8 Architectural Gems You Can Only Feast Your Eyes on When in Spain
You Cannot Visit Spain and Not Check Out These Buildings
Spain is known for its incredibly beautiful buildings. And no matter how little you know about it, the name Gaudi must still ring a bell. And even if it doesn’t, once you see his creations you will become a big fan. But this is not all there is to Spanish architecture. A country with so much tradition has a lot to offer and a lot to teach us from its past. The modern architecture does not disappoint either. Here is a list of 8 architectural gems. See them and we will let you decide whether you like the past more than the future or otherwise.
8 architectural gems to see during your trip to Spain
1. La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is the main tourist attraction in Barcelona. The Roman Catholic Church was designed by Antoni Gaudi and its construction started in 1882. By the time of Gaudi’s death in 1926, the church was not yet ready. The construction is daring to say the least. It combines Gothic elements with curvilinear Art Nouveau elements. Gaudi’s initial plans included 18 spires – 12 for the apostles and built to represent each of them, and the rest for the four Evanghelists, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. Only eight of them have been built so far as the construction works are expected to last until 2026.
2. Casa Batllo
The house belonged to industrialist Josep Batllo. In 1904 he asked an architect to renovate the residence. It resulted in another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, one that is recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The façade was adorned with ceramics, stone and forged iron in the shape of Art Nouveau elements. The interior matches the exterior in the sense that it offers an unexpected spectacle of decorations, tiles and staircases that take you to a dream world. Another amazing thing you will notice is the fact that there are no straight lines.
3. Park Guell
Yes, it’s Gaudi again! Get used to it. This time we suggest you visit the bizarre park Guell and the Mind House. There is a rocky hill with vegetation (Bare Mountain), there are fountains and there is furniture designed by Gaudi. The park was built between 1900 and 1914, it was opened to the public in 1926 and in 1984 it was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
The city of Art and Sciences in Valencia
Photo credit: O [email protected]
You cannot miss this one. The Valencia City of Arts and Sciences is an incredible complex of buildings situated on the riverbed of the Turia river. Following the flood of 1957, the river was drained and rerouted. The current construction, a masterpiece in glass and metal was inaugurated in 1998.
Torre Galatea is an annex of the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres, the artist’s home town. It stands out as it has egg shaped sculptures on the rooftop. The artist oversaw the works for the transformation of the old theatre into a museum and he had a hand in designing the unique tower. It is named after his wife, Gala.
Of course, Dali fans will know this and they will be excited to see the place. Just as excited given the fact that it is the artist’s final resting place as well. The trippy vision of the red tower with eggs on top is a sort of a funeral stone crowning the building celebrating his life’s work.
Alhambra is a complex fortress located in Granada, Andalusia. It dates back to 889 as it was built over the ruins of an ancient Roman fortification. Around 1333, it became a royal palace under the rule of Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. In 1492, following the Christian Reconquista, Alhambra became the Royal Palace. There is a lot of history to this place but even more beauty. If you try to read up about it before going, you will find a lot of mentions in songs and poems.
A visit to Alhambra will bring you close to a firsthand experience of Moorish architectural elements as well as Western elements reinterpreted by Islamic art.
7. Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is a Cathedral included in the World Heritage Sites. It is the burial place of Saint James the Great and a place of pilgrimage ever since the Middle Ages. The building structure is Romanesque, yet Gothic and Baroque additions were made throughout the years. This is a great example of religious structures and architecture we felt we needed to include on our list.
8. Mezquita de Cordoba
Inside the Cordoba Mosque
The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and it has a very interesting background. When the Muslims took over the territory in 711, the church was divided in half to serve both religions. When Cordoba returned to Christian rule, the building returned to a Roman Catholic Church and the nave was added. Why is it important for you to visit the Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba? Because it perfectly depicts the history of the place.
If you thought this list would only include many old buildings where one or another person used to live, they you were in for a surprise. The buildings we suggested are unique in the world and they will change your views on architecture forever. Just try to look at a normal house after having visited Gaudi’s masterpieces.