Welcome to Destination SpainBeauty of Spain - Architecture


SEVILLE - capital of Andalucia, is another architectural delight. The Seville Cathedral, a Gothic gem, was begun in 1401. With its flying buttresses and beautiful stained glass windows, it boasts the largest altarpiece. It was built on the site of a mosque, but the Christians did not have the heart to destroy the 97m high Giralda built in 1184, so this was incorporated as the Cathedralís bell tower.

The Alcazar Palace, which was originally built by the Moors in the 7th Century but which has been altered and added to throughout history, is a shining example of delicate Mudejar architecture.

Then thereís the elliptical Roman amphitheatre built in 206 BC which could seat 40 000 people.

But we are not finished yet as there is still the Palacio de San Telmo, a 17th Century Baroque palace to see; and in the Renaissance Palace there is an archaeological museum which contains the most important collections in all of Southern Europe. This is just one of nearly twenty museums in Seville. Now we know why it is a World Heritage City.

CADIZ - is almost an island, perched as it is on a small peninsular in south-west Andalucia. It is said to be the oldest inhabited city in the western world, founded in 1100 BC as a Phoenician trading centre. Julius Caesar once held office here. Christopher Columbus set sail from Cadiz on his second voyage of discovery to America in the 16th Century. Later on in history the city was raided in turn by Sir Francis Drake and Napoleon. The architecture is North African. The ancient cityís Baroque cathedral has a golden dome and dominates the old town.

TOLEDO - It would seem that the entire ancient city of Toledo is an architectural museum! It canít be described in words, so you will simply have to visit it. Damascene work, an intricate craft using metal encased with gold thread, is unique to Toledo.

SEGOVIA - offers the fairytale castle and palace of Alcazar with its crenellated towers; one of the greatest Gothic cathedrals of the world; a 2 000-year old Roman aqueduct which is a marvel of engineering; and the 12th Century Church of San Millan, a stunning example of Segovian Romanesque.

LA RIOJA - A fascinating example of Romanesque sculpture is that of St James who stands guarding the 12th Century Portico of Glory in la Rioja, the entrance to the ancient St James Way. Pilgrimages to the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compestela in far off Galicia, have taken place for more than a millennium, guaranteeing the pilgrims a place in heaven Ė or so they believe. The Route of the Pilgrims is lined with the finest architectural treasures Ė churches, shrines, art. Itís a lengthy walk across northern Spain!

OVIEDO - And if you havenít yet seen enough architectural wonders, two amazing treasures from the 9th Century are to be found on the slopes of Mt Naranco above Oviedo in the north of the country. Santa Maria del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo are examples of Asturian pre-Romanesque art. Both are World Heritage Churches.

LA CORUNA - The Tower of Hercules, a Roman lighthouse on the north-west coast of Galicia, is still preventing ships from going aground, 2000 years after it was built!

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