Tag Archives: Pre-Romanesque art and architecture

UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Visit in Spain

The following table lists information about each World Heritage Site from the UNESCO Website:

Name: as listed by the World Heritage Committee
Location: city or province of site
Community: one of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain
Period: time period of significance, typically of construction
UNESCO data: the site’s reference number; the year the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List; the criteria it was listed under: criteria i through vi are cultural, while vii through x are natural; (the column sorts by year added to the list)
Description: brief description of the site
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com
Name Image Location and Description Community Period Ref(s)
Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain Altamira-1880.jpg Santillana del Mar: The Cave of Altamira contains examples of cave painting from the Upper Paleolithic period, ranging from 35,000 to 11,000 BC. The original listing contained seventeen decorated caves. The caves are well-preserved because of their deep isolation from the external climate. Cantabria 0003 !Upper Paleolithic [6]
Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct Aqueduct of Segovia Segovia: The Roman aqueduct was constructed in the 1st century, the medieval Alcázar palace in the 11th century, and the cathedral in the 16th. Castile and León 001 !1st to 16th centuries [7]
Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias Santa Maria del Naranco Oviedo: The Kingdom of Asturias remained the only Christian region of Spain in the 9th century. It developed its own style of Pre-Romanesque art and architecture that is displayed in various churches and other monuments. The original entry titled “Churches of the Kingdom of the Asturias” and was extended to include other monuments such as La Foncalada. Asturias 009 !9th century [8]
Historic Centre of Córdoba Córdoba: The original listing was the Great Mosque of Córdoba, a 7th-century mosque converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral in 13th century by Ferdinand III. During the high period of the Moorish rule of the region, Córdoba had over 300 mosques and architecture that compared to that of Constantinople, Damascus, and Baghdad. Andalusia 007 !7th to 13th centuries [9]
Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín Alhambra Granada: The three sites are remnants of the Moorish influence in southern Spain. The fortress Alhambra and the palace Generalife were built by the rulers of the Emirate of Granada. The Albayzín district contains examples of the Moorish vernacular architecture and was added to the listing in 1994. Andalusia 014 !14th century [10]
Burgos Cathedral Burgos Cathedral Burgos: The Gothic-style cathedral was constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries. It is the burial place of Spanish national hero, El Cid. Castile and León 013 !13th to 16th centuries [11]
Monastery and Site of the Escorial El Escorial San Lorenzo de El Escorial: El Escorial is one of several Spanish royal sites due to its history as a residence of the royal family. The palace was designed by King Philip II and architect Juan Bautista de Toledo to serve as a monument to Spain’s central role in the Christian world. Madrid 016 !16th century [12]
Works of Antoni Gaudí Casa Milà Barcelona: The architecture of Antoni Gaudí is part of the Modernist style, but his designs are described as highly unique. The original listing featured Park Güell, Palau Güell, and Casa Milà; the 2005 extension added Casa Vicens, the crypt and nativity façade of Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, and the crypt at Colònia Güell. Catalonia 019 !19th and 20th centuries [13]
Santiago de Compostela (Old Town) Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela: The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the reputed burial-place of the apostle James, and is the terminus of the Way of St. James, a pilgrimage across northern Spain. The town was destroyed by Muslims in the 10th century and rebuilt during the following century. Galicia 010 !10th and 11th centuries [14]
Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches City wall of Ávila Ávila: The defensive wall surrounding the original town was constructed in the 11th century. It features 82 semicircular towers and 9 gates, and is one of the most complete examples of town walls in Spain. Castile and León 011 !11th century [15]
Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon Cathedral of Teruel Provinces of Teruel and Zaragoza: The original listing contained four churches in Teruel in the Mudéjar style, a blending of traditional Islamic and contemporary European styles. In 2001, the listing was expanded to include an additional six monuments. Aragon 012 !12th to 17th centuries [16]
Historic City of Toledo Toledo Toledo: Toledo was founded by the Romans, served as the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom, was important in Muslim Spain and during the Reconquista, and briefly served as the capital of Spain. The city combines Christian, Muslim, and Jewish influences. Castile-La Mancha 008 !8th to 16th centuries [17]
