Spanish tiles have become a popular choice for people who opt to have their houses and buildings be made of durable, natural and convenient material. These tiles also boast of a rich history that has spanned centuries and various cultural influences.
As their name implies, Spanish ceramic tiles originated in Spain as far back as the 11th century. During this time, a boom in Spanish construction began, and a golden age of structures in the Iberian peninsula happened, spanning centuries until the 15th centuries. During this time, Arab culture also weaved a significant influence, especially in architecture. Thus, the tiles that are present in such feats like the Alhambra are very Spanish, yet undeniably heavily influenced by the Moors. But not only did the Arab invaders of the Middle Ages cast their influence in the design of these tiles, but actually, also in the production itself. They were the ones who introduced the technology making ceramics to the Spanish.
Moreover, they also introduced the inclusion of glaze to these tiles. With the glaze present in Spanish ceramic tiles, they became impermeable to moisture and dirt, and thus, more durable. Aside from that, the glaze also gave the tiles a base for colors and decoration to be put in their surfaces. This glaze was made of lead and a transparent glaze with metallic colors layering it. These tiles were first manufactured in the city of Malaga, in the current Spanish region of Andalucia. As for the design aspect, the Arab influence can still be seen today, with a lot of ceramic tiles displaying a lot of intricate designs and colors.
Aside from the Alhambra mentioned earlier, which was completed in the 14th century, other structures that contained Spanish tiles were the Great Mosque located in Seville, which was completed in the twelfth century and other grand Muslim monuments in the region followed. However, due to the rise in Catholicism in the 15th century, a lot of these Muslim structures were either destroyed or converted into Catholic structures. The Spanish tile industry was also transferred from Malaga to Manises in the region of Valencia, which only furthered the popularity of the tiles, as the center of their manufacture was moved out of Andalucia.
These days, contemporary Spanish tiles are very diverse, with some displaying very elaborate décor and colors, perfect for mosaics, while some have more contemporary textures imitating other materials like wood. One concern that most people have with these tiles is their cost, which a lot of people attribute to their exotic origin. Actually, the real reason that these tiles may be more costly than other tile kinds is their high quality and durability. These tiles are very flexible and versatile, as their different finishes allow them to be used in different settings, from the bathroom to the kitchen and patios. They are also available in different sizes, with the larger ones more suitable for kitchens and the smaller ones for bathrooms or for wall and floor mosaics in larger areas like shopping centers and other wide spaces.