Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Córdoba's Amazing La Mezquita

The train ride Tuesday from Granada to Córdoba was smooth as all of our train rides in Spain have been to date.

The people in front of us, a group of about eight traveling together from Florida was a mixed group of Cuban Americans and normal Americans. I can say that because I am of Cuban American heritage and just know these things.

Since one of their troop was reading and discussing aloud the John Grisham book "Playing for Pizza," I just had to join their round table.

I think I broke the book reader's heart when he talked about Grisham's character who tries to get the team, the Parma Panthers, to give up smoking the week of the IFL Super Bowl. I had to break it to him that no self-respecting Italian would ever make such a sacrifice under any circumstances.

Maybe no smoking at half-time would be possible.

Our Córdoba Hotel

Since it was both our 41st Wedding Anniversary and our last real night in Spain before flying home to California early on Thursday morning, I decided to splurge on Córdoba's finest hotel.

Free wine while registering

Behind the registration desk, there was a picture of current Spanish King Juan Carlos I in this very spot.

Not only does King Juan Carlos I stay in this hotel when visiting Córdoba, he always stays in . . .

This room which is

This is the off-season for tourism in scorching Andalucia, so we caught a HUGE break!


This fan is proudly hung in our, literally, Royal Room.

It was now time to venture just a few blocks down from the hotel to Córdoba's main tourist attraction, the Mezquita.

So True

Present day Córdoba strongly
embraces its Moorish roots

The Bell Tower of Córdoba's

There was a Visigoth Christian church on this spot as early as the sixth century. The Moors built a fabulous mosque over it dating back to 786 A.D.

During the Reconquista, Saint-King Ferdinand III conquered Córdoba and had the mosque known as La Mezquita turned into a Catholic Cathedral.

The Bell Tower replaced a Muslim minaret. Fortunately for all of us, Ferdinand's architects respected most of the work of their Moorish counterparts and built the new Catholic Cathedral in the middle of La Mezquita while preserving much of the Moorish splendor.

It makes for an interesting clash of styles to say the least.

Bell Tower Murals

Bell Tower View from the
Patio de los Naranjos

Entry to La Mezquita

A definite Moorish flavor outside but nothing too different from yesterday's trip to Granada's Alhambra.

Oh . . .

There 850 of these columns topped with double arches in La Mezquita. They are awe inspiring.

A Moorish window covering


Moorish Geometric Designs 

So pleasing to the eye!

Christian Visigoth Ruins
under La Mezquita

These ruins that pre-date La Mezquita are the main Catholic Church claim against Muslims who would like LaMezquita back as a place of worship.

The old "We Were Here First" argument at its finest.

As I said, we were in awe

Lots . . .

and lots . . .

and lots . . .

of AWE!

Moors meet the Catholics,
Catholics meet the Moors

This is where the old mosque and the new cathedral meet or clash, depending on your point of view.

Cathedral Dome

Cathedral's Main Altar

Catholics and Moors
Living Together

The BVM surveying La Mezquita

The Mihrab

This is La Mezquita's equivalent of the Cathedral's High Altar.

More than 20,000 Muslims could throw down their prayer rugs at the same time and worship with this area as their focal point.

Spectacular Mihrab Dome

Next to the Mihrab

The Moorish art is such a delightful change from all of the Christian based art that we have seen in our four years living in Europe.

Holy Ghost Sighting?


Beautiful Archway

Crucifix surrounded
by Moorish art

And another crucifix

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

Saint-King Ferdinand
accepting the keys to the city
of Córdoba as the Moors surrender

We were now in the Cathedral's Treasury.

I think that both Greece and Spain should be asking the Vatican for some bailout money.

The HUGE Corpus Christi Day
Parade Monstrance 

A Delicate Cathedral Dome

Note the "In-Your-Face"
Clam Shell

Yep, lots of Roman Catholic
Wealth in the Treasury

Samples of Moorish Stonemason's
autographs from La Mezquita


There he is himself,
San Santiago Matmoros

Goofy guy in the Choir

Laurie dwarfed

O.K., that does happen a lot to her.


Tapas, tapas, tapas and jaras of Tinto de Verano!

The Cathedral Bell Tower

Keeping Córdoba Cool

Really cool in the Jewish Quarter

Siesta Time Princessa!

After a break from the heat, it was 9:30 p.m., time to eat!

Interesting Window Applications 

Cooling Shade

To get to our highly recommended Rick Steves eating spot would require about a 15 minute walk that took us past La Mezquita again.

A La Mezquita Entry Door

And another . . .

And another

Cardinals Crest

Random Córdoba Churchyard  


Good, good, good place to eat!

In-Your-Face yet again

Muslims are not supposed to drink alcohol.

La Mezquita on the walk back
to our hotel

La Mezquita Iron Door

La Mezquita's Bell Tower

To sum up our day again, La Mezquita may be the single most interesting thing we have seen in Europe.

Wednesday's plan is simple. First, eat breakfast on our balcony, beat the heat in our room until the noon check out time, as we have already seen all that Córdoba has to offer, and then take the early afternoon AVE high-speed train back to Madrid for one last night in Spain.

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