Pioneers of the New Architecture

ITINERARY: La Calahorra -Guadix - Baza - Huéscar - Vélez Blanco.

Pioneer examples of the Renaissance in Spain were two Andalusian castles, restored at the beginning of the 16th century by nobles who backed the cultural change and who turned their old fortresses into palaces where the new artistic and architectural tendencies out of Italy reigned supreme.

Some few years after the end of the "reconquest", towards 1509, the Marquis of Cenete, one of the powerful Mendoza familly, restored the Castle of La Calahorra with a design by Lorenzo Vazquez carried out by artists from Genoa and Lombardy, among which Michele Carlone. Between 1506 and 1515 the Marquis of los Velez had the magnificient Castle of Vélez Blanco buit by Italians.

Both buildings have had differing histories: in the former one can still see the contrast between the outer massive aspect and the refined interior, with its "cortile", the stairs and decoration, but the latter is now in New York´s Metropolitan Museum. Velez Blanco however, has the facade of the Convent of San Luis. Guadix, episcopal see after the "reconquest", has a late Gothic Cathedral designed by Siloe in mid-16th century, in which the chapel of San Torcuato is outstanding.

The Plaza Mayor, though built between 1610 and 1617 and reformed in 1834, still has a Reinassance air. Baza has a late Gothic Colegiata by Rodrigo de Gijaba. The parish church in Huéscar is by Siloe.

For further examples of the Reinassance in this area, we may go to Almeria, where the Cathedral was reformed in mid 16th century by Juan de Orea, fundamentally affecting the façade.

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