Spanish Castles of Medieval Times
Information and Theories 3/7/10
By: Yona Williams
When visitors plan a trip to Spain, one of the most interesting features of the country is the impressive architecture. A great deal of exceptional examples date back to medieval times, where the location of the country played an important role. Since Spain was divided from the rest of Western Europe with the Pyrenees Mountains serving as a backdrop, the architectural techniques differed from other regions. The Moorish history of the country also affected the buildings that came out of the Middle Ages.
Historical Effects on Spanish Castles
During the early years of medieval times, politics led to many internal struggles. In 711, an Islamic army landed in Andalusia, which led to a significant turning point in history. After two years passed, the Califs of Damascus declared command over Spain. In order to fight their Islamic opponents, strongholds called castillos were constructed. Interestingly, the English word 'castle' comes from the castillos of Spain.
Designs of Spanish castles often followed a symmetrical pattern with a variety of stone colors used to decorate the structures. The interior of the castles also showcased many different patterns. The presence of Islamic forces would eventually influence the castles in Spain. One feature was the rounded towers and some of the masonry techniques. The surroundings of the country gave way to some of the features of Spanish castles. The flat landscape allowed guards keeping watch at the towers exceptional views of armies as they approached their fortresses. In the northern part of the country, the architecture was also influenced by the Germanic culture.
In the province of Segovia, the Alcazar Castle doubled as a castle and palace and is one of the most famous structures in Spain because a great deal of kings once called the castle their home. The inside of the castle was also known for its beauty. Constructed on an old Arab stronghold, the castle provides a decent sample of what Spanish Gothic architecture looks like.
The rear faÃƒÂ§ade of the castle was slender in size with towers made out of stone that reached high into the sky above the walls. During the mid-1800s, the interior of the castle suffered a terrible fire, but has since become a completely restored structure. Some people who have taken pictures in front of the castle have detected an unexplainable mist or odd shadow that develops with images.
Castel del Monte
In Apulia, Castel del Monte shows the distinct symmetry of Spanish medieval architecture. Possessing an octagonal layout, the inside of the castle was fashioned in the same shape. This particular design came with a tower of the same shape that decorated each exterior corner of the spacious structure. The Castel del Monte offers a grand example of what happens when you combine Islamic and Western European styles.