Santander A beautiful city in Northern Spain
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 Santander A beautiful city in Northern Spain
Santander is without a doubt one of the most elegant and beautiful cities on the northern coast of Spain and must be included on any visit to Spain. Fabulous views of the sea and the mountains are ever present in this historic city where visitors will relax in the magnificent streets with their 19th-century buildings, its charming outdoor terraces, it's many parks and its spectacular bay, considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.
Santander is an elegant city which extends over a wide bay with views of the Cantabrian Sea. Its historic quarter includes a group of majestic buildings which are situated against an incredible natural backdrop of sea and mountains. Its marine and commercial tradition is linked to a century old history of tourism, which has its main attractions in the famous El Sardinero beach, the promenade and the La Magdalena peninsula. The cultural wealth of the Cantabrian capital is enriched with the passage of the Pilgrim's Road to Santiago de Compostela and the neighbouring Altamira Caves, both of which have been declared World Heritage.
Santander is a city in which the mixture of its various vocations, seafaring, commercial and tourism traditions, remains patent. The city's origin is related to the Portus Victoriae founded by the Romans. However, the capital's urban development was not to come about until the XI c. when the town began to grow around the San Emeterio abbey. From its Latin name, Sancti Emeterii, comes the current name of Santander.
During the XVIII and XIX centuries, the city became a key trading port for the maritime routes between Castile and the American colonies. From around the middle of the XIX century, Santander became one of the most exclusive summer tourist destinations on the northern coast of the Iberian peninsula.

The Paseo de Pereda, with its typical houses with miradors, and its gardens constitutes a lively boulevard which separates the coastal strip from the historic quarter of Santander. The nearby Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in the capital, its earliest construction dating from the XIII c. Inside you can see the tomb of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, a work by the sculptor Victorio Macho. Under the main chapel is the crypt of El Cristo, a sombre vaulted chamber in which various traces of the Roman era were discovered.

Opposite the cathedral is the Plaza Porticada, in Neoherreran style surrounded by several public buildings. You find yourself at a major crossroads of lively commercial streets such as Arrabal or el Cubo.

One of these streets leads to the plaza del Generalísimo, site of the Town Hall, next to the popular market of la Esperanza, in the modernist style. Your visit has to continue through the Fine Arts Museum and the Menéndez Pelayo Stately Home, a building which has been declared an Historic-Artistic Site.

The Port and El Sardinero
Returning to the Pereda gardens, you can see the Santander Bank and the small palace of El Embarcadero, a building with excellent views over the bay. Here you will find the fishing port and the Puerto Chico, as well as several maritime installations: the exchange, the harbour, the Naval Command, etc.

In this place you can see one of the most typical Santander scenes. Added to the image of mansions and bourgeois buildings overlooking the bay is that of other buildings of a cultural nature. Among them is the Festival Palace, built by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza and the current site of the prestigious Santander International Festival. The Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology, which includes various prehistoric finds, among which are its Paleolithic collection, one of the most valuable in Europe. Finally, the Cantabrian Maritime Museum, one of the most complete museums in Spain dedicated to the sea, discovers various aspects related to the Cantabrian Sea: marine biology, maritime history, fishing ethnography, etc.

From this point Santander display the beautiful beaches of los Peligros, la Magdalena and Biquinis, with calm waters protected from the wind by the bay.

In the part of Santander where there is most tourism is El Sardinero. Opposite this famous beach you can enjoy one of the most beautiful promenades in Spain, with magnificent buildings such as the Gran Casino, which evokes the architecture of the Belle Époque. The Plaza de Italia, with its elegant, lively summer terraces, and the Piquío Gardens, which are situated on a rocky inlet marking the separation between the two beaches of El Sardinero, complete the picture.

Between the historic quarter and El Sardinero is the peninsula on which the la Magdalena Park and the royal palace are sited, the latter being inaugurated in 1913 as the summer residence of King Alfonso XIII. The residence, which is English in style, has excellent stables and is surrounded by extensive gardens and wooded areas. This privileged area for relaxation becomes during the summer months the nerve centre for the famous summer courses of the International Menéndez Pelayo University, a forum which brings together both students and the most outstanding figures in the most varied fields of knowledge.

