La Rioja Art
Due to its location on the crossing point of two
cultural "lines" on the Peninsula, La Rioja is rich
in monuments and archaeological remains: on one side, the Ebro,
with influence from the Iberians, Romans and Arabs, and on the
other, the Camino de Santiago, where Goths, Franks, Saxons and
Tarazona, in the community of Aragón, was the residence of the Aragonese kings, and still houses the royal palace (nowadays the bishop´s palace) and an ancient neighbourhood of narrow streets above the river. The cathedral is of various styles, from the Aragonese mudéjar of the tower or the lattices of the cloister, to the Renaissance style of the facade. In the interior, the chapel and tombs are Gothic.
In Tudela, Navarra, the cathedral is a beautiful Cistercian example of a building showing the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. Its facade depicts the Final Judgement with almost 200 groups of human forms. The 12th-13th century cloister is very harmonious, and here we can see the door of an original mosque. In the interior, the decoration is Barroque in some chapels and the retrochoir, and there are also beautiful examples of Romanesque and Gothic religious images.
Brick is the main material used in the architecture of the region, due to the scarcity of stone for ashlars, as well as the Arab tradition of using brick. In Arnedo there are a fair few palatial homes, fundamentally Barroque, with two or three floors in ashlarwalling or brick, with an attic with a gallery of small arches - these are all in the old part of town, and it is worth taking a walk around. The castle which sits on a hill dominating the town is the result of Arab occupation. The churches of San Cosme and Damián, Santa Eulalia and Santo Tomás are fine examples of local architecture - a mixture of stone and brick with diverse architectonic influences. In Calahorra we see some Roman remains, the site of the Jewish quarter and the Gothic cathedral.
Sitting between Christian kingdoms and Muslim-controlled lands, and later the cause of wars amongst the Christians, there are numerous castles and remains of city walls to be seen. In Najera, there is the castle which dates from the 12th century, and in Santo Domingo the remains of the city walls.
We will see some examples of Mozarabic style: the hermitage of Santa María de Peñalva in Arnedillo, and the Mozarabic temple in the monastery of Suso in San Millan de la Cogolla, later enlarged by two Romanesque naves.
There are numerous examples of transitional art, designed in Romanesque style and constructed in Gothic style, or perhaps started in one style and finished off in another, testimony to the flow of artistic trends which the Camino de Santiago encouraged: the cathedral of El Salvador in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, or Santa María la Real in Najera. In Gothic style, there is the fortified church of Santa María la Mayor in Ezcaray. Renaissance is seen in the church of the monastery of Yuso in San Millán, or the church of Santo Tomas and the Paternina Palace in Haro. Numerous altarpieces in cathedrals and churches of the area are also Renaissance.
Numerous public buildings were constructed in Neoclassical style in the 19th and 20th centuries.
La Rioja guide