Archive for August, 2007


Language and Culture

From September 17-30 Academia Hispanica is running our thrice yearly Language and Culture course.

This course is specially designed for adults who want to make the most of a two-week stay in Cordoba to combine learning Spanish with an in-depth knowledge of the culture, history, monuments and traditions of one of the most beautiful and best preserved historical cities in Andalucia. Cordoba has been declared a World Heritage city by the UNESCO and is competing for the title of 2016 European City of Culture.

We have arranged a complete programme of activities both inside and outside the city, with talks to prepare our students for the places they will visit. The guided tours follow the trail of the city’s historical monuments, left by the civilizations which have populated Cordoba over the centuries (Romans, Moslems, Jews and Christians) and the old Jewish Quarter (La Judería), with its fascinating network of narrow streets which take us back to bygone days. The guided excursions are to Seville, and to white villages in the province, where you will be able to visit the Montilla wine cellars, the pottery workshops in La Rambla, the museum of olive oil in Baena, the castle and village of Almodovar and the ruined city-palace of Medina Azahara.

The program includes: • three guided visits in the city • one full-day excursion (Saturday) • 2 half-day excursions • 2 talks in school about the city, its history, customs and traditions. • one evening out with the teacher

Price: Language & Culture 520 € • Spanish Course Timetable: Monday to Friday 10.00 – 13.00 • Starting Dates: September17th 2007, March 3th 2008, May 5th 2008 & September 15th 2008

Other Notes: – classes per week: 15 x 55 minutes – length: 2 weeks – maximum no. of students: 8; minimum 4 – level: low intermediate to advanced –

Please note that the price does not include accommodation.



Cultural Agenda

Here is a brief look at what is going on in Córdoba in the upcoming weeks.

Learn how to cut a Spanish jamon, view an exposition, rock out at Eutopia 07 or bust a gut with a Spanish comic – All right here in Córdoba!


Tipo de actividad Exposiciones

Actividad “Desnudos académicos”

Lugar Museo de Bellas Artes

Organiza Museo de Bellas Artes

Hasta 30/09/2007

martes 4 septiembre

Tipo de actividad Música

Proyecto Noches Flamencas en el Casco Histórico

Actividad Cante: Carmen Marín

Guitarra: Patrocinio Hijo

Baile: Clara María Gutiérrez

Lugar Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Horario 22,00 h.

Precio Entrada libre hasta completar aforo

Organiza Consorcio de Turismo de Córdoba

lunes 10 septiembre

Tipo de actividad Otras Actividades

Actividad Curso de corte de jamón (iniciación)

Lugar Escuela de Hostelería de Córdoba

Horario 17,00 a 21,00 h.

Organiza Escuela de Hostelería de Córdoba

Hasta 12/09/2007


viernes 14 septiembre

Tipo de actividad Otras Actividades

Actividad “Eutopia 07” (Festival Internacional de la creación joven)

más información en

Organiza Junta de Andalucía-Instituto Andaluz de la Juventud

Hasta 22/09/2007


miércoles 19 septiembre

Tipo de actividad Teatro

Actividad Las noches de Paramount Comedy

Cómicos: José Juan Vaquero, Iñaki Urrutia y Paco Calavera

Lugar Gran Teatro

Horario 21,00 h.

Precio de 5 a 18 €

Organiza Paramount Comedy Channel


Speaking Andaluz

The other day I came across this video. Enjoy!




Me, the person that writes this blog, is going on vacation for a bit. Just a warning in case you hate looking at un-updated pages.

I’m going to Cádiz, like lots of Spaniards! If you’ve never been, it’s definitely a lot of fun. This province hasn’t sold out to huge developers (as much) so there are still great secluded beaches to be found.

My favorites are Caños de Meca, La Caleta (Cádiz city’s beach), or Bolonia (near Tarifa) – although I don’t think anyone would call these beaches secluded.

I hope you are having a great summer! See you in September.


Eutopia 07, Córdoba

In September Cordoba hosts Eutopia 07. From the 14th till the 22nd there are concerts, workshops, poetry and art expositions – created by young artists from over 21 countries.

This festival celebrates the creations of art from youth worldwide. Certain utopian music nights will feature destinations such as Africa and Japan. Other nights will celebrate music from closer to home – flamenco and hip-hop.

All in all, this is an event not to miss – and not just for the “big-name concerts” like Fangoria, Travis, Los Ronaldos and Najwa Jean.

For more information check out the website.



