Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Friday, we visited Cordoba, one of the most historically rich sites in the world. It's history dates back to the Neanderthals in 32000 BC. The city was inhabited by the Carthaginians until conquered by the Romans in 206 BC. In 711 AD, it was conquered by the Moors from northern Africa and became a provincial capital and a major civilization center. It was one of the largest cities in the world with a population estimated as high as 500,000. In 1236, it was captured by King Ferdinand III of Castile, during the Spanish Reconquista.

The highlight of our visit to Cordoba was a tour of the Mezquita which was first a Christian church, then a Muslim mosque, and now a Catholic cathedral. The Romans started construction on the building in 600 AD. After the Islamic conquest in 711, work was begun on converting the building into a mosque in 784 and continued until 987.

The interior of the Mezquita is amazing with row after row of giant double arches supported on marble and granite columns salvaged from the earlier Roman buildings.

In 1236, Cordoba was recaptured from the Muslims during the Spanish Reconquista. The Spanish converted the building into a church with an elaborate Gothic cathedral inserted into the center of what is still, architecturally, a very Moorish building.

Sometimes, in the Spanish heat, you just have to find a shady spot and "chill."

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