There are loads of structures in the world: tunnels, bridges, monuments, tombs…you name it. They are created for all sorts of purposes including spiritual, aesthetic, practical and entertainment requirements, and all have their own distinct value. However, today I’m just going to focus on buildings, which are actually a pretty diverse sub-breed themselves! Europe has always been an architectural oasis for me, it’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful architecture that spans various eras, influences and trends.
Two of my favourite European buildings are located in Spain. One is a religious building and one is a palace; they are completely different but equally breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Firstly, I’m a big fan of Antonio Gaudi, so as you can imagine I love Barcelona where so much of his work is on display on the streets and in the parks of city. In order to really see the best of his work you need to head to the Sagrada Familia, the epic church project and labour of love that he worked on until his death in 1926. The Basilica is still under construction so be prepared to see a lot of building taking place whilst you visit, although this in itself is very interesting so be sure to check out the museum while you’re there. These days the building is the subject of controversy as some people believe new construction materials are being employed which Gaudí himself would not have used. The appearance of the building is truly original, combining Gothic and Art Nouveau forms, with striking facades and unique spires that form an unmistakeable silhouette amongst the city’s skyline.
My second favourite Spanish structure is the magnificent and atmospheric Ahambra in Granada, Andalusia. If you love history, this place will floor you, it’s a stunning network of palaces and gardens that really evoke the ‘paradise on earth’ theme that its Muslim architects intended. Although it was originally constructed as a small fortress in 889, the large complex of the Alhambra as we know it today was built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain. After the Catholic conquest of Granada in 1492 some of the grounds were used and built on by Christian rulers but it soon fell into disrepair until being re-discovered by European adventurers and scholars. It’s very hard to resist its Moorish charms, the intricate stucco inscribed with Arabic calligraphy is mesmerizing as are the colorful tiles adorning the palaces. The location is also hard to miss, you can see its imposing walls rising up against the mountains in the distance – an architectural gem not to be missed!