Gastronomy and the Outskirts
Situated halfway between the sea and the mountains, Santander has a particular mixture of ingredients in its gastronomy. From the sea come the characteristic rabas (fried squid), bocartes rebozados (breaded whitebait), and fresh shellfish. The interior provides excellent beef and a dish which is emblematic of the entire region, cocido montañés (a stew made of beans, meat and cabbage). Desserts includes quesada (cheesecake) and sobaos pasiegos (sponge cakes made with butter, flour and eggs).

Nature lovers will find in Cantabria an impressive wealth of protected areas. Among the best conserved areas figure the Natural Parks of Oyambre, Peña Cabarga and Saja-Besaya, although the largest is the Picos de Europa National Park, which shares its territory with Asturias and Castilla y León.

In the foothills of this mountain range is the Parador de Fuente Dé. Among the many accommodation options there is also the Parador Gil Blas, in Santillana del Mar, declared a National Monument.

Near the capital, you can enjoy the Cabárceno Nature Park, an area of great natural beauty where various species of animals live almost in the wild.

The traditional northern route of the Pilgrim's Route to Santiago de Compostela runs along the Cantabrian coast, crossing picturesque towns such as Castro Urdiales, Santoña, Suances, Comillas, San Vicente de la Barquera or Santillana del Mar. A few kilometres from this town are the Altamira Caves, which have been declared World Heritage. Considered the “Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art”, they contain some of the most important cave paintings of Quaternary art. A modern building houses the Museum, where the new cave can be seen, a true replica of the pictures which appear in the original cave.


Visit the gardens of Pereda, where the tourist office located. Walk the gardens, looking at the cedars and magnolia trees.  Walk through its streets, peruse its monuments, and soak up its elegant atmosphere. The majestic façades of its buildings. From the park walk along Calle Hernán Cortes to the Plaza Porticada (porticoed square) one of the liveliest and most symbolic places in the city, as it was built with the idea of making it the central hub of the city, after it was devastated by fire in 1941.

 If you don't want to walk so much then take the sightseeing bus which runs up and down the coastal area of the city. It departs from the Pereda avenue, and offers commentaries in eight languages.

The area of the Cabo Mayor lighthouse is home to the Mataleñas golf course, with views over the coastline.

In Santander, there are both surfing and riding schools for fans of these sports.

There are two excursions which shouldn’t be missed ithe Cabárceno Nature Park, only 15 minutes away; and the Altamira Museum, 30 minutes away.

Festivals in Santander, Spain in July include the festival of the Baños de Ola (Wave Baths), which recreates the arrival of the first tourists at the beginning of the 20th century.

Important sights to see in Santander include church of Cristo and the Santander Cathedral, opposite the church of la Compañía.

To find out some of the history and origins of the city walk along Calle Juan de Herrera, to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall square). There is always a lively atmosphere here, and  the building of the cities Municipal Fine Arts Museum or to the House-Museum and library of Menéndez Pelayo, one of the region’s great thinkers.

Apart from the historic aspects of the city see the life of  Santander’s people and visit the Esperanza market, where they sell some of the best fresh fish in Spain.

From the market  continue shopping and walk along Jesús de Monasterio and San Fernando to the most commercial area of Santander.


Right in this area, and particularly in Calle Vargas (parallel to San Fernando) here are the fish restaurants and stalls perfect places for sampling Santander’s typical seafood cuisine. In particular the famous rabas (squid), sea snails or mussels.

