Last week we featured the architecture of Portugal, so this week we are showing two of the architectural gems of neighboring Spain. Above is one of the doorways to the El Mezquita Cathedral in Cordova. Before this was a cathedral, it was one of the largest mosques in the world, dating to 785. In the 16th Century, it was converted to a cathedral after the Spanish reconquest of southern Spain from the Moors.
This is a section of the inside of the Mezquita Cathedral. There are 850 pillars of granite, marble and jaspar. Much of the inside of the cathedral has been left with the Moorish architecture because it is much larger than a typical cathedral. In the center of the former mosque, the roof was torn down and a gothic cathedral, with an Italianate dome and traditional choir stalls and altar was installed. This combination of Spanish and Moorish architecture makes this a unique building. It has to be seen to be believed.
The Escorial is a palace about an hour west of Madrid built from 1563 - 1584. It is a massive complex that includes a cathedral, royal apartments, art museum, living quarters for monks, the pantheon where the tombs of many Spanish monarchs are on display, and a library.
This is a sample of the statuary that graces one of the many courtyards inside the Escorial complex. The architectural style of the Escorial was less ornate than what was traditional at the time and is called desornamentado, which means unadorned.
This is the library inside the Escorial. It contains 40,000 books and manuscripts, including rare manuscripts. The ceiling was painted in the 16th century by Tibaldi.
Imitation is a form of flattery. The tile facade on this building looks like it was inspired by the Portuguese use of tile, but this building is in downtown Seville, Spain. Although this post is about Portugal, we thought we would include this photo to show the influence of Portuguese tile on Spanish architecture.