Experience Moorish culture on a walking holiday in Spain

Tuesday, 3 January 2012 2:11 PM

There are plenty of places you might want to enjoy a specialist walking holiday in Spain, but if you are interested in finding out more about the country's cultural heritage, you might want to concentrate your visit on the region of Andalucia.

Taking a walking package holiday in Spain will give you the opportunity to explore the nation's beautiful and peaceful countryside. However, you don't have to venture to a city or town in order to see some interesting historical monuments, as there are plenty to discover in its rural areas as well.

For those interested in learning more about the Moorish influence on Spanish architecture, culture and food, it is worth heading to Andalucia, as this region has had a strong Arabic presence for many years.

Indeed, the Moors ruled Iberia - covering Spain, as well as Portugal and Andorra - for over eight centuries, so it is hardly surprising that much of the north African design still remains.

In Andalucia in particular, you will come across a number of Islamic-style buildings, demonstrating the group's influence on the region.

You can begin your walk in Alajar, which is Arabic for rock. Take a look at the breathtaking sight of the rolling mountains around you, as this is one of the best locations in the country to make the most of its rural landscape.

From here, you can traverse over the green hills and travel along the ancient mule tracks until you reach some local villages. You will be able to encounter Roman paths, showing you just how long these little locales have survived in the area.

If you are interested in seeing some of the best examples of Moorish architecture, you should trek to Finca. This small village is home to one of the last remaining rural mosques in the country and you will have the chance to see the distinct Islamic features that have influenced much of the other forms of architecture in the region.

You'll see more of this if you stop at Cartagena. As this town was ruled by Arabs for many years, you'll come across a variety of buildings, streets and courtyards that can also be seen in northern Africa.

Why not walk to Concepion Castle? This fort was once home to the Moors, as well as the Romans and Cathaginians, so you're sure to encounter a number of different architectural designs on a trip to the fortress.

Many of the little villages and towns you'll come across on your walking holiday, such as Castano de Robledo, are sure to contain buildings inspired by Moorish designs as well.

White stone houses decorated with mosaics, colourful tiles and lanterns are characteristic of many of the communities among Andalucia's hilltops, so you can expect to see a lot of them here.

The circular walk will bring you back to Alajar, and by this point in your journey you are sure to have a better understanding of why many of the local areas have cobbled streets, narrow roads and courtyards - because these designs were brought to Spain by the Moors.

There are so many opportunities to learn about Spain's interesting history, so make the most of your walking holidays and take the time to discover how its past has affected the country's architecture, religion, art, culture and food, from its busy cities right through to its rural communities.

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