită din cinci fotografii a râului Tagus din Toledo, Spania. Realizată cu un Canon 5D şi obiectiv de 24-105mm f/4L. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bridge of Alcántara.

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English: Toledo, Puerta de Bisagro

English: Toledo, Puerta de Bisagro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: House of El Greco (partial view) : To...

English: House of El Greco (partial view) : Toledo, Spain. Español: Casa de El Greco (vista parcial) : Toledo, España (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Visit the historical city of Toledo Spain during Holy Week or on Easter. The charming UNESCO World Heritage City of Toledo Spain is the Toledo Spainrepository of more than 2000 years of history and architectural styles.  Toletum was the capital of Roman Carpetania.  It is an outstanding Vino con Vista destination, especially during Easter ceremonies. Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site in 1986. Corpus Christi Week is the most important holiday in Toledo when the ground is covered with rosemary and thyme.

World Heritage Site Toledo Spain

The Mudejar architectural style of the Middle Ages, arose from the multi-cultural  interplay of forces among the three major religious groups who lived there: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Toledo has a broad spectrum of structures from the medieval period including walls and fortified buildings like San Servando Castle.  The former capital of Spain is about 42 miles southwest of Spain‘s newer capital city of Madrid. Felipe II transferred the Royal Court to Madrid in 1561.

The Assumption of the Virgin

The Assumption of the Virgin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Panorama of the Toledo skyline in Spain, at su...

Panorama of the Toledo skyline in Spain, at sunset. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The River Tagus loops around the historical gems of this fortified city and is crowned with gorgeous historic bridges. The Alcazar fortress occupies the highest point of the city and was used as a military base and fortress by the Romans, Arabs and Christians. Ultimately, it became the residence of King Alfonso VI and then Carlos V converted the building into a Royal Palace. Each facade of the fortress is different and reflects different architectural eras: The east facde is Medieval and the facade on the west is Renaissance. It houses the Army and Military Museum.

Toledo Spain

Coat of Arms

Toledo Spain

Toledo Spain

The Primal See in Toledo was using an old Mosque which was reconsecrated as the main church in 1086 by Alfonso VI. The Primada Cathedral was built between 1226 and 1493 on the site of a VIsigoth church. The Gothic Cathedral‘s first stone was ceremoniously laid in 1221. The Cathedral is brimming with art treasures and has a valuable collection of El Greco and Goya masterpieces.  Visit the beautiful chapels and the Renaissance Choir. The cathedral that was originally started in the sixth century by San Eugenio, the first Bishop of Toledo, was converted into a mosque that became the main church before the Gothic Cathedral was built.

Toledo Spain

Toledo Spain

El Greco is one of Spain’s most revered Renaissance artists. In March of 1586 he obtained the commission for The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. In 2014, the 400th anniversary of his death was celebrated with special exhibitions in Toledo.

Detail of the painting.

Detail of the painting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

El Greco - The Burial of the Count of Orgaz (d...

El Greco – The Burial of the Count of Orgaz (detail) – WGA10487 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

El Greco - The Burial of the Count of Orgaz (d...

El Greco – The Burial of the Count of Orgaz (detail) – WGA10490 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

El Greco self-portrait, 1604

El Greco self-portrait, 1604 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His 1586 masterpiece “El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz” (translates into the Burial of the Count of Orgaz) is located at the foot of the church of Santo Tome. The painting portrays Saint Augustine and Saint Steven in elegant golden vestments. They are preparing to  carry his life-less body to his tomb. The young boy holding the torch on the bottom left of the painting is El Greco’s son. The bearded gentleman directly above Saint Stephen is a self-portrait of El Greco.

The Holy Trinity, 1577–1579, by El Greco

The Holy Trinity, 1577–1579, by El Greco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favorite El Greco paintings in Toledo is “The Tears of Saint Peter”  which is displayed in the Studio of his Museum in Toledo. Tour the charming House and Museum of El Greco in Toledo Spain during Semana Santa. El Greco never lived in this place, but the house has a collection of his paintings. Another one of my favorite El Greco paintings is “Jesus Carrying the Cross.”

El Greco, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz

El Greco, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toledo Spain

Toledo Spain

Toledo, the  former capital of Spain, sits majestically on a hilltop in the Castilla- La Mancha region immortalized by Miguel de Cervante’s famous “Don Quixote.”

