Seville's cathedral with the coffin of Columbus

Keushkerian Showcases Tourist Attractions of Andalusia, Spain at TCA Beshgetourian Center

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ALTADENA, Calif. – On September 17, Kevork Keushkerian, who recently visited Andalusia, Spain, delivered a PowerPoint presentation on his visit at the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) Beshgetourian Center Hall in Altadena. The event was organized by the Glendale-Pasadena Chapter of Tekeyan Cultural Association, and concluded with a reception.

Keushkerian presented the historic background to the Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula. The Arabs, under the leadership of Berber General Tariq ibn Ziyad, invaded the Iberian Peninsula in the year 711 with a force of 7,000 soldiers.

After an occupation of 780 years, the Arabs were defeated by and relinquished power to the Castilian-Aragonese forces in the year 1491. On January 2, 1492, the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, took over Granada. Thus, a new era of Christian rule started in the Iberian Peninsula.

Several of Andalusia Spain’s famous tourist attractions dot the landscape of the following cities: Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo, and Madrid, the capital of Spain.

Seville has two main attractions: St. Mary of the See Cathedral and Alcazar, the palace. The Cathedral was built on the ruins of the old mosque and contains the tomb of Columbus. The building of the Alcazar palace started in 1811 and took 500 years for completion. Some of the scenes of TV’s “Game of Thrones” are shot there.

Granada’s main attraction is the Alhambra (meaning “the red” in Arabic), the palace on the hill. It was built in the 11th century and was used as a military fort until the 13th century, when it was transformed into a palace. As a palace, it was first inhabited by King Muhammad I and then by the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II.

Alhambra Palace in Granada

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Another attraction is Al-Bayazine (“les Misérables” in Arabic), which is located on another hill across from the palace. This is where the Moors established inhabitance when they were driven out of the palace by the order of Queen Isabella. This neighborhood is now famous for its many taverns and restaurants that serve authentic Spanish menus.

Granada’s cathedral is built in the 16th century, on the ruins of the big mosque. Next to it is the chapel that contains the tombs of Queen Isabell I and King Ferdinand II.

Cordoba has a few attractions: The Roman bridge, the Alcazar palace and the Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption. The Cathedral, which was the Great Mosque during the Muslim rule, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The cathedral covers an area of 460 by 280 feet, and is built on 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch. The double arches were a new introduction to architecture, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns.

The cathedral in Cordoba

Toledo is a walled city not far from Madrid. It is famous for the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, built by Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II. By the order of the Queen, the iron chains used on the captured Christian slaves are hanging high off the building’s exterior, symbolizing freedom and independence.

Toledo’s main cathedral contains the biggest chalice in the world, “Corpus Christi,” which means Body of Christ.

Madrid has many touristic attractions like the Prado museum, where one could enjoy, among others, the works of Goya. Then there is Picasso’s museum, the Royal Palace, and the Cathedral. The Bull Fight Arena is especially attractive, because there you could see the same architectural style as the Cathedral of Cordoba.

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