Garajonay National Park Roque de Agando La Gomera: The park is 70% covered by laurisilva or laurel forest, vegetation from the Tertiary period that disappeared from mainland Europe due to climate change, but had covered much of the southern continent. Canary Islands 999 !N/A [18]
Old City of Salamanca Cathedral of Salamanca Salamanca: Salamanca is important as a university city, as the University of Salamanca, founded in 1218, is the oldest in Spain and among the oldest in Europe. The city was first conquered by the Carthaginians in the 3rd century, and later ruled by the Romans and Moors. The city centre represents Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Castile and León 013 !13th to 16th centuries [19][20]
Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville Cathedral and Archivo de Indias of Seville Seville: The Alcázar was built during the Almohad dynasty that ruled southern Spain until the Reconquista. The cathedral dates to the 15th century and holds the tombs of Ferdinand III and Christopher Columbus. The Archivo (Archive) houses documents relating to the colonization of the Americas. Andalusia 013 !13th to 16th centuries [21]
Old Town of Cáceres Cáceres Cáceres: The old town combines Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic, and Italian Renaissance architectural influences, including more than 30 Islamic towers. Extremadura 003 !3rd to 15th centuries [22][23]
Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture Ibiza Ibiza: The coast of Ibiza is home to posidonia oceanica, a seagrass only found in the Mediterranean that supports a diverse coastal and marine ecosystem. The island also contains numerous Phoenician ruins, and the fortified and walled older portions of the city date to the 16th century. Balearic Islands 999 !N/A [24]
Poblet Monastery Poblet Monastery Vimbodí: The monastery was founded by the Cistercians in 1151 and is one of the largest in Spain. It is associated with various royal families in medieval Spain, particularly the kings of Aragon. It is the burial place of Aragon monarchs Alfonso II, John I, John II, James I, Ferdinana I, and Peter IV. Catalonia 012 !12th and 13th centuries [25][26]
Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza Cathedral of Baeza Province of Jaén: Renovations of the two towns in the 16th century were done under the emerging Renaissance style and are among the first examples of the style in Spain. Andalusia 016 !16th century [27]
Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida Roman theatre of Mérida Mérida: Mérida was founded in 25 BC by the Romans as Emerita Augusta and was the capital of the Lusitania province. Remains from the Roman era include a bridge, aqueduct, amphitheatre, theatre, circus, and forum. Extremadura 001 !1st to 5th centuries [28]
Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe Guadalupe: The monastery is home of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a shrine to Mary found in the 13th century after being buried from Muslim invaders in 714. The Virgin of Guadalupe and the monastery served as important symbols during the Reconquista, culminating in 1492, the same year as Columbus’ discovery of America. The Guadalupe Virgin became an important symbol during the evangelization of America. Extremadura 013 !13th to 16th centuries [29][30]
Route of Santiago de Compostela The Route, or the Way of St. James, is a pilgrimage from the French-Spanish border to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where the apostle James is believed to be buried. Aragon !Aragon, Castile and León, Galicia, Navarre, and La Rioja 999 !N/A [31]
Doñana National Park Doñana National Park Provinces of Huelva and Seville: The park consists of the delta region where the Guadalquivir River reaches the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to a diverse variety of biotopes, such as lagoons, marshlands, dunes, and maquis. The park is one of the largest heronries in the Mediterranean region and holds more than 500,000 water fowl during the winter period. Andalusia 999 !N/A [32]
Pyrénées – Mont Perdu Ordesa Valley The site contains the Pyrenees mountain chain along the French-Spanish border. The Spanish portion contains two of the largest canyons in Europe, while the French side contains three large cirque walls Aragon (shared with France) 999 !N/A [33]
Historic Walled Town of Cuenca Cuenca Cuenca: The Moors built the fortified city in the early 8th century, and it was captured by the Christians in the 12th century. The cathedral is the first Gothic example in Spain. The town is also famous for its casas colgados, houses that hang over the edge of a cliff. Castile-La Mancha 012 !12th to 18th centuries [34][35]
La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia La Lonja Valencia: La Lonja (or Llotja in Valencian language) de la Seda means Silk Exchange in English, and the group of Gothic buildings demonstrate the wealth of Valencia as an important Mediterranean and European mercantile city in the period. Valencia 015 !15th and 16th centuries [36][37]
Las Médulas Las Médulas Ponferrada: The Romans established a gold mine and worked the site for two centuries. They used an early form of hydraulic mining and cut aqueducts in the rock cliffs to provide water for the operations. The Romans left in the early 3rd century, leaving sheer cliff faces and mining infrastructure that is intact today. Castile and León 001 !1st to 3rd centuries [38][39]
Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona Hospital de Sant Pau Barcelona: Both buildings were constructed in the early 20th century and designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner in the modernist Art Nouveau movement that was very popular in Barcelona in that period. The two buildings are Montaner’s most famous works. Catalonia 020 !20th century [40]
San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries San Millán Yuso San Millán de la Cogolla: The original Suso monastery was founded in the mid-6th century, and is the location where the Glosas Emilianenses were written. The codixes are considered the first written examples of the Spanish and Basque languages, and the monastery is considered the birthplace of written and spoken Spanish. The newer Yuso monastery was built in the 16th century. La Rioja 006 !6th to 16th centuries [41]
Prehistoric Rock-Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde Rock art in Côa The original 1998 listing contained examples of Upper Palaeolithic rock art in the Côa Valley of Portugal. In 2010 it was extended to include 645 engravings in the archaeological zone of Siega Verde in Spain. The two sites represent the most well-preserved collection of open-air Palaolithic art in the Iberian peninsula. Castile and León (shared with Portugal) 0002 !Palaeolithic [42]
Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula Deer painting in cave The site includes over 750 examples of rock art from the late prehistoric period, which feature images ranging from geometric shapes to scenes of men hunting animals. Andalusia !Andalusia, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, Catalonia, Murcia, and Valencia 0001 !Prehistoric [43][44]
Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco Aqueduct of Tárraco Tarragona: The prominent Roman city of Tárraco at the site of modern-day Tarragona served as the capital of the provinces of Hispania Citerior and later Hispania Tarraconensis. The amphitheatre was constructed in the 2nd century. Most remains are only fragments or preserved under more modern buildings. Catalonia 001 !1st to 4th centuries [45][46]
University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares University of Alcalá Alcalá de HenaresCardinal Cisneros founded the University of Alcalá in 1499 and is the first example of the planned university city, serving as a model to other European universities and Spanish missionaries in America. The city is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, known for his contributions to the Spanish language and Western literature Madrid 016 !16th century [47][48]
San Cristóbal de La Laguna San Cristóbal de La Laguna San Cristóbal de La Laguna: The city has an original and unplanned Upper Town, and “city-territory” Lower Town. It was Spain’s first non-fortified colonial town and served as a model for development in America. Many religious-function buildings and other public and private buildings date to the 16th century. Canary Islands 016 !16th to 18th centuries [49][50]
Palmeral of Elche Elche Elche: The grove of date palm trees was formally laid out with irrigation systems under the Moors in the 10th century. The palmeral is a rare example of Arab agricultural practices in Europe. Valencia 999 !N/A [51]
Roman Walls of Lugo Walls of Lugo Lugo: The walls built to protect the Roman town of Lucus in the 3rd century remain entirely intact and are the best remaining example in Western Europe. Galicia 003 !3rd century [52]
Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí Taüll – Sant Climent Vall de Boí: The small valley at the edge of the Pyrenees contains churches in Romanesque style decorated with Romanesque murals, statues, and altars. The churches are unique for their tall, square bell towers. Catalonia 011 !11th to 14th centuries [53][54]
Archaeological Site of Atapuerca Atapuerca Atapuerca: The caves in the Atapuerca Mountains contain fossil remains of the earliest human beings discovered in Europe dating from nearly one million years ago. The Sima de los Huesos or “Pit of Bones” contains the world’s largest collection of hominid fossils. Castile and León 0001 !Prehistoric [55][56]
Aranjuez Cultural Landscape Palace at Aranjuez Aranjuez: The landscape around the Royal Palace of Aranjuez was developed by the Spanish royal family over a course of three centuries and contains innovative horticultural and design ideas. The area was the exclusive property of the royal family until the 19th century when the modern civilian city developed. Madrid 015 !15th to 19th centuries [57][58]
Vizcaya Bridge Vizcaya Bridge Portugalete: The bridge was designed by Alberto Palacio to cross the Nervion without disrupting maritime traffic to the Port of Bilbao. It was built in 1893 and is the world’s first transporter bridge. Basque Country 019 !19th century [59][60]
Teide National Park Mount Teide Tenerife: The park contains Mount Teide, a volcano and the highest elevation in Spain. Canary Islands 999 !N/A [61]
Tower of Hercules Tower of Hercules A Coruña: The Romans built this 55 metres (180 ft) lighthouse on a 57 metres (187 ft) rock to mark the entrance to the A Coruña harbor. It is the only fully preserved and functioning Roman lighthouse. Galicia 001 !1st century [62]

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Filed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain