Spain is a real architectural museum. Few countries in the world, in fact, bring together so many buildings belonging to different architectural styles. Walking through any city of Spain is like crossing time: a real mecca, whose monuments have been considered “pioneering”, given that at the time they were built it was thought impossible to carry out.
Alhambra of Granada, Andalusia
The Arabic writers used to compare Granada to a large crown, in the middle of which there is a real diadem: the Alhambra. Of a predominantly Nazarite style, this monument is a veritable superimposition of architectural eras and styles.
Originally built in 889, in the middle ages, it was brazenly ignored until the Arab conquest. Muslims saved the building from ruin, converting it into the splendid architectural jewel it is today. The Byzantine influences are clear: the artists who created this monument developed a completely new style, visible in the capitals, in the arches, in the decorative details, and in the ceilings.
When the Christians took control of Granada different parts of the castle were altered: Arab details were eliminated to make room for Renaissance decorations. The beauty of this place is still breathtaking.
Mosque of Cordoba, Andalusia
Another splendid, Hispanic Muslim work. It is said, in fact, that the magnificent details of the Cordoba Mosque were used as a model for the construction of the Alhambra. The construction of this religious omeya-style building began in 785, after the Muslim invasion, and continued throughout the time of Arab domination. Once the city returned to the Christians, the modifications and the “additions” began.
In around 1500 a Renaissance Basilica was incorporated, making the Cathedral and the Mosque a unique building. To this day the Mosche represents a construction without divisions, neither physical nor spiritual: two opposing worlds, in many respects, that coexist in perfect harmony, with a unique architectural complementarity.
Segovia Aqueduct, Castile – León
One of the best civil works in history. The imposing aqueduct that the Romans built in the first century was used to transport water from mountain sources to the city.
The Segovian aqueduct consists of 166 arches and is 15km long. A marvel of civil engineering, which crosses the countryside and the city and which, despite the wars and conflicts, has remained practically intact.
In 1992 the municipality of Segovia decided to prohibit the passage of traffic under the aqueduct because the vibrations were damaging the structure.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia is the work (left unfinished but now pretty finished) by the modernist architect par excellence, Antoni Gaudì… but in reality, it is much more than this: it is the most visited Spanish monument by tourists.
This imposing temple has a very splendid and richly decorated facade of the Birth, but also inside, so similar to wood of columns that are tinged with more different colors, depending on how the sun is reflected on the windows and glass walls.
Burgos Cathedral, Castile – León
The façade of the Cathedral is inspired by those of Paris and Reims and is considered as one of the most important sculptural manifestations of the Gothic Castigliano.
Don’t miss the Capilla del Condestable, in Isabelline Gothic style, and the golden staircase, with the tomb of Cid Campeador and Doña Jimena.
Toledo Cathedral, Castilla – La Mancha
Toledo Cathedral is the masterpiece of Spanish Gothic. It is said to be built on the remains of the former Mosque of Toledo, of which some vestiges are visible inside.
Beautiful the Arab column embedded in the Chapel of Santa Lucia, the marbles that decorate the external part of the choir, the intertwined arches of Arabic style, and the three-light window of the Capilla de Mayo.
Wall of Avila, Castile – León
A true piece of history: it is, in fact, the best-preserved wall in the world. The Ursula of Avila was built between the 11th and 14th centuries to prevent Muslim attacks. It is possible to walk the 3km of external walls, which are illuminated in the evening.
Roman Theater of Merida, Extremadura
The Roman Theater of Mérida is the oldest monument in Spain. Its construction can be dated to 16 BC when the Colonia Iulia Augusta Emerita lived here.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the theater fell into disuse and even remained buried until 1910, redeemed by an archaeological study. Today this theater hosts the International Classical Theater Festival of Merida every year.
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia
Don’t miss the main façade, that of the Obradoiro: from here you go up the stairs that open onto a splendid panoramic view of the Cathedral, from the History of Salvation to the High Altar.
Under the crypt, the real goal of the Camino is hidden: the walls of the ancient tomb of the Apostle Santiago, with the urn containing its remains in the center.
The southern door of the Cathedral gives a secret hidden in the façade: a Crismón, a symbol of Christ, whose letters are in reverse. Here the Alpha becomes Omega and vice versa: the end becomes the beginning, the goal of the Camino thus becomes the beginning of a new journey, of a new life that begins. A Cathedral full of symbols and symbolism.
Alcázar of Seville, Andalusía
Enchantment, exotic atmosphere: this is breathed in front of the Alcázar. This palace with its splendid walls is a true kaleidoscope of styles.
The Patio de las Doncellas, the Salón de Embajadores, the baños, the Jardín de los Poetas or the Sala de los Tapices represent, practically all the architectural styles of history (from the Gothic to the Arabic, to the Mudejar to the Renaissance, up to the Baroque).
Witness of Viking attacks, wars (including the Civil War), births of sovereigns, the palace has grown and adapted to the historical epochs experienced, arriving today to be a true jewel of architecture.