Architecture history of Spain;

March 9th, 2010

Rioseco Abbey

Rioseco Abbey (Monasterio cisterciense de Santa María de Rioseco) is a former Cistercian abbey in Rioseco, Burgos. The monastery was dispossessed in the 1820s, during the first Spanish Civil War. Most of the community’s goods were sold, but the monastery itself however found no buyer, and was left abandoned. In the 1850s the surviving buildings were stripped and reduced to ruins. There is now a campaign to save what is left of the the abbey and convert the site into a Romantic (with a capital R) botanical garden. Sounds a lovely idea to me. Continue reading

Loarre castle

The Castillo de Loarre is a superb example of a Romanesque castle and one of the most spectacular castles in Spain. It was built in the 11th and 12th centuries, occupying a strategic point on the frontier between the Christian north and the Moslem kingdom of Zaragoza to the south. The building was begun in around 1020 by Sancho el Mayor, after conquering the land from the Moors. It is sometimes claimed to be the oldest fortified castle in Spain”
The castle offers stunning views from the craggy ramparts of Sierra de Loarre across the plains of the Hoya de Huesca. A number of films have been shot here including, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven.

I have fond memories of Loarre, watching vultures soaring just a few metres past the turrets where I stood on a freezing November afternoon.

Continue reading

Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes

The monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is one of the most important of all Catalan Romanesque sites. Perched high on a hillside overlooking the Gulf of Léon, the setting is as impressive as the ruined walls and towers themselves. The first written record of the monastery dates back to 879 AD, when it was one of the many religious institutions founded in this area after the departure of the Moors. The magnificent Bendictines edifice was constructed between 979 and 1022, and was sacked and abandoned in the eighteenth century. Best preserved is the church at its centre with three wide naves and capitals of delicately carved acanthus leaves and animal heads. The 27-meter high bell-tower has fine arcades. The ruins are at their most atmospheric when shrouded in swirling mist, which is not uncommon in autumn and winter. On the hilltop above Sant Pere are the remains of a medieval castle, and fantastic 360º views that sweep from Cerbère in France to Cap de Creus to the east, to Montgrí and Begur in the south, to the high Pyranees in the west. There is an interesting Romanesque church above the main parking lot. On the hillside just below the monastery there is a pretty grotto with a fountain. This is a good spot from which to look up in awe at the mighty edifice above.

The true origin of the monastery is not known, which has given rise to speculation and legend; such as its foundation by monks who disembarked in the area with the remains of Saint Peter and other saints, to save them from the Barbarian hordes that had fallen on Rome. Once the danger had passed the Pope Boniface IV commanded them to construct a monastery. Read on Wikipedia

Continue reading

The windmills of Consuegra

Consuegra is the site of the famous La Mancha windmills immortalised in Don Quixote. The mills were used to grind grain and their ownership passed from fathers to sons. Most consisted of two rooms or levels. They fell into disuse in the early 1980s.

Continue reading

Castle-hermitage of la Virgen del Castillo

The hermitage of la Virgen del Castillo in Chillón is built on an old Arab castle.

Continue reading

Marqués de Santa Cruz palace

Escalera Palacio

The Palacio de Marqués de Santa Cruz  in Viso del Marqués (Ciudad Real) is the only Italian-style palace in Spain. The palace was built in the 16th century under the orders of Álvaro de Bazán. The walls of its rooms are covered with mural paintings of mythological scenes. The palace is in good condition except for four towers which were destroyed by the Lisbon earthquake in the 18th century.When King Felipe II saw it, he contracted the same Italian architects to make the balustrades at the El Escorial Monastery A piece of Italian Renaissance in the heart of rural Spain.

Continue reading