Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In Cordoba with Aileen

Earlier this week we took a day trip to Córdoba. To enter the city, we walked over a first-century bridge built by the Romans that had been in use by cars until only ten years ago and past the towering tax-collecting gate.

1st-century Roman bridge

Our main destination was La Mezquita, a mosque built in the 8th-10th centuries. As was the custom, the patio outside the mosque had several fountains, for cleaning oneself before prayer, and irrigation tracts leading from the fountains to numerous orange trees. Upon entering the mosque, we walked through a 'forest' of columns, past alcove after alcove housing saints, crosses, and other Christian figures, and examined the signatures of just a few members of the ancient construction crew.

There are over 1000 columns in the mosque

Workers leaving their mark on history

Tucked away in a corner was a still-active chapel that put any other I had ever seen to shame. Had we spent all day in the mosque, I'm still not sure we would have discovered all the delightful intricacies that made the building so awe-inspiring. Though it might have been an 'eyesore' in terms of the mosque's sanctity, my favorite part of the tour was the cathedral that is situated right in the middle of the mosque, interrupting the neat spread of columns. From the brilliant ceiling to the elaborate woodwork, not to mention the ornate organ pipes in between, everything was beautiful.

After leaving the mosque, we explored the nearby shops and browsed through the abundant silver filigree offerings. We spent the rest of our time in Córdoba navigating the narrow streets and enjoying the nice weather.

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