Andalusia is located in the south of Spain, and it is one of the biggest regions in the country. Its name comes from Al-Andalus, which is how the Moors called it during the Middle Ages, when it was invaded by them.

After many centuries of battles between the Christians and the Moors, there was just one Muslim kingdom left in the peninsula: the Emirate of Granada. Nowadays, the coat of arms of that last kingdom is still represented in the Spanish Coat of Arms.

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Torre del Oro in Seville

next to the river Guadalquivir

For a look, the globe; for a smile, the skies; and for a kiss… I don’t know what I’d give you for a kiss.

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

The Coat of Arms of the Emirate of Granada and the current Spanish Coat of Arms

Among other things, Andalusia is known for its traditional dance, flamenco. In addition, this is the Spanish region where the most olive oil is produced, especially around the city of Jaén.

Its past is a mixture of different cultures that settled in the territory and left their own mark. In fact, the oldest city in Europe is located here. It is called Cádiz, although originally its name was Gadir, and it was built more than 3000 years ago. Today, it is still inhabited.

As for other important cities, Granada and Seville are popular tourist destinations. In fact, Seville remains famous for its important historical harbor. The boats that sailed to America left from this city, and they had to stop at the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower) to be properly registered.

However, regardless of its rich past, there is no doubt that the people who left a deepest mark in Andalusia were the Moors. Their military buildings and palaces abound in the area, and the resulting cultural mixture gave birth to key elements of the Andalusian identity, such as flamenco and the Spanish guitar. What’s more, there are plenty of words in Spanish that have an Arabic origin (most of the ones that start with “al-”).

Architecturally speaking, one of the most important wonders built by the Moors is the Alhambra, in Granada, a true jewel that one needs to see at least once in life. Its unique design centers around water.

Nowadays, the TV series Game of Thrones has chosen Andalusia to represent Dorne and Dragonpit, using the Muslim palaces and Roman remains for the fantastic settings of the story.

The Generalife Palace, with its wonderful gardens, and the Patio of the Lions

Andalusian cuisine is very renowned, and it consists mostly of fish, seafood, vegetables, and oil. As a matter of fact, olive oil is the true protagonist in the kitchens of the region. If you have ever tried it, you know that it adds a very characteristic sunny flavor to the dishes, a sort of unique Mediterranean taste.

Some of Andalusia’s most famous dishes are garlic shrimp, Iberian ham or jamón, and something as simple and tasty as a slice of crusty bread with olive oil. Now, you can enjoy the authentic Andalusian garlic shrimp without leaving your home, only at St. Vicent Spanish Cuisine!

The Royal Alcázar of Seville, where Game of Thrones was filmed.