Steve's World Blog Information and articles on cities, towns and villages around the world.

September 16, 2009

The Republic of Malta

Filed under: Holidays,malta,Travel — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 3:24 pm

The Republic of Malta is an archipelago of seven islands situated centrally in the Mediterranean Sea, around 93 kilometres south of Sicily and 288 kilometres north of the African coast. The three main islands are Malta itself, Gozo and Comino, the total population is about 420,000 quite high for its relatively small area of just 316 square kilometres. Boasting 7,000 years of captivating history, Malta is a great location for culture hounds who will find plenty to interest and amaze them, sun lovers will also not be disappointed with Malta weather being wonderfully sunny and dry for most of the year, hot summers, followed by mild pleasant winters, beach lovers are also well catered for as Malta’s 200 kilometres of coastline is studded with beautiful sandy beaches. Most impressive of Malta’s attributes is its friendly population, who always have a smile and a warm welcome for visitors to the island. Map of Malta.

September 14, 2009

Velez-Malaga Costa del Sol

Filed under: Costa del Sol,Spain — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 2:36 pm

Known simply as Velez to the locals, the town of Velez-Malaga is the capital of the Axarquia district of the Malaga province of Andalucia in Spain. Located a little inland from the seaside area of Torre del Mar, Velez-Malaga is a significant market town surrounded by agricultural land where large quantities of olives, vines and salad crops are grown. The story of the town stretches back to pre-history and was no doubt settled prior to the Roman times when it was known as Menoba. Further expanded and developed by the Moors (who called it Ballix-Malaga) it became an important centre for trade and commerce. Its 13th century fortified castle overlooks the town from its lofty position on a hill, other places to visit include the Palacio de los Marqueses de Beniel and the 13th century Iglesia de San Bautista. Velez-Malaga Map.

The Weather in Ibiza Spain

Filed under: Balearic Islands,Spain — Tags: , — needahand @ 12:55 pm

If you are looking for a place to visit with a great climate all year round then Ibiza in the Balearic Islands of Spain could be just the place for you. For spring or summer holidays, the island is perfect with Ibiza weather being sunny and dry most days between May and September, the temperature range is around 25° to 35° Centigrade and the water temperature is also excellent making it an ideal time to visit for families with children. In October and November things change a little with lower temperatures, more chance of some rain but still sunny for most of the time and still temperatures reaching the mid-twenties. In December and January you can still expect the weather in Ibiza to be sunny, though days are often crisp and fresh, making it great for hiking and cycling. In February, March and April, expect a little rain and some cool breezes but as Spring breaks and things start to hot up, summer is heading you way again. So whenever you are visiting Ibiza you can expect some excellent weather with plenty of sunshine to make your days brighter and more enjoyable.

Torremolinos Spain

Filed under: Costa del Sol,Holidays,Spain — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 11:27 am

Located about seven kilometres west of Malaga, the coastal resort and town of  Torremolinos, was, forty years ago, just a small fishing village with little of note to attract visitors. Since the 1960’s Torremolinos has developed as one of the most popular resorts on the Costa del Sol and along with neighbouring Fuengirola and Benalmadena attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. At one time having a reputation much like Benidorm, fish, chips and beer, Torremolinos is gradually evolving into a better class of resort and has some excellent shopping facilities, improved, clean beaches, and a very vibrant nightlife scene which of course appeals to the younger generation. There is of course plenty for visitors of all ages, with facilities for children and a huge range of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes. A big attraction is the wonderful Torremolinos weather, which is pleasant all year round, being especially hot and dry in the summer months and mild (watch out for the chilly wind though) during the winter. Easily accessed from Malaga airport, Torremolinos is an ideal location for the purchase of a holiday home or a rental investment property, and has a large expat community, making the Brits especially feel at home (but with sun!). Torremolinos Map.

Malaga Costa del Sol

Filed under: Costa del Sol,History,Spain — Tags: , , , , , , , — needahand @ 10:04 am

Located in the Spanish region of Andalucia, Malaga is the 2nd largest city in that region, also considered as the capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga has a long history going back to its founding in around 1000 BC when established as a trading port by the Phoenicians. Famous as the birthplace of the celebrated painter Pablo Picasso, Malaga has a number of interesting places to visit including the Alcazaba, the Roman Ampitheatre and the cathedral which was started in the 16th century. Having the main airport for the region of course Malaga in one way or another welcomes most of the visitors to the Costa del Sol, the main road from Granada passes by the city and the port is still a busy commercial centre as it has been for many centuries. To the south of Malaga lie the popular coastal resorts of Torremolinos, Benalmadena and Fuengirola, further south is Marbella, Malaga together with all of these resorts attract huge number of visitors each year, attracted by the fine beaches, the superb Malaga weather and the variety of interesting places to visit.

