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Spanish Architecture

By: Olivia Suing
The captivating and amazing architecture of Northern Spain can only be truly savored and appreciated if visited, but the history behind it may be even more to appreciate.

Spain is located in the South Western region of Europe and is the largest Country in the Iberian Peninsula. Its population today is just over 40 million, and its culture is still alive and vivacious, keeping tourism very high. Spain is also known for its rich history in the arts with painters such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, and fashion
designers such as Cristobal Balenciaga. The architecture of Spain is something most history buffs dream about. If you travel from one side to another, you will have seen so much history throughout the art and especially the architecture, from the Basque Region to the Moorish Architectureof southern Spain, there is something for everyone. Some would call Spain its own "melting pot" through history because of so many instances of conquered land by newcomers and new culture brought within its borders.

Spain was first colonized by modern humans somewhere around 35,000 years ago. It was then invaded and colonized over the next thousands and thousands of years by several different groups, including the Celts, Romans, Visigoths and Vikings. In 711 AD the Spanish land was invaded by the Berber Army (known as the Moors) and took over most of the Spanish Land, destroying most remnants of any other culture that had been there in the past. The Arabs ruled for almost 750 years until an army of collective Christian communities came together to re-conquer land appropriately name the "Reconquista" of 1492
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Roman Influence
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After spreading their rule into Spain in 201 BC, the Roman Empire spread their wealth of knowledge in the field of Architecture throughout Spain. The Romans not only borrowed techniques from the Greeks, but that they had invented themselves with innovations such as the Arch, cement, and aqueducts. Amazingly one of the first aqueducts ever built in Spain, created in the first century, called the Aqueduct of Segovia still stands today and is the formal symbol of the city. The precise placing and hold on some of the Roman pieces are incredible and have withstander the time beautifully. After the invasion of the Moors in 711 AD, the people of Northern Spain already were influenced by the architecture they had seen for so many years, thus keeping some of the elements used before. Unfortunately they didn't have the resources to create the works of art the Romans had, but managed with what they had, using similar techniques as did the Romans.

Visigothic Influence


The Visigtothic rule, tends to be overshadowed in Spanish History by the Roman and Moorish rule. Though they haven't gotten much credit, the external image banos-de-cerrato.jpgVisigoths did bring a lot of culture and therefore architecture to the country of Spain. Most of it has now blown away in the dust, but what is left is pretty interesting. The Visigothic Architecture have some distinct characteristics. For one they use the horshoe arch which you can still find today in Moorish architecture and walls of ashlar block. One of the oldest churches in Spain was created by the Visigoths, it is called San Juan and it's located in the Baños de Cerrato in the province of Palencia. "In Visigoth times, Palencia was a signifacant area for producing grain. King Reccesuinth made this building a church when, on returning from a successful battle with rebelling Basques, he drank from the waters and recovered from all his ailments (spanish-fiesta.com)" Even today you can still see bronze belt buckes above the entrence and inscriped Visigothic stones, as well as 58 tombs that they have discovered there.

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Called the St. Michael of Lillo, this Roman Catholic Church is located in Asturias and was built in 848 A.D and dedicated to St. Mary until the worship passed to the nearby palace, Therefore re-dedicated to St. Michael. It is a beatuiful piece of art, made of stone, and actually made with scraps of old roman architecture. A prime example of Roman influence after their rule left. The Church uses both arches and cement to create it, and though it has its own characteristics, it may not look like it does without the Roman influence.








Video Interview
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Sources

[1] "History of Spain" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Spain

[2] "Visigothic Influence in Spain" http://www.spanish-fiestas.com/

[3] "Culture of Spain" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Spain

[4] "Reconquista" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconquista

[5] "Roman Influence in Spain" http://www.donquijote.org/culture/spain/history/romans.asp

[6] "Aqueduct of Segovia" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqueduct_of_Segovia