February 2, 2008

A Picturesque Day in Cordoba

Senor CC and I spent our final Saturday in January in Cordoba, Spain. We drove up in the morning and came back home the same day. I'd say it took us about two and a half hours to get there and park...you know, if you don't count the required first-time-we've-ever-been-there detours that always apply to our attempts to find a parking garage.

Now of course, we know exactly where to park, and oh boy is it easy-peasy. So if any of you out there reading this...if there are any of you out there reading this...would like directions, then simply email me and I can give them to you!

I should also mention that we had a slight pee-break detour thanks to hubster. It is amazing how incredibly small his bladder is. I wasn't exactly helping things as I have been gifted with the I-just-wanna-get-there-already-so-no-stopping-ness of my father. I have no idea who the small bladder came from, but it afflicts just about every road trip we take together.

People, I had to take the next exit (or else!) and pull over while still on the ramp to let him get out, wearing a bright red shirt, and become a true Spanish man by relieving himself right there for all to see.

Oh, the many joys of immersing ourselves in Spanish culture.


Anyway - this post is called A Picturesque Day in Cordoba for a reason, so let's get to it, shall we?

The parking garage we found is on a main street beside the old town, so we simply followed the moorish walls until we found a gateway we liked the looks of and ta-da - we were in the itty-bitty streets looking up at buildings like this one.

We walked aimlessly for a bit and then made our way to the synagogue. There were only three in Spain that were not destroyed during the reconquest and this is one of them.

The upstairs room is where the women would worship. As you can see from the people in the photograph, the area is tiny. The whole synagogue itself is quite small but well preserved.

One of the major tourist attractions in Cordoba occurs in April when the flowers are really blooming. The town has a number of beautifully decorated patios that owners open up once a year for viewing. This one is open all year because there are shops that surround it.

The patio walls are typically covered in pots like these. I am sure that there are many varieties of flowering plants that bloom in the spring...this time of year is good for the geraniums.

We ate lunch at El Caballo Rojo, which was right across from the entrance to the patio or orange trees that serves as the entrance to La Mezquita. The patio was beautiful and the orange trees were heavy with fruit.

In the middle of the patio is a fountain with these fabulous spouts. Water used to flow through small canal-like structures throughout the patio.

The former minaret can be seen here in its covered Christian form. It now houses giant bells to ring the hours of the day.

Finally, we are inside the mosque. This place contains over eight hundred columns above which are two sets of arches made from red and white stones. This set has recently been refurbished and look striking.

Towards the front of the mosque, where the worship leader would have stood as everyone faced him during the service, the decor becomes more intricate. This intricacy includes the ceilings.

The columns in the mosque appear to go on forever. The view would be even more impressive if a section of the place hadn't been torn down so that a cathedral could be built in the center.

Here is where the worship leader would have been during services. This area is called the mihrab and it is the most decorated sections of the mosque. Above it is a large dome that is also decorated.

The cathedral, as I mentioned, is in the center of the mosque. It is a strange juxtaposition of styles. The cathedral seems very out of place and takes away from the symmetry of the mosque.

Another photograph so that you can see the huge difference in styles between the two religions.

The outer walls of la Mezquita are also decorated with colorful tiles and stones. Unfortunately some of the doorways were blocked by the Christians and this is what makes the interior so very dark.

What tourist town in southern Spain would be complete without horses-drawn carriages? I thought these two looked lovely with the building as their background.

We spent a few more minutes wandering the old town and made our way through numerous streets such as this one.

Eventually we came upon this archway that leads from the old town through the Moorish walls. We had but a short walk from here to our car and then we were on our way home.

All in all, a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. We had a good time are are very happy that we were able to see such a building and town before we leave Spain.

Hasta Pronto,
~ CC

1 comment:

Joey said...

Don't worry. We are out there and we are reading this.