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Archive : Spain

Madrid became the capital of Spain and her empire in 1561. The capital had previously been at Toledo under Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

The Royal Palace. The Royal Palace.
The Royal Palace was built on the site of the old alcázar (Moorish castle) in the 1700s by the Italian Giambattista Sacchetti. The main façade includes statues of Aztec king Montezuma (on the left) and Inca king Atahualpa (on the right).
The courtyard. Statue of Philip IV. The Grand Staircase.
The cathedral (Almudena Cathedral, 1879-1993). The cathedral nave. The cathedral.
The apse. The crossing. The apse.
Plaza Mayor. Palacio De Las Cortes (Spanish parliament). The post office at Puerta Del Sol, the official centre of Spain.
Palacio De Cibeles (1919, currently the city hall). The stock exchange. The royal theatre.
Palacio De Cibeles. The Columbus Monument. The National Library.
The Royal Palace. The Egyptian Temple Of Debod (from Aswan, given to Spain in 1968). The Temple Of Debod.
Ministry Of Agriculture (1893). Royal Basilica Of St. Francis The Great. Atocha Station.
Royal Hospice Of San Fernando (municipal museum). Basilica Of St. Michael. Church Of Santa Teresa And San José (1928).
Royal Asturian Mining Company. Casa Gallardo. Church Of Santa Teresa And San José.
The Metropolis building. The Metropolis building. The Union And Phoenix Building.
The grand buildings of Gran Via. Circolo De Bellas Artes. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya.
The Arch Of Victory (1956, built under Franco). Ministry Of The Air (1943). Museum Of The Americas.
Puerta De Toledo. Puerta De Alcalá. Codex Tudela (Aztec).
Church Of San Jerónimo El Real. San Jerónimo. San Jerónimo.
Royal Academy. The Prado. The Prado.
Church Of San Manuel And San Benito (1902). Buen Retiro Park. Palacio De Cristal.
The Escorial.
The Escorial (the Monastery Of San Lorenzo) lies in the Guadarrama mountains north of Madrid. It was commissioned by Philip II (he of the Spanish Armada) from Juan Bautista De Toledo and Juan De Herrera. It takes the form of St. Lawrence's gridiron, and Herrera's extremely severe style was carried to the New World, inspiring
buildings such as Mexico Cathedral. If the Palace Of Versailles is the seed of the megalomania of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, then the Escorial is the origin of their architectural brutality.
The Escorial. The Escorial. The basilica within the monastery.
The basilica. Deep underneath is the pantheon of Spanish monarchs and their children spanning 400 years. A terrible storm is said to have disturbed the ceremony when the remains of Charles V were moved here. The main staircase (fresco by Luca Giordano). The library (fresco by Pellegrino Tibaldi).
The Escorial. The Escorial. The basilica.

Burgos is a major destination on the Way Of St. James, and is the birthplace of El Cid (who fought the Moors).

San Lesmes. Palace Of The Captaincy General. The cathedral's spires peek over the Arch Of St. Mary.
Casa Del Cordón, in which Isabella and Ferdinand met Columbus after his second voyage. Casa Del Cordón, by Simón De Colonia. Arch Of St. Mary.
Burgos Cathedral. Burgos Cathedral. The crossing tower, suffering from an excess of renaissance (plateresque) detail.
The west front - pulcra es et decora. The south transept. The south transept.
The Constable's Chapel and the crossing tower. Burgos Cathedral. The south portal.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1221. It has been suggested that the original architect was Richard from English Aquitaine, brought by Eleanor of Castile (daughter of Henry II of England). The later work, comprising the west towers, the Constable's Chapel and the crossing tower, was done by three generations of architects from Cologne - Juan, Simón and Francisco De Colonia. Between them they established the external character of the church - a fantastical vision of turrets and spires.
The south transept. The glazed star vault of the crossing tower. West end of the nave (the tiny figure on the clock is called the flycatcher).
Reredos in the apse. The crossing. The choir.
Screen between the nave and choir. Entrance to the cloister. Tomb of Pedro Fernández De Villegas, by Simón De Colonia.
Tomb of Fernando Díaz De Fuentepelayo. Reredos of the Chapel Of The Conception, by Gil De Siloe. Chapel Of The Conception.
Another gothic tomb. Chapel Of The Presentation. Reredos of the Chapel Of The Conception.
Chapel Of The Nativity. The sacristy. Silver carriage built for Corpus Christi.
Heavily sculpted buttress by the Constable's Chapel. Reredos of St. Anne, by Gil De Siloe. Entrance to the Constable's Chapel.
Glazed vault of the Constable's Chapel. Huge coat of arms. The Constable's Chapel.
Tomb of Don Pedro Fernández De Velasco (the constable) and Doña Mencía De Mendoza. The Constable's Chapel.
The sublimely beautiful Constable's Chapel was begun in 1482 by Simón De Colonia and continued by his son Francisco. Along with the cathedral crossing and the Chapel Of The Presentation, it is one of the few glazed vaults in the world.
The crossing tower overlooks the cloister. The double-height cloister. The upper cloister.
The cloister. The upper cloister. The upper cloister.
Tomb of Don Pedro Martínez De Ayllón. The upper cloister. Portal of St. Catherine's Chapel.
Tomb of Gonzalo De Burgos, by Simón De Colonia. Portal of the Corpus Christi Chapel (in which is found El Cid's chest). Portal of the Chapel of St. James.
Chapel of St. Jerome. Chapel of St. James. St. James in battle.

