Saturday, 27 September 2014

Marvelous Mezquita

Just when you think that you have seen the biggest, best, most beautiful buildings, Spain offers up something that is even more wondrous. Cordoba is a short hour and a half drive from Sevilla, that is if you can figure out how to escape the maze of narrow, one way, blocked off streets to get out of Sevilla! After driving around in circles for a few minutes, we finally got smart and gave a taxi driver 10 euros to lead us to the highway! Why didn't we figure that out when we came into the city?

Once we were on the freeway, it was a nice relaxing drive, and our GPS led us straight to our hotel, which had a nice safe parking lot at the back. Better yet, it was free! We were checked in by 11:00 am and set off on a mile and a half walk to see the Mezquita.

I love it when you can see the castle or cathedral from afar and it looks like something out of a storybook! The Mezquita is set high on the banks of the Guadalquiver River, with a Roman bridge approaching it. At the other end of the bridge is a tower that has been turned into a museum, and in the river are ruins that have been left in their natural state.

We had to walk through this arch in order to entire the medieval city, which is now lined with souvenir shops and restaurants.

They sure liked to build those walls high!

Entering hrough the gates we came into a beautiful courtyard with fountains and pools. When still under the control of the Moors, this huge courtyard was used for people to do their ablutions before praying.

As you have probably gathered, there is a theme to these palaces....the site was originally a Catholic chapel, then the Moors moved in around 750, and brought a period of prosperity to the city, making it the most powerful in Spain. By 1236, the Moors were driven out of the area, and the Christian rulers decided to turn the mosque into a church.

Entering into the chapel, we were first struck by its incredible size. Although it looked like a giant hall, we could not see to the end. But, most awe inspiring were the rows of painted arches going in every direction.

I am grateful to those who took this mosque over for preserving the original design with the exception of the Catholic chapel which sits in the middle of this gigantic structure,

while the integrity of the original building has largely been respected.


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