IN ASSOCIATION WITH BRITISH AIRWAYS

Modern Marvels: 'Architectural change was slow to happen in Andalucia'

So much attention is paid to the glorious architecture of many of Andalucia's old buildings that it is easy to forget that plenty has been built in the region in more modern times, too. Most noticeable are the new housing areas or "urbanizaciones" that have sprung up along the coast. Many of them are reminiscent of the old Moorish villages; others, like Sotogrande, are luxurious resorts showcasing modern tastes in comfortable living.

Architectural change was slow to happen in this traditional region, but it was kick-started in 1929 when Seville hosted the Ibero-American Exhibition in Maria Luisa Park. The park was redesigned and several of the pavilions, built as showcases for the exhibitions of various countries, still remain. The Plaza de España, an elaborate semi-circular expanse with a canal and fountains in front of it, was built to house the Spanish exhibitions.

Many of the region's modern buildings are civic ones, created through the needs of its citizens for schools, hospitals and other public institutions. Examples include places like the university in Cordoba, the bus station in Almeria and, later, the Santa Justa railway station in Seville. Increasing industrialisation has been a driving force, too, resulting in some striking commercial premises: the Bodegas Garvey, headquarters of the Garvey sherry house in Jerez, for example, and the fish market in Barbate.

Malaga, a city which has seen rapid development in the last century thanks to the demands of mass tourism, has some interesting examples of modern architecture. Most obvious is the new Congress Hall, opened in 2003, whose trapezoid windows and wave-like roof mark it out from the urban sprawl around it. Opened in the same year, but beautifully converted from the older Mercado de Mayoristas, built in 1939, is CAC Malaga, the city's Contemporary Art Gallery on Calle Alemania (00 34 952 120 055; www.cacmalaga.org). The building is typical of the style popular in the early days of the Spanish republic: solid, rather squat, with clean lines and long rectangular windows.

Perhaps the single most striking example of modern architecture in Andalucia is the Alamillo Bridge in Seville. Designed by the well-known Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to provide a northern entrance to the site of Expo '92, this 250-metre bridge is at once dramatic and graceful, and consists of a single leaning pylon held in place with cables attached to different points along the bridge.

RONDA: A MOORISH TREASURE TROVE

After the Reconquest was complete, the Spanish began to eliminate all traces of Moorish architecture. Some survived - and more in Ronda than anywhere else. Built just outside the city walls, the bath house, or baños arabes, was a popular meeting place in Moorish times. The baths have been carefully restored so that their three main areas, the hot, warm and cold rooms, are clearly identifiable.

More important was the Mondragon Palace, residence of several Moorish kings. It is a lovely building, containing a series of interior courtyards, arches, overhanging balconies and tiled walls that clearly show its Moorish origins.

When the town was first reconquered, the king ordered the building of a new church in commemoration of the victory. The Church of the Holy Spirit was built on top of the existing mosque in a gothic-renaissance style, with a single nave, which gives the building a real sense of grandeur. St Mary's church was also converted out of a mosque, and it is this building, on one side of Ronda's attractive main square, that the residents of the town refer to as their cathedral. It is part ornate place of worship, part museum, with the original Muslim prayer niche, partially hidden in the entrance where the tickets are sold.

Everything in Ronda seems to have been built on something else: the 18th-century façade of the Casa del Moro sits on top of the ancient Moorish water gallery; the arch of Philip V is an 18th-century entrance through the city walls, thought to replace an older original.

Baños Arabes (00 34 952 873 889) opens 10am-7pm Monday to Friday, 10am-3pm at weekends. Admission €2 (£1.40).

Mondragon Palace (00 34 952 878 450) opens 10am-7pm Monday to Friday, 10am-3pm at weekends. Admission €2 (£1.40).

Church of the Holy Spirit opens 10am-1.30pm and 4pm-7pm Monday to Saturday. Admission €1 (70p).

St Mary's Church (00 34 952 872 246) opens 10am-8pm daily. Admission €3 (£2.15).

The Tourist Office is at Paseo Blas Infante s/n (00 34 952 187 119; www.turismoderonda.es).

The nearest airport to Ronda is Malaga. British Airways, operated by GB Airways, flies to Malaga from London Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester. For more details visit www.ba.com

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
Sport
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse come together
football
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis