Treasures of France and Spain (Unabridged)
by CHARLES, RICARD III
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The history of Spain took many turns between the sixth and 15th centuries. The Visigoths of Germanic origin first claimed Spain, and they remained unchallenged for at least three centuries. The Moors, an Arabic people from northern Africa, eventually conquered Spain. They decreed capitulation under the Rule of God. At this point in time, Spain was changed forever, and to this day you can see the influence of the Moorish occupation in the ancient cathedrals, mosques, churches, and buildings that are still standing in modern Spain. In the 15th century, Spain was eventually reconquered by the Christians, and the hierarchal system was restored. The influx of French nobility and French monks significantly influenced the architectural style. This introduced a Romanesque aspect to buildings and edifices. It was then shaped once more at the start of the Inquisition when many religious inhabitants, that were not of the Christian faith, had to be exiled from Spain or forced to convert to Christianity. This really set back the Moorish influence in Spanish architecture. One type of architectural work that sets Spain apart is the ironwork after the 16th century. The wrought ironwork in particular, starting from the 16th century, is stunning, and its craft is the combination of Moorish and Christian influence. The Romanesque style which was later introduced includes rich iron ornamentations and decorations. This gave rise to famous architects of the Mudejar and Romanesque styles such as Antoni Gaudi. The abundant use of iron in Spain later spread throughout Europe, and shortly thereafter into much of the other parts of the world. Spain is still considered today as one of the architectural and artistic capitals of the world. Today, Spain is a country that still boasts many of the magnificent ancient cathedrals, churches, and mosques that were unique to that part of the world.