View and sample the historic dock area of maritime Santander an attractive area by the sea with the famous Stone Crane, weighing 30 tons.
We can enjoy a cup of coffee in Pereda avenue, as it is full of charming and elegant literary-type venues. Just a few metres away is the Embarcadero Mansion, and this the departure point for a pleasant boat trip which will take us on a tour of the bay. There is an incredible view of the city from the sea, which makes this one-hour trip an unforgettable experience.
Once back on dry land we can take a walk along the Calderón dock until we reach the sculpture of “Los Raqueros” (harbour waifs) which depicts a group of children diving into the water, created in memory of the children who years ago used to dive into the bay to pick up the coins thrown to them by tourists. This is a good place to take one of the most curious and fun photos of our trip.
If we continue on our walk we pass by the Puertochico Yacht Club, and past eye-catching buildings such as the Planetarium and the Festival Centre. If we walk along Luis Carrero Blanco avenue we reach the Maritime Museum, which is well worth a stop to see the modern aquariums inside, and where we can learn more about man's relationship with the sea. Once past the museum, we reach the beach area (the Los Peligros and La Magdalena beaches are the first), where we can cool off and spend the rest of the afternoon.
There is a bicycle lane all along this route so you can do some sport while you enjoy the seascape.
The boat trips from the Embarcadero mansion run between 27 June and 12 October.
At dinner time, a good option is to return to the centre and “go for tapas” (going from one bar to another sampling small portions of the local specialities) in the area around the Cañadío square. This is one of the best areas in the city if you feel like going clubbing or having a drink after dinner. If it’s summer, you’re bound to find the square full of people out having fun.
We’re now going to spend the morning exploring the Magdalena peninsula, one of the most beautiful and attractive areas in Santander. Before arriving, we can go down Calle Horadada to the seashore, and get a beautiful view from beside the rocks of the islands of La Torre and Horadada. Now we go on until we come to the entrance to this great park. This is an extensive area of some 25 hectares, so if we don’t feel like walking, we can always hop on the “Magdaleno” tourist train which runs all around the park.
This time though, we’ll explore it on foot. We pass near the Los Bikinis beach until we get to the Embarcadero Real pier and then on to the La Cerda lighthouse. If we continue on around the peninsula, we come to an esplanade which takes us to Santander’s greatest treasure: the Magdalena Palace We are now at the highest point of the peninsula, so this is the moment to take a photo of the majestic Royal Palace and the outstanding views of the city of Santander which can be seen from here. On our way down, we’ll find three genuine caravels donated to Santander by a sailor (and which are said to be a replica of Christopher Columbus' ships), and an entertaining mini-zoo where we can see marine animals such as seals, penguins and sea lions swimming about in water which comes straight in from the sea.
You can rent a segway (beside the polo pitch and restaurant) to tour the Magadalena peninsula.
After a really great morning, it is now time to have lunch. If we go on along Reina Victoria avenue and cross the beautiful gardens of San Roque, we come to the Plaza de Italia square. Here you’ll find the majestic and emblematic Gran Casino created in 1916, which seems to preside over the city and add to its fairytale atmosphere. Here, and above all in summer, there are numerous terraces with views over the beach, ideal for having lunch while enjoying the salty tang of sea breezes.
We are now in the most popular area of the coast of Santander: the Sardinero, so after lunch we can’t possibly pass up the chance of a swim at any of its magnificent beaches. There are several to choose from: Camello beach (so-called because it has a rock in the shape of camel) or the Concha beach, or the Sardinero beaches (over one kilometre long). You’ll never forget the experience of sunbathing on fine golden sand and gazing at the views… or you can even try your hand at surfing.
After a refreshing dip, we can take a leisurely stroll along the seafront promenade, stopping at the spectacular viewing point in the Piquío gardens (very romantic if you happen to be with your partner) and continue on until the end of the Mesones Park. Along the way we can see some of the most beautiful mansions and stately houses in the city on one side of the road, and little sailboats on the other. What more could you ask for?
If we choose not to swim and we still have time, we can continue on along the path which takes us to the other end of the city, the Cabo Mayor lighthouse, 30 metres tall. This is reached along the Faro avenue and is perfect if we are looking for a much wilder natural landscape, as here we’ll find open sea and truly spectacular cliffs.
To end our trip, we can’t miss one of the most special times of the day in Santander: sunset. The best plan is to retrace our steps until we reach the viewing point in Plaza de Italia square, take a seat on a bench, and watch the sunset against a backdrop of the Royal Palace of la Magdalena in the distance. We’re also in the area with some of the city’s most distinguished restaurants, so we can round off the day with a good dinner. A perfect way to finish off our visit to Santander, the city known to many as the “bride of the sea.
Virgen del Mar (Santander)
La Concha (Santander)
Sardinero (Santander)
Los Peligros (Santander)
El Camello (Santander)
Mataleñas (Santander)
Molinucos (Santander)
Magdalena (Santander)
Los Biquinis (Santander)
Agua de Valencia - A refreshing suggestion
Perines, 24, Santander, 39007, Tel +34 942 371387
Canela - Great place for drinks
Plaza de Cañadío, s/n, Santander, 39003
Capitán Haddock - Nice bar for well-to-do
Valliciergo, 2, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 342714
Celtic's Tavern (The) - Authentic British atmosphere
Gándara, 3, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 210056
Chupitería - More than 200 special liqueurs
Paseo de Menéndez Pelayo, 3, Santander, 39005
Embajada (La) - Latin music
Pasaje Zorrila, s/n, Santander, 39003
Historia (La) - Latin American atmosphere
Santa Lucía, 6, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 227956
Luna (La) - Popular with the 30s and 40s crowd
General Mola, 35, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 312774
Molly Dolan - Ireland in Santander
San Emeterio, 7 bajo, Santander, 39004, Tel +34 942 219455
Raíces - Mixed drinks and music
Santa Lucía, 8, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 313390
Río (El) - Unbelievable weekends
San Celedonio, 47, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 223693
Rocambole (El) - Good music and atmosphere
Hernán Cortés, 37, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 364961
Terminal Sur - There at the start of the scene
Santa Lucía, 30, Santander, 39003
Tertulia (La) - Very evocative, retro atmosphere
Santa Lucía, 17 bajo, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 311054
Trovador - Carpe Diem (El) - Very modern medieval pub
Santa Lucía, 51, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 627 555956
Zeppelin - Pub for 20s age group
Paseo de Menéndez Pelayo, 2, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 217703

