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Parque Mudéjar creator passes away

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The Parque Mudéjar is now supported by the City of Olmedo, Spain, following the death of creator Félix Arranz Pinto, who died on April 2, 2020 from the Coronavirus, only three days after laying down his tools and entering the hospital. He was 86 years old.

Spain’s region of Castilla y León, the heart of the kingdom of Old Castile, retains numerous examples of Mudéjar architecture, a unique style characterized by a fusion of Romanesque and Gothic elements with Islamic designs, which flourished during the 780-year period of Arab control over the Iberian Peninsula. When Spain was “reconquered” in 1492, the victorious Christian armies preserved many of these significant Muslim palaces, religious sites, and noble homes, and repossessed them for their own uses. In recent decades, several have been honored with UNESCO World Heritage status.

In 1999, Arranz, long an admirer of this style, decided to create a park that would replicate miniature examples of Castilla y León’s Mudéjar architecture. Over the next decade, after traveling to each site and taking careful measurements, he experimented until he successfully developed ways to copy the Middle Age designs and building techniques, and he ultimately completed nineteen castles, houses, portals, and places of worship at scales of 1:6, 1:8, and 1:22. His intention was to recall the memory of a more tolerant age, when various cultures lived and worked together in relative harmony. 

Text by Jo Farb Hernandez

Photos © Jo Farb Hernández, August 15, 2018