Academia Hispanica wants to be able to communicate with our students- past, present and future- hence the point of this blog! In addition though we will be sending out a newsletter with updates, news, special events and offers. If you would like to receive this e-newsletter all you have to do is send us a quick e-mail to be added to our list (you can use to form below).

If you are a Spanish student (past of future) we’d love to hear from you too!


Cordoba displays its culture at midnight

Wandering the art deco streets of Cordoba in southern Spain, I’m drawn to a commotion on a square. It’s almost midnight — everyone’s out, savoring a cool evening. Short men with raspy tobacco voices and big bellies — called “curvos de felicidad” (happiness curves) — jostle and bark as a dozen little schoolgirls rattle a makeshift stage, working on their sultry. Even with cell phones, iPods, and straight teeth, Andalucia’s flamenco culture survives.

Cordoba, the number three city in Andalucia (after Granada and Sevilla) for sightseeing, is visited mostly for its Mezquita, a vast mosque with a cathedral built in its middle. A touristy zone of shops and tour group-friendly restaurants surrounds that Mezquita, one of the glories of Moorish Spain. Beyond that, there are almost no crowds. And late at night there are fewer tourists yet.

Avoiding tourist crowds is important these days, especially when traveling in peak season to popular destinations like Cordoba. If you eat late and don’t mind the smoke, only happy locals surround you. I’ve noticed that in Spain, a restaurant recommended in all the guidebooks may feel like a tourist trap — filled with Americans — at eight or nine o’clock, but by 11 p.m., tourists head for their hotels and the locals retake their turf. I’ve also noticed that some restaurateurs are pleased to have their best eating zone be the smoking zone — the intended result: a hardy local following — with very few tourists. Any traveler willing to brave the smoke, which isn’t that bad, will do well here.

And, as anywhere, just wandering the back streets gets you all alone with the town. Exploring the residential back lanes of old Cordoba you can catch an evocative whiff of the old town before the recent affluence hit. As you explore, be a keen observer.

Streets are narrow, designed to provide much appreciated shade. To keep things even cooler, walls are whitewashed and thick, providing a kind of natural air-conditioning. To counter the boring whitewash, doors and windows are colorful. Iron grills cover the windows. Historically these were more artistic, now more practical, a reminder of the persistent gap through the ages between rich and poor. Stone bumpers on corners protected buildings against reckless drivers. As you’ll see, scavenged secondhand ancient Roman pillars worked well. Lanes are made of river-stone cobbles: cheap and local. They provided drains down the middle of a lane while flanked by smooth stones that stayed dry for walking. Remnants of old towers from minarets survive, built into today’s structures. Muslim Cordoba peaked in the 10th century with an estimated 400,000 people, and lots of now-mostly-gone neighborhood mosques.

In Cordoba, patios are taken very seriously. That’s especially clear each May when a fiercely competitive contest is held to pick the city’s most picturesque. Patios, a common feature of houses throughout Andalucia, have a long history. The Romans used them to cool off, and the Moors added lush, decorative touches. The patio functioned as a quiet, outdoor living room, an oasis from the heat. Inside elaborate ironwork gates, roses, geraniums, and jasmine spill down whitewashed walls, while fountains play and caged birds sing. Individuals own some patios; some are communal courtyards for several homes and some grace public buildings like museums or convents.

Today, homeowners take pride in these mini-paradises, and have no problem sharing them with tourists. Keep an eye out for square metal signs that indicate historic homes. As you stroll Cordoba’s back streets, pop your head into any wooden door that’s open. The owners (who keep their inner black iron gates locked) enjoy showing off their picture-perfect patios. A concentration of Cordoba’s previous patio-contest award-winners runs along Calle San Basilio and Calle Martin Roa, just across from the Alcazar’s gardens.

Well after midnight, my cultural scavenger hunt is over and the city finally seems quiet. I climb into my bed. Just as I dose off, a noisy and multi-generational parade rumbles down the cobbled lane that I thought promised a good night’s sleep. Standing in my underwear and wrapped in the drapes, I peer secretively out my window. Below a band of guitars and castanets with a choir of those raspy tobacco voices funnels down my narrow alley. Grandmothers — guardians of a persistent culture — make sure the children pick up their Andalusian traditions. I feel like a Peeping Tom until one woman looks up at me, catches my eye, and seems to nod as if satisfied that I was witnessing the persistent richness of their traditional culture.

Rick Steves writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. E-mail him at, or check out his website at

[article re-posted with permission]

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