Spain: An Architectural Odyssey
If I were ever asked to name a favourite country from my travels, it would have to be Spain.
In no other place did I find such a perfect fit in the prevailing rhythm of life. Nine months of passionate living taught me to understand its people, its national love of food, and last but not least, its architecture. I left that country almost a year ago, but hardly a day passes by when I do not think about the life-changing time that I spent there. So as a way of wrapping up the latest series, I’d like to share a collection of images taken in eight cities across the Spanish mainland.
By no means is this a complete picture of Spain’s architectural heritage; I did not get the chance to see the Roman ruins of Mérida, nor the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, nor the dreamlike Alhambra. But these photos are a testament to her long and fascinating history, as a land that has absorbed a multitude of outside influences.
It was the Greeks who introduced the vine, the Moors who brought in citrus fruit, and the Romani who created Flamenco. Artistic movements such as Romanesque and Gothic soon found their way over the Pyrenees, the latter being beautifully expressed in the cathedrals of Burgos and León.
But of all the nation’s architectural treasures, perhaps there is none more telling than the Cathedral-Mosque of Córdoba. Built over the site of a Visigothic church, the Great Mosque of the Umayyads used columns and capitals quarried from Roman sites nearby. Following the Christian re-conquest of Andalucía, the mosque remained virtually unchanged for years, until the 16th century when a soaring cathedral nave was inserted right into the middle of the prayer hall. It’s a combination that is strange, contradictory and captivating, all at the same time.