The Palace of The Guzmanes courtyard

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Palace of the Guzmanes (Palacio de los Guzmanes) is the current headquarters of the Diputación de León (the provincial government) is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city of Leon, Spain.

Don Juan de Quiñones y Guzmán, bishop of Calahorra, commanded its construction to Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, the most important architect back then. He had planned the University of Alcalá de Henares and the Palacio Monterrey in Salamanca. The Palacio de los Guzmanes’ construction took place between 1559 and 1572 in the lands where the old city Wall used to stand, and also the place where the family’s older palace was. This was a mudejar building that was knocked down in order to build the new one. The construction work was never finished and the palace deteriorated until i tended up abandoned.

In 1882 it was purchased by the provincial government (Diputación) for its recovery, and since then, a series of reforms have taken place. They concluded with the extension carried out between 1973 and 1976 by the architect Felipe Moreno.

It is a place of delicate elegance from the Renaissance, with flair and structural simplicity. Inside, the extraordinary courtyard leads up the stairs to the administrative offices. At the main entrance, there are two reliefs: one represents Saint Augustine washing Pilgrim Christ’s feet. The other is the Annunciation. Likewise, there’s the sculpture of the aforementioned bishop Juan Quiñones de Guzmán, work by Valentín Yugueros. In the façade there is the mysterious Guzmanes’ coat of arms, a bucket with six snakes getting out.
The building’s base is like a trapezoid, with four towers at the corners and an indoor courtyard with columns and beautiful stained glass windows at the second level. The palace has two parts: balconies in the upper one and barred windows in the lower one. The main façade makes up a third part, which is a gallery of glazed arches between Corinthian pilasters. The building’s floors are vertically connected through a spiral staircase located at the Southeast tower.

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Monastery of San Miguel de Escalada BW

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

San Miguel de Escalada is a monastery in the province of León, Spain, located 10 km from the Way of St. James pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The building is an example of Mozarabic art and architecture or Repoblación art and architecture.

An inscription that has disappeared but was published by Father Risco in 1786 gave information about the church’s consecration in 951 by Bishop Genadio of Astorga, around the time of the founding of the Kingdom of León. It was constructed on a site dedicated to Saint Michael, probably a Visigothic church.

In 1050, due to an increase in the number of monks, the foundation was renewed by the Abbot Sabarico. In 1155 King Alfonso VII of León gave the monastery to the congregation of St Rufo of Avignon.

After the disentailment of ecclesiastical properties and lands in 1836 (Desamortización de Mendizábal), the monastery was abandoned and the monastic offices disappeared. The only buildings extant are the church, the tower, and the San Fructuoso chapel. The tower and the chapel are of Romanesque style. Later in the nineteenth century the buildings were declared a national monument. (Description from Wikipedia)

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Gravestones and ruins of St Andrews Cathedral

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The ruins of the nave of St. Andrews Cathedral, St. Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom.

The Cathedral of St Andrew (often referred to as St Andrews Cathedral) is a ruined Roman Catholic cathedral in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. It was built in 1158 and became the centre of the Medieval Catholic Church in Scotland as the seat of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and the Bishops and Archbishops of St Andrews. It fell into disuse and ruin during the 16th century Scottish Reformation, after which Catholic mass was outlawed.

The cathedral was founded to supply more accommodation than the older church of St. Regulus (St. Rule) afforded. This older church, located on what became the cathedral grounds, had been built in the Romanesque style. Today, there remains the square tower, 33 metres (108 feet) high, and the quire, of very diminutive proportions. On a plan of the town from about 1530, a chancel appears, and seals affixed to the city and college charters bear representations of other buildings attached. To the east is an even older religious site, the Church of St Mary on the Rock, the Culdee house that became a Collegiate Church.

Work began on the new cathedral in 1158 and continued for over a century. The west end was blown down in a storm and rebuilt between 1272 and 1279. It was dedicated on 5 July 1318, in a ceremony before King Robert I . When intact it had, besides a central tower, six turrets; of these remain two at the east and one of the two at the western extremity, rising to a height of 30 metres (100 feet).

