Córdoba, Andalucía: The Jewel of the Guadalquivir Valley

Córdoba, Andalucía

Visited on June 24, 2011. Located in Andalucía.

Mihrab in the Mezquita (mosque) portion of La Catedral de Córdoba, Spain

Mihrab in the Mezquita (mosque) portion of La Catedral de Córdoba, Spain

Attraction Checklist:

  • Roman bridge across the Guadalquivir River
  • La Catedral (Mezquita) de Córdoba
  • Calleja de Las Flores
  • Jewish Quarter
  • La Sinagoga (Synagogue)

A few hours after midday we arrived in Córdoba—a city that was founded by the Romans in 169 B.C. and became the capital of Baetica or Lower Hispania in 152 B.C. Later, it would fall under the hands of the Visigoths in the 5th century A.D. and then the Moors in 711. Under Abd ar-Rahman I of the Umayyad dynasty, Córdoba was the capital during 756-1031—its most prosperous and rich period rivaling the wealth and power of Constantinople and Baghdad. Today, the old city retains many architectural wonders from the Romans, Moors, Jews, and Christians.

Roman bridge entering Córdoba, Spain

Roman bridge entering Córdoba, Spain

We crossed a Roman bridge from Emperor Augustus’ era across the Guadalquivir River to enter the old city. At the end of the bridge, there is the Bridge’s Gate (also known as the Arch of Triumph) built by King Philip II 1572.

Bridge’s Gate (also known as the Arch of Triumph) at the entrance of Córdoba

Bridge’s Gate (also known as the Arch of Triumph) at the entrance of Córdoba

Within the old city, there are winding, narrow streets filled with shops and restaurants. We had lunch in one of the restaurants before we went to the grandest sight of all—La Catedral de Córdoba.

Mezquita (mosque) portion of La Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain

Mezquita (mosque) portion of La Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain

La Catedral de Córdoba dates from the 10th centuryand has been modified and extended over a period of more than two hundred years. The structure was initially built as a mosque (Mezquita); we can still see 856 of the 1,013 red and white arched pillars, which create an illusion of space in the horizontal structure.

Floral arches of La Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain

Floral arches of La Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain

Other floral arches and ornate naves are seen deeper in the mosque. To note, there is evidence of Byzantine and Roman styles of the star-like shapes of the naves and Corinthian columns.

Path to the Altar in La Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain

Path to the Altar in La Catedral de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain

The pillars were destroyed during the Christian Reconquest in 1236 and led to the expansion to a Catedral in 1523 under orders of Bishop Alonso Manrique. The late Renaissance-style arches and Spanish Baroque ornamentation bring in more light to the place in contrast to the cool, meditative atmosphere of the mosque.

Calleja de las Flores, Córdoba, Spain

Calleja de las Flores, Córdoba, Spain

While I cannot describe everything that was seen in this magnificent work of art, I highly suggest reading In Focus: Córdoba guide to the city published by Edilux. It contains detailed explanations and photographs of details of the building and can be found in many tourist shops.

After the breathtaking tour of the Catedral, we went through the narrow streets to the Calleja de Las Flores (Street of Flowers), admiring the Moorish-style residences. Then, we headed towards the Jewish Quarter via a courtyard and to the Sinagoga (Synagogue) located on the Calle Judios.

Jewish Quarter, Córdoba, Spain

Jewish Quarter, Córdoba, Spain

The Sinagoga was built in 1315 by Alfonso XI in the Mudéjar style filled with detailed patterns.

La Sinagoga, Córdoba, Spain

La Sinagoga, Córdoba, Spain

Afterwards, we returned to the hotel to rest and had dinner.

Additional Comments

It would be nice to spend more time in the La Catedral de Córdoba because there are plenty of details to see.

Acknowledgments

Resources

Andalucia Com S.L. (2012). Córdoba Mezquita. Retrieved from http://www.andalucia.com/cities/cordoba/mosque.htm

Núñez, J. Agustín. (Unknown). In Focus: Córdoba. (J. Trout, trans.) Granada, Spain: Ediciones Edilux S.L.

Witcombe, Christopher L.C.E. (1998). Sacred Places: Mosque of Córdoba. Retrieved from http://witcombe.sbc.edu/sacredplaces/cordoba.html

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