Cordoba

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Cordoba straddles the Quadalqivir River. On both banks are the reminders of  the range of  cultures in the area. The 14th Century Calahorra tower at the end of the Roman bridge now serves as a museum with information about the overlapping influences of Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures. Cordoba was historically a progressive and tolerant city promoting art, science and philosophy. (Wolfgang Manousek, Wikimedia Commons)
 

Founded more than two millenia ago, the buildings, streets and land around the city's historic centre are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Cordoba was an imperial Roman city, the capital of Roman Baetica until the end of the empire. Roman remains include a temple, a mausoleum, an amphitheatre, and the 1st Century bridge.
 

The Plaza de las Tendillas is the heart of Cordoban life. It marks the intersection between the historic city centre and the modern financial and business district.

A walking tour on any of the streets radiating from Plaza Nueva takes you past dozens of shrines, monuments, monasteries, churches,   palaces and office buildings spanning centuries of Cordoban life.
 

Several Avenidas and Paseos are modern pedestrian walkways lined with theatres, hotels and cafes, popular especially during the evening promenade. 

The Convento de la Merced mirrors the complex history of the city as it has been the site of a medieval baptistry, a royal chapel, a convent, a hospital and now the seat of the Provincial Deputy.

Neglected and depressed for years during the Renaissance, and later sacked by Napoleon's troops, the population and economy of Cordoba only increased in the early 20th Century, and now bustles with manufacturing and tourism industries.

The Jewish quarter (Juderia) has evocative narrow streets and quaint small squares embellished with wrought-iron grills, shrines and flower pots. Calleja de las Flores provides an enticing view of the Mezquita's tower.

 

The most remarkable structure in Cordoba is the Mezquita-Catedral, a cathedral within a mosque on top of a temple, incorporating religious and architectural features of Muslim and Christian faiths.
 

The mosque, constructed between 780 and 1100  on original Roman and Visgothic buildings, contained 1250 columns (870 remain). Innovations included the addition of rows of double-tiered ablaq arches to gain height and space.

The sky-lit domes, lavish arches and gold mosaics within and around the mosque's maksura used advanced construction techniques for 10th Century Europe.

The mihrab (prayer niche) is the symbolic doorway to heaven. A single block of marble is carved into a scallop shell, the symbol of the Koran, which also served to amplify the voice of the imam. 

For 3 centuries after the reconquest the mosque was unaltered, until King Carlos gave permission to rip out the center to erect an altar. Side chapels and other structures were added to the cathedral over the next 250 years.
 

During festivals and fairs, private establishments and homes open their doors to allow views of the magnificent facades and patios for which Cordoba is famous. 

We enjoyed watching the elegant guests gather for a wedding at San Nicolas de la Villa Cathedral, one of the 13 churches built in every neighbourhood in the 14th Century after Cordoba fell to the reconquista.

 

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This site was last updated 03/15/15