Spain is home to some of the most majestic architectural masterpieces from the Middle Ages, built by the Moors, the region’s Islamic rulers. Moorish architecture is seen in Spain’s palaces, mosques, gardens, public buildings, and so on.
Moorish architecture is characterized by interlacing arches, central courtyards, riad gardens, intricately carved wood and stucco embellishments, and many other notable elements.
#1: The Alhambra, Granada
The best-known example of Moorish architecture in Spain, the Alhambra fortress sits on a hilltop set against the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The interior has walls covered in Islamic calligraphy, mosaics, and carvings.
#2: Generalife, Granada
Located on a hill right opposite the Alhambra is the Sultan’s summer resting retreat called the Generalife.
It is famous for its manicured gardens featuring beautiful water fountains. The gardens are some of the best examples of architectural symmetry.
#3: Mosque–Cathedral, Córdoba
Built in 784 A.D. by Abd al-Rahman I, the original design of this mosque was inspired by those of Damascus and Jerusalem.
The Roman-inspired red and white columns on the interior are the most remarkable features of this mosque, which is now a place of Christian worship.
#4: Royal Alcázar, Seville
Still the official residence of the Spanish royal family in Seville, Royal Alcázar was fashioned by the same artisans who worked on the Alhambra.
The ornate interiors and the beautiful courtyard garden are the most noteworthy features of this palace.
#5: Giralda, Seville
Perhaps the only remnant of the Great Mosque of Seville, Giralda is today largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
What was once the minaret of the Great Mosque is now the cathedral’s bell tower, which visitors can climb by walking up a series of ramps installed within.
#6: Torre del Oro, Seville
This is a dodecagonal military watchtower in Seville built by the Almohad Caliphate to control the city’s access from Guadalquivir river.
Erected sometime in the first quarter of the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages.
#7: Alcazaba, Málaga
The Alcazaba is one of the oldest Moorish forts on the Iberian Peninsula that protected the Moors from the Spanish Reconquista till the 15th century.
The ruins also include a roman theatre predating the Moors.
#8: Castle of Gibralfaro, Málaga
Sitting atop Mount Gibralfaro, a 130 m high hill overlooking Málaga and the Mediterranean Sea, the Castle of Gibralfaro offers wonderful views of the city from up top.
Today, the most prominent visible remains of the castle are its solid ramparts that rise above the pine trees growing in its vicinity.