Seville (Sevilla), capital of modern Andalusia, was taken from the Moors in 1248.

Seville Cathedral. Seville Cathedral.
North transept. Window above the Prince's Door (south transept). Seville Cathedral.
The Door Of The Conception. Door on the west front. The Gate Of Forgiveness.
Crocodile in the cloister. Bells in the Giralda. The Giralda, originally the mosque's minaret, has a ramp inside so that horses can ascend.
Roof of the Royal Chapel - note the exposed vaults. Rear of the Royal Chapel. The Moorish cloister surrounding the Patio Of The Orange Trees.
Seville Cathedral is the largest by volume in the world, with one of the highest nave vaults (just a foot lower than Amiens). It occupies the site of the former mosque, of which only the cloister and minaret (belltower) remain. Work began in 1433 (supposedly by Carles Galtes De Ruan i.e. Rouen) after the 1401 declaration by the canons that it would be "so beautiful and large that those who see it would think
[the canons were] mad."
The choir - in the nave, separated from the high altar. The crossing, which has collapsed twice. The nave.
The vaults. The vast organ. The organ.
The rear of the reredos, giving a hint of Brabantine gothic (the architect was Flemish). Tomb of Juan De Cervantes, by Lorenzo Mercadante De Bretaña from Brittany (1458). Below the organ.
The tomb of Christopher Columbus. The tomb of Christopher Columbus. The tomb of Christopher Columbus.
The tomb of Christopher Columbus dates from 1891, after his remains
were moved over the centuries, from Spain to
Santo Domingo (Hispaniola) to Cuba and back to Spain.
The reredos above the high altar. The vast reredos, begun by Pyeter Dancart (a Fleming) in 1482. The vast gilded reredos is the largest in the world.
Entrance to the royal chapel. The Patio Of The Chapter. Empty tomb of Baltasar Del Rio. The mannequin of a boy in blue represents the ten boys who dance in the festival of the Seises each year.
Chapel Of St. Leander. The Sacristy Of The Chalices. The antechapter.
Corridor winding to the chapterhouse. The chapterhouse. The main sacristy.
Crown of the Virgin De Los Reyes. The Alcazar (castle). The Alcazar.
A modernist folly. The unfinished city hall. City hall.
The archbishop's palace. The General Archive Of The Indies (by Juan De Herrera). The General Archive Of The Indies.
The General Archive Of The Indies. Letter from the shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, to the Duke Of Lerma. The General Archive Of The Indies.
Palacio De San Telmo. Handwritten letter - possibly the fifth letter from Hernan Cortes to Emperor Charles V (1526). The General Archive Of The Indies.
Palacio De San Telmo. The Royal Tobacco Factory. Seville Pavilion.
Plaza De España.
Plaza De España. Plaza De España. Plaza De España.
The Plaza De España and nearby buildings date from the
1929 Ibero-American Exposition.
Plaza De España. Plaza De España. Plaza De España.
The Museum Of Popular Arts. The Archaeological Museum. The Royal Pavilion.
The Giralda. The Torre Del Oro. The Real Maestranza bull ring.

Córdoba (Cordova) is chiefly of interest for its history as the capital of the Islamic kingdoms on the Iberian peninsula, which lasted from the 700s until defeated by the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, in 1492 (although Córdoba itself was conquered in 1236).

The ancient Albolafia water wheel (around 1000 years old) . Calahorra Tower, at the end of the Roman brige. The Puerta Del Puente, at the other end of the bridge.
The Alcazar (castle). Streets by the Mezquita. The city walls.
Averroes (Ibn Rushd), the Muslim scholar who lived in the city. Santa Victoria. Bell tower and orange tree courtyard of the Mezquita.
The Mezquita. The Mezquita. Door of the Mezquita - gothic or Moorish?
The Mezquita. The Mezquita. San Sebastian hospital.
Built as a mosque in several stages from 786 onwards and largely retained by the conquering Spaniards (unlike what happened in Seville), the Islamic structure of the Mezquita was nonetheless stamped with the imprint of a gothic cathedral in 1523.
Columns of the Mezquita. Columns of the Mezquita. Columns of the Mezquita.
Columns of the Mezquita. The Villaviciosa Chapel. The Sagrario.
The Mezquita is an extraordinary building in which political, religious, cultural and architectural contrasts are powerfully manifest. The dimly lit rows of countless Moorish columns are sporadically interrupted by the thrust of a heavy gothic buttress. Visitors, drawn to a distant white light, cross into the dazzling pearlescent heart of the cathedral.
Gothic buttresses penetrate the colonnades. Gothic vaults sit on Moorish arches, which sit on Roman and Visigothic columns. Area around the mihrab.
The mihrab (indicating the direction of Mecca). Door beside the mihrab. Leading to the Villaviciosa Chapel.
The dome over the mihrab (note that these vaults predate all gothic ones). The Royal Chapel. Dome adjoining the Villaviciosa Chapel.
Where the cathedral joins the Moorish colonnades. The cathedral crossing. The cathedral crossing.
The great monstrance of Enrique De Arfe. The cathedral. The organ.