Toledo Spain

Puerta del Sol Toledo Spain Toledo is 70 km so...

Puerta del Sol Toledo Spain Toledo is 70 km south of Madrid. It is the capital of the province of Toledo and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage as one of the former capitals of the Spanish , España Empire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toledo was the temporary seat of Emperor Charles V. He endowed the city with the status of an imperial, crowned city. The fervor and devotion of Holy Week traditions of Semana Santa de Toledo are reminicient of 16th century Spanish traditions. Processions with residents dressed in hooded costumes signify the death and mourning of Jesus Christ. These solemn processions throughout the town during Holy Week, tell the story of the Passion and resurrection of Christ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4FCEnOPlng.

Detalle de Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo en la pintur...

Detalle de Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo en la pintura El entierro del conde de Orgaz de El Greco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cambrón Gate, Toledo, Spain Français : Porte d...

Cambrón Gate, Toledo, Spain Français : Porte de Cambrón, Tolède, Espagne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Semana Santa is a very special time in Spain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yOHWjOBYJY&feature=related.

Happy Easter from your Travel Buddies @ www.vino-con-vista.com.

Toledo -Guadamur -castillo_3

Toledo -Guadamur -castillo_3 (Photo credit: ferlomu)

 

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My Glorious Vino Con Vista Weekend in San Sebastian Spain

English: View of Donostia - San Sebastian from...

Image via Wikipedia

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain (Photo credit: Emmanuel Dyan)

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain (Photo credit: Emmanuel Dyan)

English: La Concha bay (The Shell bay), in San...

English: La Concha bay (The Shell bay), in San Sebastian (Spain) Español: Anochecer en la bahía de La Concha, San Sebastián (España) Français : Vue de la baie de La Concha (baie de la coquille), à Saint-Sébastien (Espagne) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a Glorious Vino con Vista Weekend in San Sebastian Spain (called Donostia in Basque). The panoramic vistas in the Basque Culinary Capital of Spain are amazing! I also have a passion for Pintxos. The greatest culinary adventure in San Sebastian is a pintxos crawl!!

The small seaside city in northern Spain’s Basque region is the “world’s ultimate foodie destination”; it has more Michelin stars per capita (currently 16) than anywhere else on Earth. Both Arzak and Mugaritz grace the top 10 of S. Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

English: Panorama of San Sebastian with the &q...

English: Panorama of San Sebastian with the “De La Concha” bay. Picture taken of Monte Igueldo using a HDR technique Deutsch: Panorama von San Sebastian mit der “De La Concha” Bucht. Fotografiert von Monte Igueldo aus mit HDR Technik Français : Panorame de San Sebastian avec la plage “De La Concha”. Foto pris de Monte Igueldo avec une technique HDR (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

San Sebastian

San Sebastian (Photo credit: Ivo83)

San Sebastian is located on the enchanting Bahia de la Concha. It is in the province of Gipuzkoa on the Basque coast of northwest Spain about 20 km away from the French border. (I also visited Loudes while I was in the general vicinity but that’s another post.)

English: Donostia-San Sebastián and the ocean ...

English: Donostia-San Sebastián and the ocean (Bay of Biscay) in the background, Hernani in the foreground (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Purchase a San Sebastian Card when you arrive. The card includes public transportation and discounts to museums and attractions.

Teatro Victoria Eugenia (San Sebastian, SPAIN)

Teatro Victoria Eugenia (San Sebastian, SPAIN) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain (Photo credit: Emmanuel Dyan)

This aristocratic destination has plenty of coastal promenades. In San Sebastian there are beautiful parks and beaches. Aiete Park is located in the hills that surround the city where you can admire the beautiful gardens designed by Pierre Ducasse that surround the palace. Queen Isabel II, Queen Victoria of England, Queen María Cristina and King Alfonso XIII were among the aristocrats who frequented San Sebastian. Admire the Palacio Miramar on the beach, built in 1889 by Basque architect Jose Goicoa. The meticulously maintained Miramar Gardens are open to the public.

San Sebastián Grand Prix 1929

San Sebastián Grand Prix 1929 (Photo credit: Mikelo)

The breathtaking beauty of its bay, known as the Pearl of Bay of Biscay (Cantabrian Sea), coupled with world-class cuisine and an efficient transportation network makes San Sebastian a very desirable destination.

