The architecture of Spain is famous for its grandiose beauty. Over the centuries the Spanish empire was as extensive as any other countries’ and as a result of these expeditions, many ideas were brought home, and this is reflected in the styles of the architecture that is found all over the country.
In fact a big influence of Spanish architecture is what the Romans left behind after they occupied the country and there were later influences as a result of the invasions by the Moorish and the Visigoths. Generally this has resulted with a blending of European and Arabic influences, and it is still seen in many of the buildings that remain today. There is evidence in Spain of the Roman occupation with the excellence of the structures being comparable to similar ones found in Rome. Alcantara Bridge was built by the Romans between 106 and 106 AD and crosses the Tagus River. Over the centuries the bridge has been repaired and it still remains today.
Another city that has many examples of Roman occupation is Merida in the western central part of the country. Here there are many Roman monuments including the triumphal arch and theatre, and two of the dams that the Romans built, the Proserpina and Cornalvo, are still used as reservoirs today.
Arabic influence is also seen with many structures during different occupations. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is located in Andalusia and is one of the best examples of Moorish architecture. Nowadays the church is ruled by Roman Christians and regularly Spanish Muslims request that they are able to worship in the cathedral. Spain is also home to many homes that were built during the renaissance period. Form the start of the 16th century many of the country’s architects were highly influenced by South Italian architecture. The style was called Plateresque as a result of the decorated facades. One of the best examples is the Renaissance Plaza Major square of Trujillo.
One of the most popular places to visit in Spain is the Royal Palace of Madrid and it was built during the Baroque period. The palace is the largest palace in Europe by floor area and its present day construction was completed between 1738 and 1755.
Another popular building in Madrid is the Communications Palace. Built in the first half of the 20th century, it displays regionalism and eclecticism, and a similar style is seen with the Circle of Fine Arts and Rio de la Plata Bank. As well as the country being home to an array of architecture stretching through history, it is also a variety of modern looking structures that do not look out of place in its stylish cities. The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 1997 influenced so many other buildings that it became known as the “Bilbao effect”.
Another modern building that has had a similar effect has been the Auditorio de Tenerife in the city of Santa Cruz. Blending in seamlessly with its surroundings it is an example of how the architecture of Spain has never stopped developing and evolving over the centuries.