Live Music
Barraquito - A very welcoming place
Gravina, 13, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 376804
Canela - Great place for drinks
Plaza de Cañadío, s/n, Santander, 39003
Dragón (El) - Fun and guaranteed partying
Tetuán, s/n bajo, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 221063
Gran Café Santa Fe - Very popular bar
Valliciergo, 2, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 311200
Rocambole (El) - Good music and atmosphere
Hernán Cortés, 37, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 364961
Victoria - Something for everyone
Floranes, 10, Santander, 39010, Tel +34 942 233296
Santander International Festival
29th July to 29th August
Useful information
Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria
Calle Gamazo, s/n 39004 Santander (Cantabria)
Tel. +34 942361606 /Fax +34 942364061
 Festivals in Spain
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 Music and Dance in Spain.
Classical Music Concerts & Events in Spain
The Santander International Festival fills Cantabria with concerts, shows and art. Throughout August, various historic venues in this northern Spanish region, along with the Cantabria Festival Centre, host the cultural agenda for this major event, which has been held since 1948.
Dance, theatre, music, ballet, opera and recitals in their most traditional, but also their most avant-garde and innovative versions, make up the programme. 30 days in which churches, gardens, palaces and even caves are the stages for some of the most significant artists from different spheres of the performing arts from around the world.

