Melilla, Modernist city
Fachada de un edificio modernista de Melilla
Come to Melilla and discover its Modernist heritage. Did you know that, besides Barcelona, this is the city in Spain with most Art deco and Modernist buildings - more than 900? Its architecture is just one of the many charms of this Spanish enclave in Africa.
Multi-cultural fusion. Exoticism, contrast and diversity. This is how you could describe Melilla, a city on the shores of the Mediterranean that looks over two continents. Discover its streets, packed with Modernist façades: this architectural style revolutionised the city in the 20th century. You will see this if you take a stroll through the Ensanche district, the part of the city just outside the defensive walls of the old Citadel. This is where a host of architects gave free reign to their creativity, building an area of monuments that is fascinating for its wealth and variety.
Modernism arrived in the city in 1909, through the work of Catalonian architect Enrique Nieto, a disciple of the brilliant Antoni Gaudí. The movement took root so strongly that in just a few decades close to 900 buildings were constructed. On your visit you will see how wrought iron bars, floral decorations, curves and concave forms, women's faces and silhouettes of animals fill the façades of houses, palaces, official buildings, cinemas, shops... a real architectural museum in the open air.
Art deco, Classicism, Eclecticism… there are just so many Modernist buildings to be found in Melilla that it is impossible to list them. The best thing to do is to head for the tourist office, where they will help you plan your route. We would suggest a good place to get started: Plaza de España Square. From there you can head for the streets that make up the “Golden Triangle”, home to the best examples of Modernism in the Ensanche area. You should also make sure you see La Asamblea Palace and the "Monumental Cinema Sport", two important art-deco buildings. This architectural boom can even be seen in constructions by different religions in Melilla: the Or Zoruah Synagogue, the Central Mosque and various Catholic churches.
So, amongst elegant, stately buildings you will discover all the charm of this unique city, with its sunny blue skies almost all year round. Come and be surprised.
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