Malaga Street Map.

Check out the latest weather in Malaga here: http://www.malaga-weather.spain-and-spanish.co.uk/

September 13, 2009

Seville and Utrera Andalucia

Filed under: Costa del Sol,History,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 7:11 am

A city with a population of around 700,000, Seville is one of the most important cities in southern Spain. Artistically, financially and culturally it is the hub of the region of Andalucia and is one of the most visited cities in Spain. Lying in the plain of the Guadalquivir river, Seville covers an area of 140 square kilometres and has a metropolitan population around double of that of the city itself. Historically, Seville is over two thousand years old and was called Hispalis during the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsular. There are still Roman remains to be found in and around Seville, one of the best known being the aqueduct. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, Seville fell successively into the hands of Vandal, Visigoths and Moors, but it was the Moors who had the greatest influence on the city, and it became a significant centre under the control of the Umayyad dynasty. It came back under Christian control in the mid-13th century. These days Seville is a popular tourist destination with plenty to see and do all year round, although as Seville weather can be extremely hot during July and August, these months are perhaps best avoided if possible. Among the best known attractions in the city are the cathedral, built between 1401 and 1519, the Alcazar, begun in the 12th century, the Torre del Oro (Golden Tower), the Town Hall, and the Plaza de Espana. Outside the city of Seville itself are some other interesting places to visit, one you could consider might be the town of Utrera, one of the main agricultural towns of the region and the area where many of the bulls, reared especially for bullfighting are bred and tended. Utrera was overrun by Alfonso X in the 13th century, as he prepared for his defeat of Seville. Worth a look in Utrera are the 14th century castle, the Iglesia de Santiago church and the church of Santa Maria. Seville Map.

September 12, 2009

Chelmsford and Colchester

Filed under: England,United Kingdom — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 4:30 pm

Two of the most ancient towns in the county of Essex, Colchester and Chelmsford are also amongst the oldest in Britain. Colchester, in fact, is claimed to be the oldest Roman Town in the British Isles and was actually the capital of Roman Britain until sacked by the great Boudica in 61AD. The Romans called the town Camulodunum and built a fortress of considerable importance, a later Anglo-Saxon settlement was overrun by Viking forces during the 9th century, and the Vikings remained in control until the area was re-taken by Edward the Elder in 920. Colchester Castle dates from the Norman occupation and was built upon earlier Roman ruins. Chelmsford is the county town of Essex and has a population of over 120,000, Chelmsford was also a significant Roman town, though it has been the site of human settlement since the Neolithic Era. The Romans called the town Caesaromagus and it developed around the fort which was constructed there. Chelmsford later became the seat of the local assize (13th century) and has been recognised as the county town since then. Chelmsford saw some decline in the late 20th century, though the town is now undergoing some rejuvenation. Essex Map.

Ronda Spain

Filed under: Costa del Sol,Spain — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 8:53 am

One of the most spectacularly situated cities in Spain, Ronda lies on both sides of the Rio Guadalevin, joined by three picturesque bridges, a stronghold of the Moors, it was not freed by the Christians until 1485. A must visit place for those holidaying on the Costa del Sol coastline, Ronda is located about 100 kilometres from the city of Malaga in the region of Andalucia. The spiritual home of bullfighting, Ronda has one of the oldest bullrings in Spain, built in 1785 it attracts bullfighting fans from all over Spain and in fact the world. Ronda Map.

September 11, 2009

Nerja Caves

Filed under: Costa del Sol,Spain,Travel — Tags: , — needahand @ 3:56 pm

If you are visiting the Andalucian coastal town of Nerja this year, be sure to take time out for a trip to the Nerja caves, a series of subterranean caverns located to the north-east of the town, used for human habitation some 20,000 years ago. The caves are now often used for holding concerts, which make the most of this natural ampitheatre’s fine acoustics. The Nerja caves were discovered by a group of pot-holers in 1959, the caves, divided into two major sections are open to the public who enter by way of a series of stairways and pathways.

More info on Nerja: Nerja Factfile.

