History is piled high in Andalucía. Moorish citadels sit on top of Roman mosaics, a 16th-century cathedral crouches in the middle of a 10th-century mosque, and everywhere there is a sense of civilisation constantly renewing itself in the fierce Mediterranean sun. Our seven-day trip takes in all the principal sites – of Muslim al-Andalus that flourished here for nearly eight hundred years, and those produced under Christian rule following the Reconquista – and includes some of the most delicate and richly-decorated monuments in Europe. Most exciting of all is the sense of cultural and artistic fusion. When the Christian and Islamic worlds overlapped – as at the Alcázar in Seville - the results were often staggeringly beautiful.
We begin at 4pm in our Málaga hotel, with the opening lecture – followed by a tour of the Museo Carmen Thyssen (19th- and early 20th-century Spanish art), and dinner together.
The morning starts at the Alcázar, and continues in the elegant and airy Museo Picasso. Later, in Granada, we visit the cathedral and the flamboyantly Gothic Capilla Real, final resting place of Ferdinand and Isabella. Second lecture at our hotel.
The day belongs to the Alhambra – jewel of Islamic Al-Andalus – with the Palacios Nazaríes our main focus. Their delicate chambers and courtyards rank amongst Europe’s finest mediaeval monuments. We finish at the gardens of the Generalife, before returning to the hotel for our third lecture.
Drive to Córdoba. We start with the Madinat-al-Zahra – site of a vast 10th-century palace just outside the city. Under Islamic rule, early-mediaeval Córdoba was the richest and most cultured city in Europe. Visit the extraordinary Mezquita.
Our second day in Córdoba includes La Judería (the old Jewish Quarter), and the Alcázar. We finish with the extensive Roman collections at the Museo Arqueológico, before transferring to Seville.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Seville was the beating heart of the Spanish Empire. But its most beautiful monument is the Alcázar, built in the 14th century by Moorish architects for the Christian king, Pedro I. Other highlights include Spain’s largest Gothic cathedral, and an exquisite Mudéjar mansion, the Casa de Pilatos.
Our final morning is spent at the magnificent Museo de Bellas Artes. The trip ends at the hotel by 12pm.
Dr Philippa Joseph
Following a successful career in academic publishing in the humanities, for five years Philippa was reviews editor on the magazine History Today. She is now an independent lecturer and researcher, as well tutor in art history at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, as well as an occasional lecturer for other organizations, such as the V&A. Philippa’s research interests look broadly at the many societies and cultures that have made Andalucía, Sicily, and the rest of the Mediterranean basin, such rich and fascinating regions, leaving each with an exceptionally rich and diverse architectural and artistic legacy.
Prices, per person
£1,795 per person sharing in a double room
£1,900 for one person in a double room
Flights are not included
Accommodation and meals
Included meals: daily breakfasts and two dinners (with wine).
This is a wide-ranging trip, based in four different hotels. In each city, we will be on our feet for extended periods, sometimes walking uphill or over uneven ground. A good level of fitness is essential.
There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.
Joining and leaving the trip
Flights are not included, you make your own way to and from the starting and finishing point of the trip. British Airways flies from London Heathrow to Málaga. There are also direct flights with Norwegian Air from Gatwick, EasyJet from Luton and Ryanair from Stansted. Take a taxi from the airport or the airport express bus (line A) to the city centre. From Seville, Iberia flies to London Heathrow via Madrid, and Ryanair flies directly to London Stansted. There is a flight with British Airways to London Gatwick on Sunday 28th October. Please contact CTC for extra nights at the hotel in Seville. The airport can be reached by taxi, or the express bus (line EA) departing from Plaza de Armas. Please note CTC does not arrange international or domestic travel.
Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before you book to make sure you are happy with the advice for the places you are visiting.