Spain is such a historically significant country that it is only fitting that it should have innumerable monuments for us to bask in. For this particular reason, we set out on a quest to talk about the 12 Treasures of Spain declared by the Antena 3 and COPE companies. These results were distributed on 31 December 2007 and they do nothing but enhance the grandeur of the country in terms of cultural significance. So, without further ado, let us dive right into the exploration!
1. The Cave of Altamira:
Located in Cantabria, the Cave of Altamira is one of the most renowned ancient sites in the world. Featuring polychrome rock paintings of wild mammals and human hands created 18,500 to 14,000 years ago, the cave is over 35,600 years old. Thus, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you wish to visit it, you will find it 30 kilometres west of the city of Santander.
2. The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba:
Also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba, the monument is affiliated with a number of historically significant groups such as the Visigoths, the Muslims and the Catholics. It has since been transformed and renamed to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the cathedral is one of the most exquisite examples of Moorish architecture.
3. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See:
Also known as the Seville Cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See is the largest gothic church in the world and the third-largest overall. Declared both a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1987) and a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest (1928), the cathedral is more than 615 years old. Definitely a must-see if you are in the region!
4. The Alhambra:
The Alhambra is a fortress and palace complex located in Granáda, Andalusia and it was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally built in 889 atop the ruins of some Roman fortifications, it largely eluded public attention until its subsequent reconstruction in the mid-thirteenth century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada.
5. The Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar:
The two companies that created this list could not have excluded the massive Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza, Aragon. Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the cathedral adheres to the Baroque architectural style. Built between 1681 and 1754, it has the ecclesiastical or organizational status of a Minor Basilica.
6. The Teide National Park:
Next up, we have Tenerife’s Teide National Park stretching upon an area of 190 square kilometres. Its centrepiece is the renowned Mount Teide (the highest mountain in Spain) of 3,718 metres. Visited by more than 3 million people each year, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
7. The Roman Theatre of Mérida:
Created by the consul Vipsanius Agrippa in the Roman city of Emerita Augusta, the Roman Theatre of Mérida is another UNESCO World Heritage Site (1993) that could not have eluded this list. Built between 16 and 15 BCE, the theatre had a capacity of 6,000 back in its prime years. The awe-inspiring pillars and the overall feel cannot be left out, if one finds oneself in Extremadura.
8. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela:
If you’ve read Paulo Coelho’s “The Pilgrimage”, then you know a thing or two about the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It is not only a popular pilgrimage terminus but also the supposed burial site of St. James the Great (one of the apostles of Jesus). Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, the cathedral adheres to the standards of the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architectural styles and it has a capacity to harbour over 1,200 worshippers.
9. The City of Arts and Sciences:
Housing a number of establishments dedicated to the exploration of the world around us, the City of Arts and Sciences is one of the most important landmarks of Valencia. Situated proudly upon the former riverbed of the river Turia, the complex contains some of the most important landmarks of the city. These include the L’Hemisfèric (a planetarium, laserium and IMAX Cinema designed to look like a giant eyelid that can open and reveal the part of itself that can be considered the iris), the El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (an interactive science museum that is shaped after the skeleton of a whale), the L’Umbracle (an open structure resembling a bridge and containing not only the world-famous Walk of the Sculptures but also a large variety of indigenous plants), the L’Oceanogràfic (an open-air oceanographic park – in fact, it is the largest aquarium in Europe stretching upon an area of 110,000 square metres and containing more than 42 million litres of water), the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (an exquisite opera house containing four massive halls), the El Pont de l’Assut de l’Or (a cable-stayed bridge crossing the dried-out riverbed of the Turia), and, finally, the L’Àgora (a covered plaza used mostly for concerts, exhibitions, staging of congresses and sports events).
10. The Sagrada Família:
Barcelona’s finest could not have been left out as it is quite possibly the most notable landmark of Spain. With a capacity of 9,000, it was designed by the master architect Antoni Gaudi. Designated both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest, the Sagrada Família adheres to the “Modernism” Spanish architectural style.
11. The Beach of La Concha:
This is the one and only beach of this list and it is that of the Bay of La Concha (la concha meaning “shell”) in San Sebastián. With its unparalleled panorama and sandy nature, it is one of the most desirable beaches of Europe.
12. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao:
Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (located in Bilbao, of course) has a vast collection of modern and contemporary art pieces. Inaugurated on 18 October 1997 by former King Juan Carlos I of Spain, the establishment has more than 1.1 million visitors each year. We encourage you to be one of them!
Did you enjoy the list? How many of the aforementioned points of interest have you visited? Tell us all about it in the comment section below!