The trail of Columbus in Huelva
Huelva does not appear much on travelers’ radars and perhaps it has to do with its discreet situation: hidden in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, in the westernmost part of Andalusia, next to Portugal and nestled between the rivers Tinto and Odiel. It was precisely its location, coastal and seafaring facing the ocean, which led Columbus to set sail for America. After caming to an agreement with King Fernando and Queen Isabel of Spain the expedition departured from the shores of Huelva, but the places this famous explorer visited before and after the Discovery are worth a post and of course a visit.
Discovering Huelva, as Columbus did one day, is an exciting, must-do and unpostponable journey. Discover the so-called Lugares Colombinos, a route declared a Historic-Artistic Site, which runs around Moguer and Palos de la Frontera. Andalusian places that had a special relevance in the preparation and realization of the first Christopher Columbus’ voyage that led to the Discovery of America. It’s a way of paying tribute to these brave men who on August 3, 1492 embarked on one of the most incredible adventures in universal history.
Palos de la Frontera
It was at the pier of Palos de la Frontera where Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World in 1492. Port of departure and mother of the sailors, Palos de la Frontera continues to remember the great discovery from its port. Today, and after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, the configuration of the dock is not the same as the sailors saw when they embarked on their adventure.
However, you can approach to observe the monolith in front of the door of San Jorge (St. George). The names of the sailors who set sail for unknown lands have been engraved on it for centuries. Also the Mudejar fountain, known as the Fontanilla, declared a National Monument because Columbus used it to get water for the long voyage. Finally, on the main street of the town the restored house of the famous Pinzón brothers, important sailors of the Discovery, can be visited.
Very close to Palos de la Frontera, just 7 kilometers up the Tinto River, you will reach Moguer, a roman villa and birthplace of Juan Ramón Jiménez. Once there you can visit the museum of the famous author of Platero y yo with his private library, consisting of more than 4,000 books and 7,500 magazines. Not only will you discover the importance of this author in world literature, but also the great stories that are told about his human greatness.
Continuing the route through the Huelva of the Discovery, surrounded by strawberry fields, you will find the Monastery of Santa Clara. It was here that Columbus kept vigil for a whole night, fulfilling his vow to escape unharmed from a storm that almost sank the caravel Niña off the Azores.
Muelle de las Carabelas
Walk along the course of the Tinto River to where its waters mingle with those of the Odiel River, and discover the Muelle de las Carabelas. A theme park where three faithful replicas of the famous caravels to which sailors were entrusted to cross the 16,000 kilometers of ocean are exhibited.
The nao Santa María and the caravels Pinta and Niña were built in 1992 to celebrate the V Centenary of the Discovery of America. Undoubtedly, one of the main attractions of the visit is being able to climb aboard the three caravels to see their interiors, go down into their holds or enter Christopher Columbus’ cabin. You can complete your visit to the Muelle de las Carabelas in the interpretation room, observing the navigation instruments, equipment and other curiosities of the Discovery.
Behind the pier, on the hill, stands the Monastery of La Rábida, where the greatest adventure of mankind until then was made step by step. The most beautiful part of the complex is the Mudejar cloister, with its brick arches full of geraniums. Also very colorful is the Vázquez Díaz room, which was covered by this painter from Nerva in 1930, with frescoes depicting scenes of the discovery.
In the library there is a copy of the world map of Juan de la Cosa in which the American coast appears for the first time. In the gardens of the monastery you will find a monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus and the Column of the Discoverers, carved with figures and scenes related to the discovery and colonization of America.
Foods of the New World
Gastronomy owes much to the discovery of America. The beginning of trade and exchange of products between the two continents modified the Mediterranean diet. In the New World there was an original and varied gastronomic culture, based on the use of local products such as chili peppers, fish, fruits and vegetables, as well as their own techniques for stews and roasts.
From America came foods such as corn, tomatoes, beans, potatoes and green peppers, fundamental products in traditional recipes. In addition to cocoa, turkey, avocado, peanuts, quinoa and various tropical fruits. It is impossible to imagine traditional Spanish or European recipes without these four basic dishes: Andalusian gazpacho, fabada, the famous “tortilla de patatas” (potato omelette) or Padrón peppers ” some hot and some not”.
We are sure that you will return from this excursion -less than an hour drive from AMA Residences Andalucía– with your craving for history satiated and knowing a little better the culture and heritage of Huelva.
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