Outstanding in this year's edition are performances of the operas, The Sleepwalker and Tosca, along with concerts by tenor Andreas Scholl, Liza Minnelli and the Boston Ballet, amongst others
Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueología de Cantabria - Prehistoric and Archaeological Museum of Cantabria
Contact Address:
Calle Casimiro Sainz, 4 39003 Santander (Cantabria)
Tel. +34 942207105 / Fax +34 942207106
Most of the 1,200 objects on display in this museum date from the period between the Upper Palaeolithic and the Iron Age
There are also items from the Roman era, mostly from Julióbriga and Castro Urdiales, the ancient Flavióbriga. Of note in the medieval collection is the ivory belt buckle from the Santa María de Hito archaeological site
Timetables: Tuesday to Saturday, 9am-1pm and 4-7pm. Sundays and public holidays, 11am-2pm.
Closed: Mondays, 1 January, Good Friday, 1 May and 25 December
Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico - Cantabrian Maritime Museum
Contact Address:
San Martín de Bajamar, s/n 39004 Santander (Cantabria)
Tel. +34 942274962 / Fax +34 942281068
A historical journey through this Spanish Sea.
This venue offers a profound look at different areas of the underwater and maritime world.
The Cantabrian Maritime Museum is in Santander Bay. It is an attractive, modern building, and was born as a tribute to this northern Spanish region and its sea. Over 3,000 square metres, it aims to show the relationship between man and the maritime world throughout history.

This museum is divided into four main sections: Life at sea, dedicated to marine biology; Fishermen and fisheries, centring on fishing ethnography; The Cantabrian region and the sea in history; The technological avant-garde.
Timetables: Winter: (15 September to 30 April) Daily 10am-7pm. Summer: (2 May to 15 September) Daily 10am-9.00pm. Closed: Mondays, 1 January, Good Friday, 1 May and 25 December

Entry fee:
Normal admission: €6. Reduced: (children 4-12 years, over 65s, Youth Card holders) €4. Free: (children under 4 years). Large families:- Adult: €5 - Child: €3 School groups: (min. 20, max. 30)- With guide: €3 - With workshops: €4 Educational programmes: By prior appointment. Tourist Groups: Without guide: €5 - With guide: €5

Iglesia Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción - Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church-Cathedral
Contact Address:
Plaza del Obispo José E. Eguino, s/n 39002 Santander (Cantabria)
Tel. +34 942226024 Tel. +34 942203000
A church of growing importance
It has been a cathedral since the 18th century, but in the 8th century it was an abbey and in the 13th a collegiate church.
Its plan is with three naves and four sections. The sanctuary has three polygonal chapels. As for the dome, it has ogives on columns of cruciform pillars. Its cloister is square, with a series of pointed arches. It is not decorated. Inside, you can find the tomb of Menéndez Pelayo, the work of Victorio Macho
Timetables: Cathedral: Monday-Friday, 10am-1pm and 4-7.30pm. Saturdays, 10am-1pm and 4.30-8pm. Sundays and public holidays, 8am-2pm and 5-8pm. Santísimo Cristo Church: 1 July to 31 August, 8am-1pm and 4-8pm. 1 September to 30 June, 8am-1pm and 5-8pm.
Entry fee: Free admission.
Services: Free guided tours in months of July and August, every 30 minutes, from 10am
Nature Areas
Parque Natural de las Dunas de Liencres
Dunes by the Cantabrian Sea
One of the great dune ranges of the Cantabrian coastline that houses rich flora and fauna.
The Reserve is one of the leading enclaves of dunes along the Cantabrian coastline, given its great landscape, geological, botanical and fauna interest. It stands on the left bank of the mouth of the river Pas, in a peninsula area limited by the Mogro estuary and several adjacent beaches. There exist numerous bird populations, such as the ringed plover, dunlin, grey plover, whimbrel, etc which choose this Reserve as a resting place during their migration. The dunes formed owing to the repopulation of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) carried out in the mid 20th century. You can also encounter a significant offering of lizards, snakes, vipers and amphibians, such as the midwife toad, and the three varieties of newt existing in the region.
Type of area: Nature Reserve
Surface: 194 Hectares
Unrestricted access to the Nature Park. The best route is via the N-611 road, from Santander to Torrelavega. In Arce, there is a local road that borders the right side of the Pas River right up to the dunes themselves.
Natural assets
It is located at the mouth of the river Pas (Mogro Estuary). It is one of the most interesting enclaves along the Cantabrian coastline.
Cultural surroundings
Along the Cantabrian coastline, in its towns, you will encounter a varied wealth of art and culture heritage
Parque Natural de Peña Cabarga
A surprising landscape
In the Reserve, sharp points, escarpments, vertical faces and the labyrinth of 'callejones'. abound
The extraction of iron in the clay of this karst landscape has been traced back to Roman times.This, combined with the erosive action of the water and wind, has produced a landscape of unique beauty.Not only the curious formations, but also the contrast of colours (the red of the clay and green of the vegetation) surprise the visitor
 Type of area: Nature Reserve
Surface: 2588 Hectares
The visit is unrestricted. In it we find the Cabárceno Nature Park
Peña Cabarga massif lies to the south of Santander bay Its orography is surprising owing to the large number of sharp points and crests that have formed due to erosion
In the surround towns, on the Cantabrian coastline, visitors can find a considerable wealth of art and monuments
Golf in Santander, Spain
Club de Golf Mataleñas
Contact Address:
Avenida del Faro, s/n 39012 Santander (Cantabria)
Tel. +34 942390247 / Fax +34 942390366
Mataleñas Golf Club
This course is located in Santander, alongside El Sardinero. It has good communications and access, and its facilities are in excellent condition. Its greens are well protected, meaning that accuracy is vital. The course is suitable for advanced players and beginners alike, and there are classes available for all levels
Number of holes: 9
Par for the course: 34
Type of golf course: Coastal
Opening date: 1986
Timetable and dates: All year round
Area: Santander
Nearby means of transport: Airport: Parayas (Santander). Distance to the course: 10 km. Train: Santander. Distance to the course: 2 km.

