La Mezquita, the Great Mosque of Cordoba and a few of its 856 columns, Andalusia. By Timor Espallargas.
Cordoba is a charming little old city in southern Spain that has seen a remarkable number of religious changes over the last 2,000 years, from Roman to Visigoth to Islamic and finally Christian, with remnants of these cultures still to be found around the town. The main attraction is this spectacular structure, La Mezquita.
The mosque's domed ceiling of Byzantine mosaics in the mihrab. By Jebulon.
The site of La Mezquita was originally a Roman temple, replaced by a Christian Visigoth church, bought by Moorish rulers and built over as a mosque from 784 - 987. Many of the column pieces used were recovered from the Roman temple.
When King Ferdinand recaptured Cordoba in 1236 he began converting the mosque into a church. It is now officially the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, though few tourists will recognise the name.
The east wall of the Mosque of Cordoba. By Hameryko.
The entire centre of Cordoba, Andalucia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Puente Romano over the Guadalquivir River. The Great Mosque is distant right.
The first evidence of settled, developed life in Cordoba is of the empire of Carthage, a short reign around 220 BC (they called the place Kartuba) only to be rudely interrupted by the Romans in 206 BC when they conquered the town, occupying it for hundreds of years before the the Visigoths wandered in, followed shortly after by Muslim Berbers in 711. