Transportation in Andalusia: The Vehicles

A virtual journey through vehicles, one of the key elements of transportation

By Andalusian Archives

Archivos de Andalucía

Ships Loading Ore in Puerto de La Laja, on the Banks of the Guadiana River (Approximate data 1920)Andalusian Archives

Throughout history, transportation—the movement of people and goods from one place to another, and the mode or vehicles used for that purpose—has played a vital role in the corresponding development, or lack of it, in different towns.

Depending on how they are transported—by land, water, or air—each specific infrastructure is adapted to fit. From bridleways for transporting animals and people, roads for cars and vehicles to drive on, railroads and stations for trains, ports for ships, airports for airplanes, and so on.

Blanquillo bridge, tram line to Sierra Nevada (1946)Andalusian Archives

Transportation did not undergo major transformation until the Industrial Revolution. From that point on, significant advances were made to both vehicles and infrastructure, and there were important changes in terms of the people and goods being moved.

This exhibition will take you on a virtual journey through vehicles, one of the key elements of transportation.

Opening of the "Iron Road" from Tharsis to Odiel. (Approximate data 1880)Andalusian Archives

Animals as a means of transportation

Horses, mules, donkeys, and oxen, equipped with the right tack, such as saddlebags, could transport people or goods on their backs.

Before the Industrial Revolution, land transport involved different kinds of carriages pulled by beasts of burden (donkeys, mules, oxen, horses, etc.) or riding on the backs of the animals.

Puerta de Córdoba, in Carmona, interior view of the village. (1981-01-01/1990-12-31) by George BonsorAndalusian Archives

At that time, journeys were made along paths and roads, and were long, slow, and dangerous.

The image shows a rider on muleback traveling through the Puerta de Córdoba in Carmona, Seville. He has the perfect gear: a saddle along with small saddlebags for his personal belongings.

Train of oxen used to pull marble (Approximate data 1920) by Amador del PinoAndalusian Archives

Yoke of oxen

The introduction of the wheel for carts—and the use of animal power to move them—boosted the development of land transport. It facilitated the transport of ever heavier cargo and enabled longer distances to be covered in shorter times.

In the image is a yoke of oxen transporting blocks of marble.

Fair of Jerez de la Frontera (1976)Andalusian Archives


A cart (also known as a wagon, carriage, or coach) is a horsedrawn vehicle that has been used to transport people and goods since the olden days.

With the advent of motor vehicles, horsedrawn carts were demoted to a secondary role in advanced societies, used just on special occasions, for renting, or as museum pieces.

Horse-drawn carriages are kept alive in our fairs and equestrian competitions, like in the "Feria de Jerez" (Jerez Fair), which this photograph was taken from.

Members of the ER 77 comedy club raising the club's flag in front of the facade of a vineyard belonging to González Byass en Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) (1930) by Fernando Carmona DíazAndalusian Archives


The pilgrim carriages are based on the vehicles that were used by locals to complete their pilgrimage to the shrine of Rocío. Over the years the carriages have been adapted so much that they have taken on a very different appearance from the originals.

Both the pilgrim and processional carriages are typical features of Andalusian religious pilgrimages.

The image shows the procession of the "Rocío de Triana" brotherhood through San Jorge street in Triana, Seville. It also depicts the time when animal-powered and motor-powered transportation existed side by side.

Opening of the "Iron Road" from Tharsis to Odiel. (Approximate data 1880)Andalusian Archives


The development of the railroad in the 19th century facilitated the movement of goods, and fostered trade with other countries.

The train represented a new means of transport, traveling along rails, and powered by a steam engine or locomotive.

The tram to Sierra Nevada before entering the tunnel of the Chorrera ([1945?])Andalusian Archives


Another land transportation vehicle that moves along rails is the streetcar. However, unlike the train, it travels within or around towns, and is primarily used to transport passengers.

Early streetcars were pulled by mules or horses (horsecars). Then followed mechanical power: steam and electric streetcars.

Trophy presentation at the Cádiz Grand Prix motorcycle racesAndalusian Archives


The bicycle gained popularity in the late 19th century. It later developed into the motorcycle with the addition of a combustion engine to the basic bicycle elements.

The evolution of the motorcycle as a vehicle for leisure and sports led swiftly to the emergence of motorcycle races. The first of these took place in France in 1896.

In Andalusia, the growing popularity of motorcycling led to clubs cropping up all throughout the territory, tasked with organizing motorcycle races.

Policeman Riding through the Flooded Avenida de Italia (Approximate data 1970) by Rodri Photo.Andalusian Archives

In the early 20th century, the motorcycle began to replace the horse as the mode of transport provided to law enforcement.

In the image, police officer on a motorcycle, traveling along a flooded street.

FIAT 521 car, from the taxi service, parked in Pastor y Landero street (1929-01-01/1936-12-31) by Carmona Díaz, FernandoAndalusian Archives

Automobile (car)

In the early 20th century, the automobile (car) came to prominence.

This vehicle, with its combustion engine and rubber tires, was capable of moving more easily and faster than a train, as it did not depend on the railroad but on newly paved roads.

In the image, taxi parked in front of a garage.

Group of Young Women from the Women’s Section on a Damas Company Bus (Approximate data 1950)Andalusian Archives

Trucks and buses

The steady increase in the automobile's load capacity led to the appearance of trucks and buses, which in a short period of time would replace the railroad.

In the image, passengers on a bus belonging to the Damas company

Group of voyagers aboard the San Telmo steamboat on a cruise to Guadalquivir. (1929/1930) by Carmona Díaz, FernandoAndalusian Archives


The use of water transport dates back to prehistory. The earliest boats were powered by oars or paddles. Later, the Romans used sailboats, which were the first means of transport able to traverse long distances by sea or river.

In the 19th century, the steamship gradually replaced sailboats, although it was not until well into the 20th century when motorboats became the preferred method of water transportation.

Cabo Razo ship. Compañía Ybarra, S.A. (1926-1935)Andalusian Archives


In the pre-industrial period, heavy or large merchandise was generally transported by sea or river. Different types of boats were used (galleys, cogs, caravels, frigates, etc.). These boats, powered by oars and/or sails, allowed larger cargoes to be transported across longer distances, and faster than comparable land transport.

However, sailing would continue to dominate the seas until the new steamships were able to overcome their initial challenges. With the invention of the propeller, steamships became the chosen mode of transport for major journeys.

The blimp Graf Zeppelin tethered in the farmstead of Hernán CebollaAndalusian Archives


In the first third of the 20th century, the airship was established as a means of air transport. The airship was self-propelled and capable of flying long distances, transporting passengers as well as large cargoes.

The era of the airship came to end on May 6, 1937, when the German passenger airship, the Hindenburg, caught fire and was destroyed while attempting to dock in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Zeppelins measured more than 40 meters (131 feet) in diameter and 200 meters (656 meters) long, flew 200 meters high in the air, and reached cruising speeds of more than 100 km (62 miles) per hour.

Light aircraftAndalusian Archives


A number of terrible accidents involving airships, including the spectacular explosion of the German airship, the Hindenburg, in 1937, led to these vessels being gradually replaced by airplanes.

Plan of the replica of the space shuttle Discovery by Rafael de la Hoz ArquitectosAndalusian Archives

The era of space transport

The 20th century saw the occurrence of what is known as "the Space Age"—a period of time encompassing various events connected to the Space Race, space exploration, space technology, and the cultural developments brought on by them.

The image shows the plans for the replica of the space shuttle Discovery, prepared by Spanish architects Rafael de la Hoz.

The space shuttle Discovery, which was used to reduce the cost of space missions, made the greatest amount of missions for NASA. As an embodiment of the motto “The Era of Discovery,” it was decided that a replica of this shuttle should be used in the Universal Exhibition in Seville in 1992.

In this plan, the shuttle can be seen above another replica of a rocket. In the end, however, it was installed on a floating platform without the rocket. Inside, a zero-gravity chamber allowed for simulations of space training, while a multimedia show on interplanetary travel was shown in the other chamber.

Credits: Story

Transportation in Andalusia. The vehicles

Organized by:
Ministry of Culture and Heritage of the Regional Government of Andalusia
Curated by: Mateo Páez García and Abilio Aguilar Diosdado
Text: Mateo Páez García and Abilio Aguilar Diosdado
General Archive of Andalusia
Photographs: Provincial Historical Archives of Cádiz, Granada, Huelva, and Seville, and General Archive of Andalusia
Digital design: Charo Andreu Abrio. Directorate General of Cultural Innovation and Museums

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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