You can board the train at The Estación del Norte (North Station) in San Sebastian in the center of town. It connects to several Spanish cities including Madrid and Barcelona, as well as international destinations like Paris and Lisbon. There is also a train network that connects to Bilbao and other cities along the Basque coastline, as well as routes leading to France. Visit the Cristina Enea Park that is located next to the Tabakalera building, very close to the North Train Station. It is inhabited by swans and peacocks.

This spectacular Vino con Vista mecca is surrounded by beaches and the mountainous countryside of the Urgull Mountain and the Ulia Mountains. La Cocha beach is located in the center of the city and is considered one of the most beautiful urban beaches in all of Europe. I loved the charming Belle-Époque architecture, markets and pixtos!!

funicular monte igueldo

funicular monte igueldo (Photo credit: Patricil)

This is the quintessential tourist destination of Northern Spain. Take the ferry from El Muelle to the Isla de Santa Clare or take the cable car to the El Torreón de Igueldo (The Tower of Igueldo) on the Igueldo Mountain to see the glorious panorama of the sea and the cliffs of Igueldo. The lighthouse is on the west side of the mountain. It was built in 1885 by the architect Manuel Peironcely. The History Museum of San Sebastian ( The House of history) is located at the top of Mount Urgull.

Lighthouse in San Sebastian's Igueldo mountain...

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The city of Donostia from top of mount Igeldo.

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San Sebastian is endowed with many natural resources and attractions that make this pristine stretch of paradise a perfect travel destination. The cuisine is incredible. San Sebastian has amassed more Michelín stars per square mile than any other place in the world. The beaches are sublime! There are many interesting festivals including the International Festival of Cinema, The Jazz Festival and popular celebrations like La Semana Grande de San Sebastian.

Puente de María Cristina, en San Sebastián (Eu...

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Donostia (San Sebastian), Spain location

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San Sebastian is the home of the Belle Époque Hotel Maria Cristina San Sebastian. This majestic landmark is one of the oldest grand hotels in Spain. It is located in the center of the city by the Urumea river and Victoria Eugenia Theatre. Hotel Maria Cristina was built in 1912 by French architect Charles Mewes who also designed the Ritz Hotels in Madrid and Paris.  The hotel will re-open in July 2012 after an extensive update.  Visit www.mariacristina.es to book a room.

English: Maria Cristina Hotel (1912) in San Se...

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English: San Sebastian seen at night photograp...

Image via Wikipedia

Historically, San Sebastian was a small fishing village. After the invasion of Napoleon’s troops and near destruction of the city in 1813 from Anglo-Portuguese invaders, the city was re-born as Queen Isabel II  preferred holiday destination. After the death of King Alfonso XII in 1885, the Queen Regent Maria Cristina continued the tradition of spending the summer in San Sebastian and carried the glamor of the Court to the beaches of Cantabria.

Let’s examine the top sites and panoramic vistas in spectacular San Sebastian Spain:

1. Explore Spectacular Panoramic Vistas from El Torreón de Igueldo (The Tower of Igueldo).  Take the  oldest cable-car (funicular) in the Basque country to get the best views over city. You can visit the amusement park, Parque de Atracciones for a glorious Vino con Vista of the Bay of Biscay and the Cantabrian mountains. Urgull Mountain  was a military fort in the 12th Century; its walls have suffered countless attacks and sieges over the years. You can admire the lighthouse on the west side of the mountain. It was built in 1885 by the architect Manuel Peironcely. From this location, you can witness the beauty of the sea and the cliffs of Igueldo.

Cannon in San Sebastian's Urgull mountain (Don...

Cannon in San Sebastian’s Urgull mountain (Donostia, Spain). (Photo credit: encontrado.es)

Visit the summit of Monte Urgill to see the statue of Christ. The “El Sagrado Corazón” sculpture majestically emerges over the city of San Sebastian. The work was done by  Federico Coullaut in 1950. It measures more than 12 metres in height and can be seen from a distance of 4 miles out at sea. You can also see the former Castillo de Santa Cruz’s old cannons on Monte Urgill.

San Sebastián, province de Gipuzkoa (Espagne) ...

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Travel to the Ulia Mountain; a nature park and hiking path in the center of the city. The Peña del Ballenero and the Peña del Rey are large rocks used as look-out points. There are picnic areas and the  Albergue de Ulía (Ulia House) with beautiful views of the city.

