Got our timing wrong this morning and, as a result, had to rush breakfast. Too much time in bed drinking lemon and ginger tea….🙄
Still, we managed to make it to the start of the walk round Cordoba without too much loss of dignity.
Our guide was a youngish lady named Saray, and after a rather diffident start, really got into her stride as the morning wore on. I should point out that the temperature hit 40⁰ C later on, so it was a very warm day.
There has been a settlement here since Roman times – the first century B.C. The Visigoths were next until overthrown by the Moors in the early eighth century. It was at this point that Cordoba began to assume ever increasing importance in the Moslem world. At one stage in the 10th century it was estimated to have an almost unimaginable population of around 750,000 people. Absolutely massive for those times. Compare that with today’s population of around 320,000.
My initial introduction to Cordoba yesterday didn’t make much of an impression, but as Saray guided us (very slowly) through some very narrow streets, I began to get a sense of how truly old this city is.
Those columns I referred to in yesterday’s post?
It was at this point we entered the Mosque-Cathedral (Mezquite-Catedral), the centrepiece of this amazing old city.
I really was not prepared for this.
What followed was, almost literally, indescribable. The sheer scale of it, for one thing. The absolutely extraordinary fusion of Roman, Jewish, Moslem and Christian cultures was another. The effect (on me anyway) was visceral. Not because of any religious connotations, but the impact on the senses of these mighty creeds, always thought of, understandably, as intolerant of each other, contributing to and actually enhancing each other’s work over many centuries, was truly magical.
Saray was on top form in here. Apparently she does this tour three times a day, five days a week! An absolute welter of incredibly detailed information, delivered with confidence, aplomb and a strong Spanish accent.
The whole thing started in the early 8th century and can be considered to have been built in four stages, right up to the Renaissance period of the 17th century. Restoration, of course, is a Forth Bridge job.
And then we come across this huge cathedral. A truly fabulous sight.
Absolutely sensational. Beats even the Alhambra Palace.
We walked on past the episcopal palace, within which was an archaeological exhibit thought to be the Caliph’s toilet!
And that was pretty much the end of the tour. Absolutely fascinating.
I’ve already mentioned the “patios” featured in Cordoba. Jean was keen to see some examples, so we headed off to the San Basilio area.
Not without difficulty, we found probably the most famous one, which at least was free. It was certainly pretty.
It was around 40⁰ now, so we decided to walk back towards the hotel in the hope of finding a decent café that was actually open. We succeeded, but more patios on the way.
Stopped for some food and drink in a very nice shady spot, whiling away a very pleasant hour or so.
Then back to the hotel for a break from the heat, then showered and changed for dinner.
Three courses again, the first of which was an acceptable gazpacho. The second was a paella:
I’m really not keen on this, so left most of it.
The dessert was a cold custard. Too sweet for me, so not a great success overall.
We travel to Seville tomorrow, so packing was necessary. Back to the room, then, to finish all this off.
Pretty full-on afternoon beckons tomorrow, so I hope to keep you posted on how that goes.