Services: Driving Range | Classes | Clubs | Hand Trolley | Restaurant | Bar Cafeteria | Pitching Green | Putting Green | Bunker | Water on the course | Changing Rooms | Showers | Parking

MEMBERS: Member golf club that accepts green fees
Wine Bars
¡Eh Marcelino! - Good tapas and wine
Pizarro, 6, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 364645
Bodega Cigaleña - The museum of wine
Daoiz y Velarde, 19, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 213062
Bodega La Montaña - Friendly and homely atmosphere
San Fernando, 28, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 231039
Cañadío - Good value for money
Goméz Oreña, 15, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 314149
Cañía (La) - Fish tapas and more
Joaquín Costa, 45, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 270491
Capitol - Seafood tapas and good wine
Francisco de Quevedo, 7, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 229191
Casa Mariano - The taste of experience
Vargas, 23, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 230024
Castellano (El) - Platters of tasty cold meats
Burgos, 32, Santander, 39010, Tel +34 942 231020, Fax +34 942 371035
Cecilia (La) - Lots of variety
Avenida Pedro San Martín, 1, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 348011
Dorado (El) - The Far West, nearer
Hernán Cortés, 18, Santander, 39003, Tel +34 942 221568
Flor de Miranda (La) - Savour quality shellfish
Avenida de los Infantes, 1, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 271056
Fradejas - Tapas food
Plaza de Cañadío, 1, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 314841
Gelín - Traditionally rustic
Nueva Montaña, s/n, Santander, 39011, Tel +34 942 332733
Hijas de Florencio (Las) - Tapas and good atmosphere
Paseo de Pereda, 23, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 310475
Jamones (Los) - Finger-licking good
Perines, 8, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 371638
Lancha (La) - Regional cuisine & nice wines
Santa Lucía, 46, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 361254
Mejillonera (La) - Mussels to suit all tastes
Plaza de la Leña, 4, Santander, 39001, Tel +34 942 214526
Mesón Salamanca - Real Castilian atmosphere
Santa Lucía, 45, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 213044
Peña Prieta - Fresh fish caught off coast
Vargas, 35, Santander, 39005, Tel +34 942 230170
Recocina de Amós (La) - Tapas and take-away
Alonso Ercilla, 4, Santander, 39001, Tel +34 942 213276


San Sebastian
Basque Country
Tourist Office:
Jardines de Pereda, s/n -
39002 Santander (Cantabria)
Tel. +34 942203000
Tourist Information
 (Oficina de Turismo municipal), Jardines de Pereda, s/n., 942203000, 942203001, fax: 942203005,
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