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An Archaeological Study Tour
Spain: Megaliths, Moors & Conquistadors
15 Days
September 30 - October 14, 2012
Led by Prof. Ronald Messier, Middle Tennessee State University

Book this tour before August 31, 2012 and save! Call us!

The Iberian Peninsula forms a cultural bridge between Europe and North Africa, whose influences left a distinctly African ambience, particularly in the south of Spain. As the westernmost outpost of the Old World, Spain is a treasury of ancient remains, from cave paintings of prehistoric man and the oldest megalithic monuments in Europe to the ancient cities left by the Greeks and Romans. Conquerors and immigrants (Iberians, Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Jews and Arabs), attracted by its wealth of natural resources, settled in Spain, contributing to the rich legacy of the Spanish civilization. The Christian reconquest of Spain from Islam during the Middle Ages led to the Age of Discovery, the conquest of the New World and the establishment of the largest and wealthiest empire the world had ever seen. This wealth was used to build magnificent cities. We shall explore choice examples of the most important archaeological and historical monuments from these civilizations, study their artifacts in museums, and ponder the development of art and architectural styles from the earliest period to modern times. In addition, we will stroll in the winding lanes of medieval cities and the white-washed villages of Andalusia and sample Spain’s unique cuisine.

Sunday, September 30: Independent departures from various gateway cities. Archaeological Tours will be happy to assist tour members in making their flight arrangements.

Monday, October 1: MADRID: The tour begins in the afternoon with a walking tour through the historical quarter of the city. This evening we will meet with Professor Messier for an orientation lecture and dinner at our hotel, Tryp Ambassador.
Meals: Dinner

Tuesday, October 2: MADRID: After breakfast we will meet for a full morning at the Archaeological Museum, which has among its treasures the magnificent “Dama de Elche” and the fine 4th-century BC goddess figure known as “Dama de Baza.” The Altamira frescoes have been reproduced in a simulated cave in the courtyard. The day ends with a visit to the world-famous Prado Museum and to explore its wonderful collection of Spanish and Flemish Art.
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Wednesday, October 3: TOLEDO: A short drive south brings us to **Toledo, where our full day of touring will include the historical remains of the Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Jews, all of whom left their mark on this delightful city. As buses are not permitted within the walls of the old city, we will spend the day walking along the cobbled stone streets. We will visit the Cathedral, the two famous Synagogues, now museums, as well as the El Greco House and the lovely Church of San Roman, now a small Visigoth museum.Our hotel, San Jose de los Reyes, is situated in the heart of the old city.
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Thursday, October 4: MÉRIDA: Today’s destination is Mérida, capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, stopping in **Cáceres for lunch at the Parador and a walking tour of this charming medieval city. The remainder of the day will be spent touring **Mérida’s Roman remains, including the amphitheater, which seated 15,000 spectators, and the theater. We will also see the Alcazaba and the well-preserved aqueduct. We will overnight in the Hotel Velda Merida.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Friday, October 5: CÓRDOBA: After completing our touring in Mérida and visiting the Archaeological Museum, we continue south to Córdoba, stopping for lunch at the Parador de Zafra. Our hotel for the next two nights, Hotel Eurostars Conquistador, is in the heart of the Old Quarter.
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Saturday, October 6: CÓRDOBA: Celebrated as the capital of Moorish Spain, **Córdoba still retains its mysterious character. We will spend the day studying all of the fine architectural monuments of this glorious period. Our tour begins with the Mezquita Cathedral, constructed in four phases by different rulers, each adding to the grandeur of this unique building. Touring continues at the pre-Inquisition Synagogue, the Archaeological Museum, the palace built by Abd al-Rahman III and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. The day ends at the Medina Azahara, built outside the city in 936 by Abd al-Rahman III. We will also find time to wander on our own through Córdoba's labyrinth of narrow streets in the Old Quarter.
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Sunday, October 7: GRANADA: After completing our touring in Córdoba we depart for Granada. Entering the Sierra Nevada, we wind our way through spectacular scenery to Granada. Time permitting we will stop to visit the Roman villa “El Redo” in Almedinilla. The next three nights will be at the Ma Alhamar Hotel, situated in the heart of the city within walking distance of restaurants and shops.
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Monday, October 8: GRANADA: A short drive from the hotel brings us uphill to the gates of the **Alhambra. We will tour all of the romantic palaces and gardens of the Alhambra, including the 14th-century Generalife and its museums. After lunch we will also explore the monuments of Granada itself, including the Cathedral and Royal Chapel, as well as the famous Gypsy quarter known as the Albaicín.
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Tuesday, October 9: GRANADA: This morning our touring will include the Carthusian monastery, Cartuja, renowned for its lovely sacristy, an outstanding example of Late Baroque. Our last stop of the morning will be at the 11th-century Moorish Baths. The afternoon will be at leisure to explore on our own.
Meals: Breakfast

Wednesday, October 10: SEVILLA: We drive south to Sevilla, capital of Andalucia. We will stop en route at Antequera, a megalithic necropolis consisting of dolmen impressive for their size and adorned with engravings of human figures. Our hotel for the next four nights is Hotel Vincci La Rabida, well situated in the old quarter, near sites and many small restaurants.
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Thursday, October 11: SEVILLA: Our touring begins with the huge **Gothic Cathedral and its unique La Giralda, built with ramps instead of steps so that a horse could make the climb. We will continue our touring in Sevilla at the Archaeological Museum, which houses the finds from Italica and unique Iberian sculpture and Plaza de España, with tile murals depicting each of Spain’s provinces. Touring ends at the the 14th-century **Alcázar, still in use as a royal residence.
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Friday, October 12: SEVILLA: Our last day of touring brings us to Italica, birthplace of Hadrian and the poet Silius Italicus. This ancient city is considered to be an excellent example of Imperial Roman city planning. After visiting the Fernando Marmolejo Municipal Museum, we continue to the Roman necropolis at Carmona to study the tombs, some of which are so magnificent and well appointed that they rival patrician villas. After lunch at the beautiful Carmona Parador, we return to Sevilla.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Saturday, Sunday, October 13 & 14: SEVILLA: Our last day will be completely at leisure. There will be time to explore the lovely Barrio de Santa Cruz on our own before we gather for our farewell dinner at one of Sevilla’s fine restaurants. Sunday, we will transfer to the airport for our departure flights.
Meals: Breakfast

This tour may be combined with our Morocco tour October 14 - 28, also led by Professor Messier.


map of Spain