Drivers on the A-7 Coastal highway east of Estepona will have seen the silver capped tower against the blue sky and wondered what the building was. The answer is the first ever purpose-built Russian Orthodox church on Costa del Sol's and Andalucia.
This simple model of a Mudejar church, with a single nave drawer plan, was not always so minimalistic. Built in 1530, it managed to survive the Moorish rebellion, various fires and an earthquake, until it was moved to another location. However, during this journey, it lost the back section of the sanctuary and the main chapel, and was reduced to this simple temple.
Seville's parish churches display a fascinating variety of architectural styles. Several are converted mosques with belfries built over their minarets, others range through Mudejar and Gothic (sometimes in combination), Renaissance and Baroque.
Huelva's oldest parish church, the Iglesia de San Pedro, was constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries on a hilltop site of a mosque and next to the remains of a medieval fortress. It faces a pleasant palm tree-lined square, the Plaza San Pedro.
This whitewashed 15th-century chapel is famous for its associations with Christopher Columbus. Positioned on El Conquero hill, about 3 km north of the city centre, it commands a wonderful view of the Odiel wetlands. Like most sanctuaries and hermitages, it was originally built outside the town centre and used to be surrounded by fields and open countryside
The Iglesia de la Merced used to serve as the church of the neighbouring convent, the Convento de la Merced, and was designated a cathedral in 1953. It is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Huelva province, with a striking pink exterior and a bright white marble interior. It dominates the Plaza de la Merced, an elegant square lined with tall palm trees.
La Soledad hermitage on Calle Jesús de la Pasión was first erected in the early 1500s as a church for the neighbouring Hospital de la Misericordia, which was founded in 1516. From 1854 the hermitage was used as a school and a hospital.
The church of Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios is close by in the Plaza San Francisco. It was built in the 18th Century of local sandstone, which is rich in iron ore. As you walk around the outside walls, you will see many pieces of iron ore still embedded in the stone blocks.
The hermitage building was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century, with records dating back to 1829. It is believed that this hermitage was at first constructed for lepers who were encouraged to reside out of town. Since 1875, however, the site was established as a sacred building. The original building was distroyed in the Civil War in May 1936 and the present structure rebuilt after the Civil War.