In Spain, I was mostly excited about seeing Granada & Barcelona (which I have seen before but as it was so much fun I wanted to be back to Barcelona). But when we went to Cordoba (without having any expectation) I was definitely stunned by the beauty of the city. To get to the historic side of the city you enter by passing over a bridge above a river …. And the first thing you see is the old mosque which had a cathedral built in it! The mosque itself is a very impressive structure with double red arches, but it having a cathedral in it was also quite interesting. For me they are both the house of God and I am glad they kept the old building and built around and in it![Shane – The history of the Mezquita is quite fascinating. The mosque was built on an old Visigoth basilica which was called San Vicente from the 6th century and a few of the ruins can be seen under this structure. The first part of the mosque was built between 786-788 and was about a quarter of the size it is now. It was enlarged three more times over the next 200+ years to its current size.
In 1236 Cordoba was conquered by the Christians. They were impressed with the mosque, but had it turned into a cathedral (reverse of what happened to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul). The cathedral they built in the middle of the mosque is quite big, but it is dwarfed by the mosque. The difference is the mosque is horizontally built and goes all around the cathedral, which is much more vertical in size.
My favorite parts of this World Heritage Site were:
- The bell tower, which was built around the old minaret
- The red and white striped arches of the mosque
- The cathedral itself is amazing, but coupled with the contrast to the mosque is cool
- The courtyard with the orange tree orchard is wonderful and free to visit.
One interesting thing about the mosque part is the qibla wall (where the pray leader stood from) is not pointed towards Mecca but instead faces south.
There was so much more to see in Cordoba and I will tell you all about them next time. See you then!]