Granada, Spain. April 2014.
Visited the famed Alhambra Palace in Granada, which thankfully had a higher concentration of architectural features than I seem to have lucked out on in Spain in general. Can’t say that the style was particularly Spanish–I am still struggling to figure out what real Spanish design elements really are–but it is definitely ‘moorish’. The thing about moorish architecture though is that it screams more Moroccan and Arabian in style rather than Spanish, even though this type of architecture is seen a lot throughout the Iberian peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, etc.)
But maybe the reason for the mish-mash of Spain’s architectural aesthetic (and I am just spitballing here, since I am no expert on the subject) is that it is literally sandwiched in between a few other very strong and very prominent styles of architecture which may have bumped off what might have been the original Spanish aesthetic. I mean it has got French (baroque, gothic, etc.) and Italian (renaissance, Roman, medieval, etc.) influences coming from the north and east, and then the exotic moorish style from North Africa coming from the south–all of which are styles which I see quite evidently in Spanish architecture, but all of which are styles which are not Spain’s own.
And I’m not trying to put down Spanish architecture & design or anything like that–I’m just trying to figure out what it is, because I think that it was only after visiting Spain that I realized what a design identity crisis it presented to me.
If you look at all these moorish design details, they are undoubtedly gorgeous. But they’re moorish, and not quite Spanish.
Maybe it’s a bit weird that I’m bugging out so much focusing on this topic, but it was something that I just couldn’t shake the whole time I was in Spain.
Is it because the Philippines was colonized by Spain hundreds of years ago and we, too, have a bit of an identity crisis as a country? I don’t know. Maybe that’s just looking too much into things, or maybe I’m the only one feeling confused about this and am being totally weird and nitpicky about it. Ah well.
But it did, strangely, prompt me to reread certain bits of history and whatnot. Maybe if we had covered this sort of thing in high school (and college), I would have studied up more diligently in my history classes. Note to teachers for how to make history more interesting for artsy fartsy folk.
This columned building is quite Greco-Roman, wouldn’t you agree?
Anyway, I’ll leave the matter at that for now, but I’m still trying to figure it out.