Day 4 – Friday, 23/6/23

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?

Columns from a Roman temple on this site

Thought so…..

Mosque-Cathedral tower in the distance
Closer view
Jewish Quarter. Apparently there are no Jews living in Cordoba now, but they were a substantial presence in the 9th and 10th century
Cordoba is full of squares like this
Now the School of Arts
Can’t remember the name of this bloke, but he was a skilled doctor. Apparently he could cure cataracts. Me neither.
Jewish symbol on the path
One of many courtyards called “patios” here. They are a real Cordoban feature and this is in the School of Arts. Very peaceful
A council cattery. Seriously.
25 metre tall palm tree
Bullring museum – bullfighting used to be big here. This is a memorial to one of the greatest bullfighters, Manolete, who was killed by a bull in 1947.
This guy was a true philosopher and philanthropist before his time, combining the best bits of Judaism, Islam and Christianity
Inside a synagogue. Very small, but there were many of them back in the day
The square outside the Mosque-Cathedral
Bell tower

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.

You may not be able to read this, but this was the first Christian extension of the building
Christian chapels all around
Family crypt
Moslem arch with Roman mosaic detail
Incredible. This was all mosaic. Tiny tiles.

And then we come across this huge cathedral. A truly fabulous sight.

17th century organ
18th century organ. Apparently this is WiFi enabled, so you can use a tablet to ‘play” it!
Solid mahogany
The choir. Solid mahogany again, depicting Christian martyrs and their sticky end, at times very explicitly
Mahogany pulpit
Tombstone of the man who designed and hand carved this mahogany. Apparently he died two weeks before the grand opening at the age of 80.
Original pine roof panelling, replaced by replicas these days

Absolutely sensational. Beats even the Alhambra Palace.

Top of the bell tower with Rafael, patron saint of Cordoba, flying the flag. 192 steps to the top. No lifts. We declined.
Preparations for a concert

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.

River Guadalquivir
Reconstructed Roman bridge over the river with a Moslem gate at the far end

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:

Colin with the paella pan

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.

5 responses to “Day 4 – Friday, 23/6/23”

  1. “And names like Dominguin and Manolete / If I live to a hundred and eightay / I shall never forget what they mean…” 😉

    That Cathedral, eh? Wow!

    1. Yep. It wasn’t just the Cathedral bit – the whole presentation of Moslem and Christian cultures was breathtaking. It will take a lot to top that.

    2. Yep. It wasn’t just the Cathedral bit – the whole presentation of Moslem and Christian cultures was breathtaking. It will take a lot to top that.Have you been to Cordoba?

  2. Belmonte, Dominguin and Manolete. Sorry 😉

  3. wow what amazing pictures i loved the pretty patios

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: