ICS Field Trips
Each semester, ICS students have the opportunity to participate in four distinct and fascinating excursions. These organized trips are to: Córdoba, Granada, Jerez/Bolonia (FALL) or Ronda (SPRING), and Morocco. All visits are given in English.
Córdoba is a town of considerable charm, known widely for its beautifully flowered courtyards, its narrow cobblestoned streets, its secluded niches and tiny workshops where silversmiths create fine jewelery and, of course, for its impressive history which once exemplified harmony among cultures. For centuries, Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in peaceful coexistence.
But Córdoba is most known throughout the world for its magnificent decorative architecture, as seen in the great Mosque.
Situated at an hour and a half north of Seville today Córdoba is a minor provincial capital, but it was once the largest city of Roman Spain, and for three centuries formed the heart of the western Islamic empire, the great medieval caliphate of the Moors. The heyday of the Córdoba caliphate came in the 10th Century. While parts of Europe languished in the Dark Ages, Córdoba became a center of advanced learning in sciences, medicine, philosophy and poetry. Together with Baghdad and Constantinople, it was considered one of the three greatest cities in the world. In this city, where Seneca studied, there developed a stream of illustrious thinkers among them Averroes, the Arabian scholar, and Maimónides, the Jewish philosopher.
In Córdoba, ICS students are taken on tour of the famous Mezquita, or Mosque, begun in the year 785 and extended through the 10th Century. It is the third largest in the world and is considered unparalleled for the beauty of its architecture and the vastness of its dimensions as well as the sumptuousness of its decoration. It is also one of the greatest historical landmarks of Spain.
After the Mosque, students walk through the heart of the old city, the former Jewish quarters, with its labyrinth of winding streets, passing whitewashed houses and flowered patios to the Ancient Jewish Synagogue, one of the three ancient synagogues still in existence in Spain. This small Mudéjar-style synagogue, built in 1315, was one of 26 that once stood in the city. Fortunately, one can still appreciate segments of Hebraic inscriptions on the walls. The upper gallery where women were seated, and the niche where the Torah was kept are still intact.
To complete the guided visit to medieval Córdoba, ICS students are taken to see the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, or Christian palace-fortress. The Alcázar, constructed in 1328 on the site of a former caliphal fortress which was itself built on Roman foundations, was used for a number of years as the residence of the Catholic monarchs during their campaign to conquer Granada from the Moors. It later became the seat of the Inquisition. After touring the Alcázar and its splendid gardens, with its fountains, pools and wealth of flowers and shrubbery students are given the rest of the day free to explore this uniquely sublime city.
Jerez and Bolonia
The city of Jerez- founded by the Greeks under the name of Xera- was shipping highly prized wine to distant Rome in clay amphoras two millennia ago. The Muslims introduced distillation for medicinal purposes and under their 500-year domination the wine industry prospered. It was after the Reconquista in the 14th Century, however, that the industry we know today truly began. At this time, British merchants established firms, or bodegas, in Jerez and neighboring towns and created the “Solera” system to produce a distinctive style of wine.
Baelo Claudia was founded by the Romans at the end of the second century BC. The city grew as a result of trade with North Africa and preserves the most representative elements of a typical Roman city. The salting factories, for the famous ‘garum’ that gave Baelo Claudio its nickname, still remain, as does the market, the baths and one of the three aqueducts that supplied water, as well as remnants of stores, and a theater. In the middle of the 2nd century, however, the town declined, probably as a result of a major earthquake and the continuous assaults of pirates. By the 6th Century the town had been abandoned.
All of this stands on the most beautiful shoreline of fine white sand and sparkling blue water. We will have a picnic lunch here.
Upon arrival in Ronda we will first visit the main garden area of town, called “La Alameda del Tajo”, inaugurated in 1806. It is an excellent woodland from which we will view the spectacular views at its main lookout point, a narrow gorge more than 150 meters deep. We will continue on to the Orson Welles Walkway and follow it to Ronda’s emblematic Bullring, one of the oldest in Spain and considered cradle of contemporary bullfighting. Here we shall enter to make a visit. Afterwards, we will walk through the gardens of Blas Infante, and the Walkway of Ernest Hemingway over to the “New Bridge”, a magnificent 18th C. construction which is now universally considered the other of Ronda’s two most famous monuments.
