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[文化博览] 【整理】2012-11-23 风情南西班牙 The Moorish South —15

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But the Christians were getting hungry for power and territory, and provoked by the rise of Islamic militancy. They decided to crusade against the infidel.

And so the
re-conquest
began a crusade that was to last more than 400 years, a monumentally long and bloody campaign. This conflict would establish a peculiarly fervent form of Catholicism as the Spanish national religion. It's also the conflict from which modern Spain would emerge.


During the 12th century, the Christians painfully edged into Al Andalus, and, one by one, the Islamic cities fell. Then Seville itself was captured in 1248, after two years' siege.


The Christians conquerors of medieval Seville proclaimed: let us create such a building that future generations will take us for lunatics
, some statement of intent. So they demolished the Great Mosque, and they put up in its place what Guinness Book of Records tells me is still the single largest Christian cathedral in the world, a
great, crushing symbol of the triumph for militant Christianity.


The cathedral was built in the north European style, Gothic in design, complete
/ with high vaulting ceiling, flying buttresses
and Christian symbols everywhere. This might be the last place you'd expect to find traces of Islamic design, but, if you look closely enough, it becomes clear that old habits die hard.


What's extraordinary about the Gothic style as done by the Spanish, especially the Spanish in the south, is this incredible sense of over-decoration. I mean, look at this altarpiece.
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