Mudéjar building style

Mudéjar a beautiful style in Spain.

After 1230, the French Gothic comes to Spain, so Spain did not have Early and High Gothic. Immediately in the Rayonnant and Flamboyant (Late Gothic 1300 to 1500) style is being built.

Flamboyant in the sense of sparkling or beautiful.

A typical form of Spanish late Gothic is the “Mudéjar style” and can be described as an art style in which Muslim and Christian art forms are interwoven.

Mudéjar is the result of the merging of the artistic traditions of Islam and Christianity.

The “Mudéjares” first combined the European Late Roman and Gothic styles and later the Renaissance and Baroque with their Islamic artistry.

Most mudéjar buildings are churches with attached or detached 8-sided cross towers (striking bell towers). These are often converted former minarets.

The Arabic minaret contains no bells and was mainly used by the muezzin to call to prayer five times a day.

The Christian tower, however, must be able to hold heavy clocks, so it must be built more heavily. Castles and synagogues are also built in mudéjar style.


Mudéjar comes from the Arabic word “mudayyan”, which means subject or taxable person.

This was used in Spain to identify those Moors who were allowed to continue to live in the areas recaptured by the Christians (Reconquista).

These Mudéjares were an important part of society from the 13th to the 15th centuries, until they were persecuted and expelled under the Catholic kings.

Spain thus lost a substantial part of its cultural legacy and productivity.

For centuries countless crafts had been carried out mainly by the Moors, such as blacksmith, pottery, woodworker, etc., while Arab scholars acquired and disseminated great technical and intellectual knowledge.

Islamic decorative forms such as an infinite amount of geometric patterns, the calligraphy and the carpet-like ornamentation of facades, slowly but surely penetrated Christian art.

Islam prohibits figurative decoration, a realistic representation of God, man and animal.

Instead, one decorates with motifs of stylized vegetation such as flowers, leaves, tendrils, with script and aforementioned geometric compositions.

Characteristics of the Mudéjar style are:

Brick: The use of brick as a basic building material

Horseshoe shaped arches: Ogive arches, blind arches and arches, arabesques and sebka; intersecting arches

Glazed ceramics (azulejos): The most used colors are white, green and pink. The figures were arrows, stars, checkersboards, half cylinders, etc.

Stucco and wooden ceilings (artisanados, carpentería, yeserías) In Arabic art, decorating interior walls with plaster has a long tradition.

Usually the plaster was subsequently painted with cream, blue, red and black.