Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Spanish Tile as Building Material, Part 2

In my last blog post, Spanish Tile as a Building Material, Part 1, I wrote about the extensive use of ceramic tile as an architectural and sustainable necessity in the city of Zaragoza, the capital of the region of Aragon. In Part 2 of this three-part series, my focus will be on Teruel (a World Heritage site as designated by UNESCO). 
A memorial to the tragic story of "The Lovers of Teruel" is further decorated with various shapes, sizes and colors of ceramic tile.
The entrance to the fortress-like city of Teruel features a depiction of the young lovers Juan Diego de Marcilla and Isabel de Segura Teruel.  
As an admirer of all things tile, and as one who is accustomed to looking down at floors, this visit to Teruel had my attention happily transfixed upon this city's well-preserved walls and massive towers.

Ceramic’s Role in Mudejar Art

As a center for Mudejar art, a style influenced by Islamic tradition and more contemporary European architectural styles, the fortress-like city is characterized by its extensive use of brick and ceramic tile not only within the centuries-old structures, but also on their façades.

The brick and ceramic tile staircase leading up to Teruel.
This brick and ceramic tile staircase leads to the city of Teruel.

According to UNESCO, the Mudejar art in the Aragon region developed as a result of the Christian Reconquest in the early 12th century. Following a series of campaigns to recapture territory from the Moors, such as in Spain and Portugal, Christians of the region allowed the Moors to remain on the reconquered territories, going so far as to allowing the Moors to keep their own culture and religion, most importantly, their expression of art. 

Because of the symbiotic relationship between Gothic style and Muslim influences, Mudejar art and architecture flourished in the Teruel region, as can be seen in this picturesque city’s churches and cathedrals, most notably the cathedral tower (1257), the tower of the church of La Merced (late 16th century), the tower of San Martin (1315), the tower of the church of San Pedro (14th century), and the tower of the church of El Salvador (12th-13th centuries). Further examples of the importance of glazed ceramic tile products as a building material are not only evident on these graceful towers, but also throughout this enchanting historical city.

The tower of El Salvador features multiple levels of white and green ceramic tiles.
The tower of El Salvador features multiple levels of white and green ceramic tiles.
The breath-taking view from the top of El Salvador’s tower.
The breath-taking view from the top of El Salvador’s tower.
The twin tower of San Martin, El Salvador, dates from the beginning of the 14th century, although it was rebuilt in 1677 after it collapsed. The tower has several levels bordered with tiling in rhomboid patterns, borders and semi-circular arches, decorated with white and green tiles.

The white and green ceramics used throughout the city feature rhomboid patterns, borders and semi-circular arches.

The white and green ceramics used throughout the city feature rhomboid patterns, borders and semi-circular arches.
Here's an up-close look at the various shapes and sizes of the white and green ceramic tiles used throughout the city of Teruel. 
In my next post, I’ll take you on a journey to Valencia, where Cevisama, (the International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishings Show) is held annually. In the meantime, you can check out the beautiful hand-painted ceramic Spanish tiles offered by Avente Tile

Many thanks to Tile of Spain, the umbrella brand managed jointly by the Trade Commission of Spain in Miami, FL, and the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) in Valencia, Spain, for the opportunity in participating in their “Reign in Spain A&D Tour.”





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