Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba
Cordoba, Spain is a city rich in culture and history. The Mezquita-Catedral (Mosque-Cahtedral) has been a place I have wanted to visit for years. Thanks to blessing from above, I was able to visit the city of Cordoba this past weekend. I departed Granada early Friday morning and arrived three hours later in Cordoba. I’m sure my fellow travelers can relate to the feeling of arriving to a city that you have never been before. Your senses are heightened and you’re ready for anything. That is how I felt when I arrived in Cordoba on Friday. I knew Cordoba, at one time, rivaled Damascus and that it was not only the capital of Al-Andalus (Andalusia) but also the Mezquita in Cordoba was considered the most important place of worship in Western Islam.
According to my guide book, the Mezquita went through four phases of construction. Each phase added to the Mezquita’s beauty and prestige. My entire post could discuss only the four phases so I will let you do your own independent research to see what was added during each phase of construction.
Walking through the courtyard was inspiring. I could tell that a lot of thought and passion went into the design. Orange trees decorate the courtyard and they have irrigation channels that are still in use. Hearing the water run through the courtyard was very calming and relaxing.
Once I walked in, I felt like I was in another world.
I was lucky that there were not too many tourists (like me) when I visited. By the way, when you are visiting a place you have never been before, you’re a tourist. I don’t care how much of the world you have seen. Lo siento, pero I had to get that out of my system. Moving on…
Moving through the pillars you soon come across what my guide book called the Christian Transformation. The Christian additions added during the time of King Ferdinand III are clearly evident. King Ferdinand was also called El Santo (the Saint) for reconquering Cordoba in 1296.
The Christian additions are very impressive. I don’t want to compare them to the Mosque because it’s a total different style inspired by a total different period of time. I took my time walking through the Christian areas. The attention to detail was astonishing. I was very impressed and ensured I read what I could and focused my eyes on what seemed important (which was everything).
The cathedral is beautiful. My neck hurt after I left because I kept looking at the ceiling. Once I left the inner salutary I pulled my mini flashlight out and starting looking for graffiti. I do this at all cathedrals or historical sites. I found some very interesting christian crosses that matched the ones I found at Roslyn Chapel. In addition, my light gained the interest of several men who began walking my way. I was approached by one of the staff members and he asked me what I was looking for. This man did not have a name tag so let’s just call him Jose. I told Jose that I was looking for graffiti. Jose asked me a few more personal questions, sized me up, waved off his colleagues (to my relief), and then said “come with me.” I followed him to a nearby pillar and he used my light to focus on the image below.
Jose explained that most of the pillars have an inscription of the creator. They would sign it once it was completed. I never would have seen this signature if he had now shown me. Jose showed me a few more inscriptions and we chatted about the history and the design of the Mezquita. He shook my hand and walked off. Thanks Jose!
After a good two hours of walking through the Mezquita-Catedral I headed outside to see the outer walls. The walls are decorated with elaborate doors that are jaw dropping.
I had a wonderful time in Cordoba, especially visiting what the locals call La Mezquita. This is definitely a site I would revisit. I have some friends visiting me next month and I am sure they would love to see this place in person.
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