The magnificent palace of Alhambra was ignored for a major part until it was rebuilt and renovated in the 11th century. The sound of water splashing in the fountain provides a beautiful melody as you walk through the spectacular gardens and courtyards of Andalusia’s amazing fortress. It is the country’s most famous and important exhibit of Islamic architecture, and is a major tourist destination.
Home to a large heritage of culture and monuments, Toledo was the home of Muslims, Christians, and Jews who co-existed in the past. Because of its rich cultural and historical heritage, the place is on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list. Perched atop the Rio Tajo, the city is an arabesque of churches, synagogues, mosques, and medieval buildings that are connected by cobbled squares and streets.
La Sagrada Familia
Designed by Antoni Gaudi, the Basilica I Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia is an exquisite unfinished structure that is considered a minor basilica. Its honey-combed stalagmite-like pointed spires can be seen from almost anywhere in Barcelona; if you are not afraid of heights, these towers definitely deserve a tour. According to Paul Goldberger, La Sagrada Familia is the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.
A ship’s skeletal shape is what inspired the innovative, and breath-taking museum of Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. According to Matt Tyrnauer, this museum of modern and contemporary art is a representation of ‘one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all completely united about something.’ The reason why the Guggenheim Museum is so distinct from all others is its immense spaces; you can stand back to appreciate and admire the amazing works of artists such as Miquel Barcelo, Richard Serra, Anselm Kiefer, Eduardo Chillida, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning.
Museo del Prado
Situated in central Madrid is the Museo del Prado, which is among the world’s best museums. The museum is home to masterpieces by Flemish and Italian painters, but its real treasures are the art-works of Velazquez, El Greco, and Goya. Velazquez’s amazing Las Meninas is probably the most famous work displayed at the museum. The museum has a collection of 8200 drawings, 7600 paintings, 4800 prints, and 1000 sculptures.
The Roman Ruins of Merida
More than any other city in the country, Merida is home to well-preserved ancient Roman monuments. Please your eyes with the spectacular sight of the Roman amphitheatre that has been preserved fabulously; its statues, tiered seating, and columns host a classical theatre every summer. Ogle the modest, but equally enticing house of the 2nd century with its frescoes and mosaics.
Hanging Houses of Cuenca
The city is home to magnificent mansions, lovely local bars, ancient churches, and buildings dipped in honey. Look for the hanging houses whose facades dive dangerously over the Huecar’s ravine. These were common in the past along the eastern border; but today only a few of such structures remain. Of them, a group of three houses with wooden balconies is the most famous.
El Escorial de Arriba
Built by Felipe II, this massive monastery, with more than 2500 windows is sure to make you stop in your tracks. With an austere exterior, one is surprised to find that its interior is adorned with colourful and rich tapestries, paintings by amazing artists such as El Greco, and ornate frescoes. Located inside the monastery, the Royal Library is truly remarkable; step into another world to make your Spanish holiday truly memorable.
Formerly a medieval Islamic mosque, the Mezquita was turned into a cathedral of the Roman Catholic. Famous for its red and white columns that resemble an oasis of palm grove, the Mezquita is an extraordinary structure. Moorish decorations and arches adorn the Mezquita. This humongous monument takes up an entire block in the heart of the city’s tangle of squares and ancient streets.