Last Saturday, my friend Olivia and I went to Córdoba for the day (sorry for writing this a little after the fact) and had a wonderful time! It takes longer to get to Córdoba from Granada than I expected, on the bus it was just about three hours, but the road also doesn't go straight there. On the highway it's just over 120 miles to Córdoba, but as a crow flies it's about half of that.
The landscape there is not much different than here, obviously because it's not very far away, but I noticed that there were more palm trees than here in Granada...could just be a design feature.
We started our morning very early, 6:30am, in order to catch the 7:30am bus and when we arrived at 10:30am we were delighted to find that it was a beautiful, clear day without a cloud in sight. The only place that I knew to visit in Córdoba was the infamous Mezquita, so we headed there first. On the outside, the Mezquita doesn't apprear to be much, but once you are inside, it blows you away!
The mosque was built in the 700's and as follows with Islamic tradition, was not ornamented extravagantly, nor with pictures on the walls; the only decoration was red stripes in the archways. When you first walk in the Mezquita, it appears very much as the Muslims made it; rows upon rows of archways with dark wood ceilings and a feeling of vast, emptiness (despite the hundreds of people also touring the building).
As you walk through the temple, little things begin to change and you can start to see more and more light coming from windows in the ceiling and white ornamentation. Then all of a sudden you come upon one of the more ornate Cathedrals I have ever seen! A ceiling of white and gold with figures and faces popping out and an alter two stories high filled with images of Saints and Christ.
The Mezquita is very interesting because at times it is purely Catholic and others strictly Muslim and then there are areas where the two world mix and you realize how different their design and architecture really is.
The Muslims kept everything very simple and organized, to me it feels like there is more of an emphasis on the pilgrimage and prayer, the reason for going to the temple. While the Catholics made everything over the top and, in my opinion, too detailed because with the amount of detail present in the Cathedral, there's no way it could all be appreciated; it's completely overwhelming! But overall, the Mezquita is one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen!
The next sight we visited was the Alcazár de los Reyes Christianos (Gardens of the Christian Kings), which is the place where Christopher Columbus first petitioned for money from the Kings to discover the Americas.
The Gardens at the Alcazár were extensive and gorgeous; plenty of room for royalty to stroll around in privacy. Right now all of the ponds are in the process of being rebuilt and reconstructed to have, in the future, what appeared to be an elaborate fountain and light show.
Finally, we went to the Synagogue of Córdoba, which turned out to be just a single room, but is of significance because during the Reconquest almost all of the Jewish Synagogues and monuments were destroyed except for three; one in Córdoba and two in Toledo.
In our wandering around that day, we discovered that Córdoba is presumably going to be the European Capital of Culture in 2016, which means that in that year they will hold cultural festivals and events to support tourism and an international status.
Overall Córdoba was an enchanting city, both Olivia and I really enjoyed the day we spent there! It was s beautiful sunny day with good culture and good company! :)