Cartografía de San Sebastián (España)

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2. The epicenter of Basque Cuisine and Gastronomic Prowess: Donostia is renowned for its  Basque cuisine and it is also the birthplace of Basque gastronomical societies. These cooking clubs for men called “txoko” have been around since 1870.

Deutsch: Typische Altstadtbar in San Sebastian...

Deutsch: Typische Altstadtbar in San Sebastian / Donostia Datum: 06.10.2000 Urheber: Michael Pfeiffer Quelle: privates Fotoalbum des Urhebers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

San Sebastian has amassed more Michelin stars per square mile than any other place in the world. San Sebastián and its surrounding area has a high concentration of restaurants boasting Michelin stars, namely Arzak (San Sebastián) www.arzak.com (the most expensive restaurant in Spain), Berasategi (Lasarte), Akelarre www.akelarre.net (district Igeldo) or Mugaritz (Errenteria) http://www.mugaritz.com/. You can dine at Casa Nicilasa, a culinary shrine since 1912, Urepel or Rekondo www.rekondo.com.

In San Sebastian,  try some scallops, gooseneck barnacles, succulent marmita de bonita (tuna stew) and tasty snacks similar to tapas called pintxos.  I actually overdosed on Pintxos in San Sebastian. They were all so alluring that I couln’t control myself. Check out my Pinterest Board to see what I mean: http://pinterest.com/vinoconvista/san-sebastian-spain/

The kalimotxo is a local drink made of 50% wine and 50% coca cola, a favorite of the college students. I actually prefer their Sangria. The Parte Vieja (Old Town) has the greatest concentration of bars in the world with more bars per square foot than anywhere else. This area is the traditional core area of the city and was surrounded by fortification walls until 1863. A stretch of the walls still limits the Old Sectiont through the Portaletas gate.

3. This town has plethora of festivals. Every January, San Sebastian  is transformed for 24 hours by the constant drum roll to the sound of the music of Sarriegui. At midnight on January 19th, the whole town turns out in force to celebrate La Tamborrada or the Festival of the Drums and the party doesn’t stop until midnight the next day. On San Sebastian Day (January 20th), the Children’s Drum Parade composed of more than 5000 boys and girls continues drumming. According to the local legend,  in the 19th century, San Sebastian was under threat of invasion by the French. Led by the military drummers, the San Sebastian regiment bravely marched to meet the French. In support, the cooks and chefs of the city left their kitchens and marched along with the drummers, banging their wine casks, pots and pans in time with the military beat. Hearing this, the French were convinced that the San Sebastian army was larger than they expected and they retreated. The Tamborrada festival takes place every year to honor the heroes who saved the city.

There is a San Sebastian International Jazz Festival in July, a classic music festival and Semana Grande (the city’s principle fiesta) in August and a San Sebastian International Film Festival in September.

Semana Grande is held  the week of August 15th, the Day of the Virgin. During the week there’s an International Firework Competition on Concha Bay. There are horse races in the Hippodrome of San Sebastian and the running of the bulls in the San Sebastian Arena 2016.

Česky: Letecký pohled na San Sebastian, Španěl...

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4. San Sebastián has a variety of interesting Museums and Sculptures: history, science, technology, oceanography, art and other interesting expositions are available. Near the old Dominican monestary of San Telmo, visit the Museum of San Telmo with three works by El Greco and 11 murals by Jose Maria Sert. The Dominican monastery built in 16th century has a remarkable collection of Basque artifacts from prehistoric times. The Museum of San Telmo-Museum of Basque Society and Citizenship is located in the heart of the Old Town and recently re-opened. This museum has many exhibits:  archaeological, ethnographic and, art collections. Have some Pintxos on the fabulous terrace of La Cuchara de San Telmo.

Plaza Carlos Blasco de Imaz is an Oceanographic museum with underwater walkways and tunnels that feature  sharks, rays and other marine creatures.  The aquarium has a 360 degree underwater tunnel where visitors can see over 5000 marine species and four species of sharks. This Aquarium is one of the most modern in Europe. The Museo Naval  promotes the history and heritage of the Basque navy, through long-term exhibitions focusing on specific topics. The current exhibition is “Whale Hunters” until April 29, 2012. The maritime museum has historical displays of naval artifacts, fishing gear and marine fossils.

San Sebastian has plenty of outdoor sculptures: “El Peine del Viento” was created by the sculptor Eduard Chillida and the architect Luis Peña Ganchegui. Eduard Chillida’s acclaimed “Peine de los Vientos; the  Comb of the Wind. ”  sculpture is a series of terraces built into the rocks that guard the entrance to the bay. About 8 km from town, visit the 16th century Chillida Leku open-air museum with about 140 sculptures by Chillida.

“Construcción Vacía” is located on the Paseo Nuevo. This contemporary sculpture is by Jorge Oteiza and got an  award at the Beinal de Sao Paolo.

Sculpture by Jorge Oteiza in San Sebastian/Spain

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Public art in San Sebastian, Spain

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These are sculptures from the basque sculptor ...

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These are sculptures from the basque sculptor ...

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The Cathedral of Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain...

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5. San Sebastian has Beautiful Belle Epoque, Gothic and Baroque Architecture and Churches. In the Centro Romantico, visit San Sebastian’s Cathedral (Catedral del Buen Pastor)with Neo-Gothic Spires. This is the largest church in San Sebastian and opened in 1897. It is also the tallest building in San Sebastian. On the main facade, admire the majestic “La Cruz de la Paz”  (The Cross of Peace). It was sculpted by Eduardo Chillida.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian (Photo credit: P_Canales)

The 16th century Gothic Church of San Vicente  (on Calle Narrica, 26)  is the oldest building in the city. It is located in the Historic Zone of San Sebastian. Built during the second half of the 14th century, it has a beautiful altar by Ambrosio de Bengoechea and Juan de Iriarte.

The Baroque Basilica of Santa Maria was built between 1743 and 1774. It is located on Calle Mayor. The Baroque facade embodies Churrigueresque elements. This was an artistic movement related to the work of José Benito de Churriguera.  The baptismal font has an Eduardo Chillida cross. The main door of the Basilica is a few steps away from the Catedral de El Buen Pastor.

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain (Photo credit: Emmanuel Dyan)

Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square) is in the heart of the historic zone. Admire El Ayuntamiento (The Town Hall) which was the Grand Casino of San Sebastian that opened in 1897 and closed in 1924 due to the prohibition of gambling. In 1947,  it was converted into the Casa Consistorial (Town hall) of the city.

The Belle Époque Victoria Eugenia Theatre  was created by the architect Francisco de Urcola in the year 1912. On the façade of the building, above the Doric pillars, admire the sculptures of Opera, Tragedy, Comedy and Drama. It has views of the Kursaal and the banks of the Urumea river.

Palacio de Miramar, en San Sebastián (España)

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Miramar Palace was created for the summer stays of Queen María Cristina and the Royal Family. They started spending their “Royal Summers” in San Sebastian in 1887. It has fabulous views of the beaches and the Isla de Santa Clara. The Mirimar Palace was built in ‘Queen Ana English cottage’ style under the direction of the English architect Seldon Wornum, who also designed other palaces in Biarritz and San Juan de Luz. The gardens were designed by Pierre Ducasse who also created the gardens of the Aiete Palace and the Plaza de Gipuskoa.

Kursaal, San Sebastián (España)

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The contemporary El Kuursal houses many celebrations from festivals and was designed by Rafael Moneo.

Puerto de San Sebastián (Euskadi, España)

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The Royal Boating Club of San Sebastian building was constructed in 1928 by architects José Manuel Aizpurua and Joaquín Labayen. It was recently awarded historical status.

English: Gooseneck Barnacles, at a market of S...

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Deutsch: San Sebastian

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5. San Sebastian has incredible seafood and magnificent beaches! Playa de la Concha  is located in the center of the city and is the most popular beach. It was recently awarded “one of the 20 best and most beautiful beaches in Europe”. Ondarreta Beach is located between the Igeldo Mountain and the gardens of the Mirimar Palace. You can enjoy traditional food like olives and calamari at the Ondarreta rooftop café. Zurriola Beach is on the east side of town and it is popular with surfers.

Igueldo and Santa Clara

Igueldo and Santa Clara (Photo credit: . SantiMB .)

On La Isla Santa Clara across the bay, there is a small beach and your can walk to the lighthouse. The path has  kiosks, cafes and terraces. During the summer a boat service leaves every half hour from the port to the island.

English: San Sebastian, Spain, at night. Franç...

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Here’s a video of San Sebastian:  http://onlytravelarticles.com/travel-videos/san-sebastian-donostia-spain-travel-video-guide/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides and Apps @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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