Córdoba / La Mezquita

Yesterday saw the first day trip of my year abroad. My work colleagues (Guy, Liva and Katherine) decided to spend our Saturday going to Córdoba, about 1 hour 45 away north-west of Sevilla. With return tickets only £23.50, we decided to give it a visit. It was the 3rd day since I’ve been in Spain that it’s actually rained. But being a true Brit, I didn’t let a bit of rain deter me from seeing this beautiful city.

When I was searching of WordPress before hand, it was obvious that the Mezquita the most visited attraction over everything else. I am so glad we went. One of the central attractions in Córdoba, its complex structure with impressive architecture won’t let you down. Normally I look at buildings, think “Oh, that’s cool”, snap a picture, and move on. With the Mezquita, I just had to stand there for a second and just take a moment to appreciate the interiors. The Mosque is otherwise known the Great Mosque of Córdoba or, more simply, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. Its title as one of the most accomplished examples of Moorish architecture is far from falsified, this place is seriously awesome. And when I say awesome, I mean ‘awesome’ in the traditional sense, something which inspires awe.

This place of worship has a deep history which I am still finding puzzling. Admittedly, I was stood in the middle of this building when I was there on Google trying to work it out. Originally a Catholic Basilica, it was divided into Muslim and Christian halves when Muslims conquered Spain in 711 AD. However, all Christian elements were destroyed and demolished along with the original structure in 784 and a grand mosque was built on its grounds. It stood as a mosque until about 1236 when Christian rule returned to Spain during the Reconquista when they converted the centre of the structure into a Catholic church. The surrounding parts still have extremely Moorish influences.

Looking at present day, the Muslim communities are still campaigning and lobbying to be allowed to pray in the cathedral. However, all campaigns have been rejected by church authorities and also the Vatican.

It is unfortunately one of those things that you have see to really understand. It’s such a complex maze of pillars, shadows and arches. If you’re extremely interested in religious artefacts, it would be very easy to spend an entire afternoon there. Tickets were £8 to enter (no student discount weirdly?) and you can normally go up the bell tower for £2, but the weather was so poor when we went that we were unable to go up.

I’m doing another blog post on the Palacio de Viana so keep an eye out for that coming out in a day or so!

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