Calle de las Flores
The Mezquita, which was a mosque before it had a cathedral built in the middle, had also been an earlier church from the Visigoth origin. The Cordoba
tourist information brochure took great pain to emphasis that, and also that the Cathedral inside is a live cathedral, not just a tourist destination. Cordoba was the capital of Al-Andalus of the Islam world from about the 8th century. Inspired by the Mosque of Damascus, the mosque, they built it with recycled materials from the old Visigoth church as well as Roman ruins. The courtyard and the prayer hall had been expanded several times to its current size. See the picture of the mosque showing the expansions. The original mosque was the yellow part, as we entered the Mezquita, this is the part we saw first.
plan of the Mezquita, the green part is the outdoor Orange Tree Courtyard. The Yellow part is the original mosque, orange part the next expansion, Dark orange part about another expansion, and the red at left is the last expansion.
Because there were so many double arches, most of the interior was not visible at once. We explored the space, admired the arches, looked down in every direction into seeming infinite number of more arches and columns. Tucked away chapels, and one of the main feature of the old mosque, the mihrab. It was a small room with its own very impressive domed ceiling, because it's in such a big mosque. It is also easy to get lost and disoriented inside, there are something like 850 columns in there, and you can almost pretend it's still just a huge mosque from more than 1000 years ago. When we made our way into the cathedral in the center, it is amazing to see the transformation of the mosque into the cathedral! The Christians preserved the mosque for the most part and were still able to make a truly impressive and beautiful cathedral in the middle of the mosque! When in the cathedral part, you can easily forget that you are in the middle of a huge mosque! It is really an incredible place.
with so much history and beauty, and the integration of religions, No matter what, the Christians must be applauded for not destroying the mosque, but preserving most of it and integrating it into the current state it is now. If they allowed muslims to come pray, I wonder if they would come. In the treasury, there was the enormous silver monstrance that is still being paraded in the streets every year at Corpus Christi. A very large ivory crucifix was on display in the treasury, it has a very human and lifelike Christ. There is also a museum showing off the stonemason's signatures and markings. The columns are marked with the signatures of the stonemasons, and it's kind of fun to see if you can find the marking on some of the columns nearby. We easily spent 2 hours inside the Mezquita!
Then we went to find the Calle de las Flores again, the signature view of Cordoba with the flower pots on the wall and the bell tower of the Mezquita in the background! Still there were a lot of people there crowding the possibly most photographed spot in Cordoba!
We went back to the hotel by 7pm to rest and went back out to dinner at the restaurant El Churrasco which is just down the street from the hotel (they have the same name!) It is a very fancy restaurant, and the food is excellent! We really enjoyed the dinner, and the dessert cheesecake was out of this world!
After dinner, we walked around the Mezquita, and across the Roman Bridge to the other side for a view of the Mezquita at night.
A unique looking Madonna and baby Christ in the San Baslio area
We went back to the hotel around midnight to finish off a very nice day in Cordoba.