Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba | Architecture in Spain

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Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba_©WaqqasAkhtar

Cordoba’s most famous monument, built as a mosque in 786 and then converted into a cathedral in 1523, is an architectural marvel that you must see for yourself. The Mezquita de Cordoba, like the Alhambra in Granada, is one of many Islamic monuments in southern Spain. Unsurprisingly, this is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can enjoy Umayyad Caliphate art.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela 

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Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela_©www.catedraldesantiago.es

This Roman cathedral with a Baroque facade was constructed between 1098 and 1738 and is a popular Catholic gathering place. Thousands of pilgrims visit this monument in Galicia each year to see the tomb of Saint James, an apostle who travelled across Europe to convert the Iberian Peninsula to Catholicism. Many curious tourists come to the cathedral to learn more about the Way of Saint James.

Burgos Cathedral | Architecture in Spain

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Burgos Cathedral_©Eduardo Elúa

Burgos Cathedral, like many of the monuments on this list, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral is well-known for its Gothic architecture. It is famous for being the final resting place of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (El Cid) and his wife Jimena, who lived between 1221 and 1765. It is the third largest cathedral in Spain, after those in Toledo and Seville. The various sculptures make this cathedral a veritable museum for visitors to Burgos.

Alcázar of Segovia 

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Alcázar of Segovia_©Ángel Sanz de Andrés

According to legend, Sleeping Beauty was inspired by this castle, which could have been lifted straight from a fairy tale. This castle, located near Madrid, has an incredible style. It served as a fortress, royal palace, prison, and military academy all at the same time. It has a great view of the surrounding area from its high vantage point on the hill. This makes it an ideal location for admiring the Spanish countryside close to the capital.

Montserrat Abbey | Architecture in Spain 

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Montserrat Abbey_©www.novo-monde.com

Tourists and pilgrims alike visit Montserrat Abbey in Catalonia’s Montserrat Mountain Range. This abbey was constructed in the ninth century. The monument now houses a Catalan art museum as well as a monastery with approximately sixty monks. It is a magnificent monument amid the mountains.

Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar

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Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar_© Juanedc

The Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is a religious structure in the core of Aragon dedicated to the presence of the Virgin Mary. She is believed to have appeared on a column in front of Saint James the Apostle. As a result, the basilica is a popular destination for Christian pilgrims. If you visit Zaragoza, you must see this cathedral’s breathtaking architecture.

The Roman Theatre, Mérida

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Mérida’s Roman Theater_©www.smapse.com

Mérida’s Roman Theater is an important part of the city’s archaeological history. It is one of the biggest on the Iberian Peninsula and is a relic of Emerita’s former city. The auditorium was built between 16 and 15 BCE and was built with extraordinary acoustics in mind, as were all Roman theatres. With 3,000 people in the audience, the sound is incredible.

The Giralda of Seville | Architecture in Spain

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Seville’s Giralda_©Diliff

Seville’s Giralda offers visitors the greatest views in the city. The city forbade the development of anything taller than the mosque’s minaret. Following the Reconquista, it was converted into a church. The Giralda was converted into a bell tower that consolidated Spanish and Islamic architectural styles.

Casa Milà, Barcelona

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Casa Milà_©Samuel Ludwig

In Barcelona, there are numerous examples of Gaudi architecture. This structure, also known as La Pedrera, was constructed between 1906 and 1910 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its baroque and modern styles have left their imprint on the cityscape of Barcelona. The building was not well received by the city and its residents when it was first constructed, but it is now one of the city’s most popular attractions more than a century later.

The Royal Palace of Madrid | Architecture in Spain

The Royal Palace of Madrid_©www.cntraveler.com

The famous Royal Palace can be found in the heart of the Spanish capital. This palace is the largest in Western Europe and has over 3,000 rooms and sprawling gardens. Despite being the king’s official residence, it only accepts tourists and official visitors. It was constructed in the latter half of the 18th century and encompasses 135,000 square meters.

References:

  • 10 must see Gaudí buildings in Barcelona (2022) GloboTreks. Available at: https://www.globotreks.com/destinations/10-gaudi-buildings-barcelona/  
  • ADVISOR, T.R.I.P. (no date) The 10 best Spain architectural buildings (with photos), Tripadvisor. Available at: https://www.tripadvisor.in/Attractions-g187427-Activities-c47-t3-Spain .html The Local
  •  (2021) Ten of Spain’s most amazing modern architectural wonders, The Local Spain. The Local. Available at: https://www.thelocal.es/20201101/top-ten-amazing-modern-architectural-wonders-of-spain/
  • Molloy, J.C. (2013) Ad classics: Casa Milà / Antoni Gaudí, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/367681/ad-classics-casa-mila-antoni-gaudi 
  • Paulina, A. (2022) Seville architecture – 20 best buildings to see, Visit Southern Spain. Available at: https://visitsouthernspain.com/best-seville-architecture/ Rcarney (2022) Moorish architecture in Spain: The top 20 examples, Architecture of Cities. Available at: https://architectureofcities.com/moorish-architecture
  • Spain’s must-visit modern architectural wonders (2021) Right Casa Estates. Available at: https://rightcasa.com/spain%E2%80%99s-must-visit-modern-architectural-wonders/ 
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Author

Arushi is an architect and interior designer who loves to travel and explore new places. She believes each place has its own story to tell. Her passion for history, culture and climate and how they all are related to architecture intrigues and motivates her to fulfil her goal to travel across the world.