Always topping the lists of the most visited sites in Spain, these are works of architecture that will take your breath away.
The Alhambra is a beautiful complex of buildings and gardens. Its leafy tree-lined walkways provide pleasant shade and coolness, enhanced by the abundance of water that flows in its streams. It was the largest political and aristocratic centre of the Moslem West. The Palace premises comprise beautiful rectangular courtyards and numerous fountains, as well as the Nasrid buildings that served as living quarters for the monarchs and their servants. The oldest building is the Alcazaba citadel. One of the most important structures is the La Vela tower, which offers one of the loveliest views of the Alhambra. The courtyard of the Lions with its fountains is one of the most beautiful in the compound.
In 1883 the brilliant architect Gaudí agreed to take on this project, succeeding Francisco de Paula, and worked on it until his death. Work to complete this great basilica still continues today. The first architect to undertake this project originally planned a neo-Gothic building. However, Gaudí took over following his death, and while conserving the original layout he soon stamped his own personal imprint and distinctive style on the building. He finished only the chapel of San José, the crypt and the door of El Nacimiento. The façades and the entire exterior have a glorious profusion of brightly-coloured decorative elements. There is a cryptogram over the La Pasión door.
Mosque Cathedral of Córdoba
The Great Mosque of Cordoba is a mixture of architectural styles superimposed on one another over the nine centuries its construction and renovations lasted. Standing in the historic centre, it is one of the most beautiful examples of Muslim art in Spain. It was built in 785 by the Muslim emir Abdurrahman I, on the site of the ancient Visigoth church of San Vicente. The mosque underwent consecutive extensions over later centuries. Abdurrahman III had a new minaret built whilst in 961 Al-Hakam II extended the ground plan and decorated the “mihrab” (prayer niche). The last renovation was carried out by Al-Mansur in 987. As a result, the interior resembles a labyrinth of beautiful columns with double arcades and horseshoe arches. After the Christian conquest in 1523, the cathedral was built inside, and features highlights such as the main altarpiece, the Baroque altarpiece and the mahogany choir stalls. The “mihrab” is considered one of the most important in the Muslim world and is the finest piece in the mosque. The decoration is Byzantine mosaic with crafted marble. The courtyard of the Orange Trees leads to the complex.