Some of the most impressive Roman ruins I’ve seen were actually in Spain, or Hispania as it was known then. In fact, this one hardly counts as a ruin, considering that it has been restored at various times over the years and was used for its intended purpose until the mid-19th century. This aqueduct, built around the 1st century AD, is one of the symbols of Segovia, Spain. Seen here in 2006, it has two beautiful layers of arches, one large on the bottom and one smaller on top.
You can see the layers of unmortared bricks in this closer shot. The niche holds a statue of the Virgin Mary, which the Internet tells me may be la Virgen de la Fuencisla, the patron saint of Segovia.
When I studied abroad in Spain in 2006, we had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling around the country, both with our university group and on our own. We saw not only the main cities of Spain, but also the beautiful countryside.
We took a quick day trip to Segovia, a beautiful city with a rich history. From the castle, we saw this amazing view of the city and the surrounding countryside.
Our group took a trip through the south of the country later in the fall. We traveled through the region of Castilla-La Mancha and saw some of the old windmills made famous by Don Quixote.
Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona, Spain is a wonder of Modernisme architecture. Although I think of Gaudí’s style as being very rounded and natural, he also uses angles incredibly well. In the Passion façade, he uses stark angles to show the harsh bleakness of Christ’s passion and death.
In the interior, he uses organic angles on the tree-like pillars to give a sense of opening above. And outside, he includes many peaks that point heavenward.
As I mentioned last week in my review of the novel The Pillars of the Earth, the late Gothic period in Spain transitioned into a very ornate style of architecture called Plateresque. The New Cathedral of Salamanca is one example of this style.
Up close, you can see the incredible detail of the facades. “Plateresque” means “in the style of a silversmith,” so there are many little flourishes.
There were some renovations of the exterior done in the 90s, and the builders added their own touches, including this astronaut. See him on the left? It is definitely an unexpected detail!