A fire partly destroyed the building in 1378; restoration and further embellishment were completed in 1440.

Greyfriar (Franciscan) and Blackfriar (Dominican) friars had properties in the town by the late 15th century and possibly as late as 1518.
In 1559, during the Scottish reformation, the building was stripped of its altars and images; and by 1561 it had been abandoned and left to fall into ruin.
At about the end of the sixteenth century the central tower apparently gave way, carrying with it the north wall. Afterwards large portions of the ruins were taken away for building purposes, and nothing was done to preserve them until 1826. Since then it has been tended with scrupulous care, an interesting feature being the cutting out of the ground-plan in the turf. The principal portions extant, partly Norman and partly Early Scottish, are the east and west gables, the greater part of the south wall of the nave and the west wall of the south transept.

At the end of the seventeenth century some of the priory buildings remained entire and considerable remains of others existed, but nearly all traces have now disappeared except portions of the priory wall and the archways, known as The Pends.

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A bicycle at Plaza Real

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

A bicycle at Plaza Real, Barcelona, Spain. 

Plaza Real (meaning “Royal Plaza”) is a square in the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It lies next to La Rambla and constitutes a well-known touristic attraction, especially at night. On the plaza are a large number of restaurants and some of the city’s most famous nightclubs including Sidecar, Jamboree or Karma. It is also known for its many outdoor venues and is a popular meeting place during the summer and the annual La Mercè festival in September, when open air concerts take place, and during other celebrations such as New Year’s Eve, often being very crowded. 

The Plaça Reial was designed by Francesc Daniel Molina i Casamajó in the 19th century. The square is twinned with Plaza Garibaldi, in Mexico City. The lanterns there were designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. The square is the site of the Hotel Roma Reial and club.

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Gardens at the Cordova’s Palace, Granada

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Gardens at the Cordova’s Palace, Granada, Andalucia, Spain.

Climbing up from Granada via the “Paseo de los Tristes” and then up the “Cuesta de Chapiz”, stands on the right one of the buildings which, as fate would have it, has been moved to this distant corner of the city. This is the Palacio de los Córdova which was once situated in the city centre and now serves as an archive.

At first, the building was in the Descalza’s square and it was moved stone by stone to the Chapiz slope in the 16th century. The main building’s frontal is Renaissance where we can see the family’s coat of arms. Inside, the roofs are incredible, with a wood coffered ceiling and there is a beautiful Gothic atrium.

The palace is surrounded by a large garden with tall cypresses. On the floor of the main avenue we can see the typical Granada paving. Nowadays the building is used as the Municipal Archive of Granada.

A gate gives access a patio or courtyard with typical Granada cobbles. It has a gallery in its North sector and a fountain in the middle. It is surrounded by cypresses. Some brick arches limit the second little square with a lower fountain and mark the the cypresses path which drives us to the main gate. On the right there is a typical Granada orchard and on the lefte two paralel paths: the “romantic path” and the “laurel vault”.

The Palace of Los Córdova was built at Placeta de las Descalzas around 1530 and was finished by 1592. Its owner was Luis Fernández de Córdova, Great Lieutenant of Granada and Governor of the town of Villanueva de la Fuente. It is unknown when the Córdova family sold this building. Francisco de Paula Valladar writes in 1911 that “after being factories, companies, wood warehouses, etc., it is today a property of a company or community which hires it for city warehousing purposes…”. In 1919, after being bought by Ricardo Martín Flores, it was demolished in order to build the Gran Capitán Theatre; however the important historic and artistic features were moved to the “Villa María” estate on the road to Pulianas.

In the 60s, these treasures were going to be transferred to Córdoba. However, Mayor Manuel Sola convinced the Duke of Montellano, married to Hilda Fernández de Córdova, to rebuild the palace giving him 100.000 pesetas in advance. Following the plans of Architect Álvarez de Toledo from Málaga they start the reconstruction of the palace on a state located at the beginning of Cuesta del Chapiz. The construction works began in 1965. In 1983 the Granada City Council bought the Palacio de los Córdova in order to instal there the City Historical Archive, opened to public in August 1984.

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