We will walk through the beautiful Cuenca gardens over to the 17th C. “Old Bridge”, the 11th C. “Arab Bridge” and the 13th C. Arab baths. We will visit the Palace of Marques de Salvatierra, a singular Renaissance construction, and the 14th C. minaret from the Muslim mosque turned Christian church of San Sebastián. We will walk through the stately gardens of the Plaza Duquesa where we will see Ronda’s Town Hall and Main Church. Through the magnificent Palace of Mondragón we will walk to “El Campillo” lookout poin where will see the most breathtaking sights of all, contemplating the sierra of Grazalema. Finally, we will walk down the picturesque Street of Tenorio over to the Plaza de España, where our tour will end.
To begin this two-day visit to the city of Granada, ICS students are taken to The Alhambra palace, universally recognized as the most beautiful example of Arab art of all times and places. Built in the 10th Century on the highest point of the city, the Alhambra is filled with the most elaborately decorated rooms and halls and is surrounded by imposing military stone walls and towers.
Next to the Alhambra palace is located the “Generalife” palace, or Summer residence of the Nazarite sovereigns. In its magnificent gardens one cannot help but admire the varied abundance of flowers and vegetation intermixed with an incessant playing of water through its many fountains and natural falls. Upon completion of this professionally guided tour, the ICS motor coach drives the group to the downtown area where check-in at a local hotel takes place. Students are given free time for the rest of the day.
The following morning, students are taken to the Royal Chapel, constructed by order of the Catholic monarchs in 1504 for their future burial place. ICS students visit the magnificently-carved tombs of Queen Isabel and King Fernando, as well as those of Juana La Loca, and Felipe El Hermoso. In addition, within the Chapel they have the opportunity to contemplate important works of art in the form of painting and sculpture as well as King Fernando’s original sword and army banner. For its most impressive size and quality “The Passion” triptych by Dierek Bouts, situated on the High Altar, is the most important pictorial work of art of Granada. Once outside, students never fail to appreciate the imposing facade of the Chapel, a perfect example of the Spanish Plateresque style of architecture. To complete the group visit of Granada students are taken on a guided walking tour of the Albaicín, or the ancient Moorish quarters of the city, after which free time is given.
During our three-day trip to Morocco we will visit the cities of Tangier, Chefchauen, and Tetuan.
We leave from Seville in private bus to the port city of Algeciras. From there we cross the Straight of Gibraltar to the city of Ceuta in the fast ferry. Our first visit will be to the city of Tangier, a Moroccan port city on the Strait of Gibraltar, which has been a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since Phoenician times. Its whitewashed hillside medina is home to the Dar el Makhzen, a palace of the sultans turned museum of Moroccan artifacts. The medina also has dozens of outdoor cafes, such as those along the Terrasse des Paresseux balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. Students will enjoy a walking tour of the city and a camel ride on the beach of Cape Spartel. Dinner will be at our four star hotel.
On the second day we will visit the blue city of Chefchauen where we will have a guided tour of the old town, stop at a typical handmade carpet co-op, and have a picturesque hike up a mountain to the Old Mosque. We will have lunch together at the beautiful Parador and then have free time for shopping. Afterwards, we will travel to the city of Tetuan where we will enjoy a most memorable Fantasy Dinner Show with Moroccan musicians and dancers.
On the third day of our trip we will have a guided tour of the old town of Tétouan. The Berber name means literally “the eyes” and figuratively “the water springs”. Tétouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea where we will visit the shops in the Medina and the natural Berber pharmacy.
We will travel back to Ceuta where we will have a picnic lunch, take the fast ferry to Algeciras and return to Seville.
ICS Field Trips include:
- Roundtrip transportation on first class motorcoach.
- Entrance fees to the different monuments.
- Guided tours in English of these monuments.
- In the case of Granada, overnight in a hostal.
- In the case of Morocco, two nights in a hotel
Attendance on the trips is non-transferable to a second party. All meals included*. No reimbursement for non-attended trips or transportation expenses if students miss the official bus.
*Córdoba, Ronda, and Jerez/Bolonia include home stay packed lunch