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Metropolitan area of Huelva

The province of Huelva is divided into 6 distinct geographical areas called comarcas. The Comarca Metropolitana de Huelva comprises the metropolitan area that holds claim to having the port where one of the most important expeditions in history was organised and from where it departed. This is, of course, Columbus’ first voyage of discovery to America. The memory of this achievement is scattered throughout the streets of the region’s capital as well as shown by the monument to Christopher Columbus, which stands in the central Plaza de las Monjas.

Any walk through the city of Huelva should take us, at some point, to its cathedral. This Mercedarian temple was originally part of the convent dedicated to Santa Maria of Mercy but it was later converted to a cathedral in 1953, during the establishment of the new diocese of Huelva. The building has had multiple reconstructions due to two earthquakes in the second half of the 18th century, which caused great damage to the structure. The two bell gables that crown the cathedral’s façade are also later additions, built in the early 20th century.

There are a number of other buildings of interest that are dotted around the centre of Huelva such as, the palace of Mora. This elegant residence was designed by Moisés Serrano and the way in which he mixed modernist ornamental motifs with the vernacular architecture in such a harmonious manner makes it worthy of visit. Another impressive building is the city hall. Built in a neo-Herrerian style, the government building was constructed on the site of the old convent to San Francisco. Also worthy of praise is the beautiful Casa Colón hotel, which has been the home to the International Festival of Ibero-American Cinema since 1974.

Next to Casa Colón, you’ll find the Alameda Sundheim, which was the main artery where the bourgeoisie opted to build their residences in the first decade of the 20th century. The Museum of Huelva is housed on this avenue and it is worth a visit to go and look at its valuable collection of archaeological artefacts. The museum also contains an area that is dedicated to local contemporary artists and also an exhibition where you can learn about the mining history of the province.

At the end of Alameda Sundheim, you’ll find Barrio Reina Victoria. This neighbourhood, which forms a kind of city within the city, was constructed in 1916 for the workers of the Rio Tinto Limited Company. The company was in charge of extracting the Rio Tinto mining deposits between 1873 and 1954. The architecture that is found in this part of the city is heavily influenced by English styles, though you can still see elements and nuances from the local traditions.

For those of you who would like to learn more about Columbus’s discovery of America and visit the places of special interest related to the man, then a visit across the Tinto River to Moguer and its surroundings is a must. In this small city you’ll find Santa Clara’s convent, which is the site where Columbus swore fealty to the Catholic Kings. A short way down the A-5025, you’ll come to Palos de la Frontera where Columbus’ ships set sail and where you can visit the House of Martin Alonso Pinzón, who was the captain of the famous caravel, La Pinta. Inside the small city, you can visit La Rábida Monastery, which provided accommodation to the Genovese navigators prior to the expedition. A short walk from the monastery will get you to the Wharf of the Caravels where you’ll be able to contemplate the staggering reconstructions of the famous vessels, the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa Maria, which set sail across the Atlantic in the august of 1492. The reconstructed vessels on display were made in celebration of the expedition’s quincentenary.

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