And a guide to Nerja here: http://www.nerja.spain-and-spanish.co.uk/

Torrox Andalucia

Filed under: Costa del Sol,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 1:40 pm

One little town which is worth a visit if you are travelling to the Costa del Sol region of Andalucia in Spain, is the historic town of Torrox. Together with its coastal limb Torrox Costa, the town has a history going back to the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsular, when it was developed as a factory town. In Torrox Costa there are still remains of a Roman villa, a necropolis and also a thermal baths, however Torrox Costa today is a modern tourist resort with eight kilometres of beaches and coves and a charming promenade. The old town of Torrox built on a hillside some four kilometres inland was an important trading town for the Moors, specialising in silk production and sugar cane, other important products were almonds and figs. It is said to be the birthplace of the famous Arab leader Almanzor (938 AD), and a walk in its charming old back streets may whisk you back to these early times, take a look at the 16th century Franciscan convent and also the 19th century sugar cane factory. Torrox Map.

Menorca History

Filed under: Balearic Islands,History,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 12:02 pm

Just 25 miles to the north-east of Mallorca, lies the second largest of the Balearic Islands – Menorca (often called Minorca in the UK). Smaller and quieter than its better known neighbour, Menorca has a resident population of just 88,000 and mostly attracts visitors looking for peace and relaxation. Noted for its rugged coastline, Menorca has over 120 beaches, almost as many as Mallorca and Ibiza combined, many are located in secluded coves, well away from the popular resorts, the other big attraction of course is the climate, with the weather being pleasant all year round, with warm dry summers and mild winters.

The main towns of Menorca are the capital Mahon (Mao) and the former capital Ciutadella, Mahon is an attractive town with one of the best natural harbours in the Mediterranean, Ciutadella also has a busy harbour and is very picturesque, with its narrow, winding streets and grand palaces.

Menorca is particularly rich in megalithic structures, which provide evidence of the earliest inhabitants of the Balearic Islands. Possibly settled as early as 4000 BC, a civilisation known as the Talayotic flourished between 2000 and 1000 BC. The Talayots built many stone structures throughout the island, in the form of three main types – Taulas, consisting of 2 stones making a ‘T’ shape, possibly used as altars, Talayots, square or circular rock buildings which could have been dwellings or tombs, and Navetas, in the shape of upturned boats, again possibly used as dwellings.

Menorca and the Balearic Islands were later to become part of the Carthaginian trading empire, recruiting many of the islands famous ‘stone slingers’ into their armies as war approached with Rome. The islanders skill with sling and stone was legendary and it is likely that the name of the island group is derived from the Greek ballein “to throw”.

After the defeat of the Carthaginians by the Romans in the Punic Wars, the islands became an outpost for the Roman Empire, Menorca was renamed Balearis Minor, but seems to have held little importance for the Empire, which had more interest in the mainland. The Romans were replaced by the Goths, who were in turn replaced by the Vandals and the Visigoths, and there was little stability for the island until the arrival of the Moors in the 9th century. Arab rule continued until the 13th century, when Menorca finally came back under Christian control. Menorca and the other Balearic Islands suffered constant attacks by pirates over the following centuries, the fine harbour of Mahon being one of the main targets, in fact this was one of the priorities of the British when they took Menorca in 1708, during the War of Spanish Succession, in the process obtaining the superb harbour for the continued use of the British Royal Navy. Menorca was finally handed back to Spain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Menorca remained Republican while its neighbour Mallorca was held by the Nationalists under General Franco.

Menorca today is a popular holiday destination, which has mostly escaped the ravages of mass tourism, its peaceful family resorts and friendly population clinging to their ancient traditions and customs. Lingering British influence from their time there can be seen in the islanders preference for gin as opposed to wine which is normally favoured by the Spanish. The airport is located to the south of the capital Mahon (Mao) and is within easy driving distance of all of the main resorts and tourist centres, it is certainly worth hiring a car, so that you can locate some of the more out of the way beaches and also take a look at some of the best historical sites. Menorca Map.

September 10, 2009

Purullena Andalucia Spain

Filed under: Costa del Sol,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 6:35 pm

Well worth a visit if you are travelling through the Granada region of Andalucia, the small town of Purullena is renowned for its cave houses, which are dug into the clay hillsides of the Guadix plateau. Over half of the population of the town live in these unique cave houses and one of the cave owners has transformed his house into a living cave house museum, which you can look around to see the construction of the cave houses and learn about the history of the town. You actually walk through his house, where he lives with his wife and you can see a new room that he is constricting by simply digging out the clay with a pick. A shop adjoining the house has numerous mementos which you can purchase to remind you of your visit. A good spot to visit whilst on the way to the Costa del Sol or Costa Tropical and a nice change from the over developed coastal resorts of Andalucia, pop into Purullena for a taste of the “real” Spain.

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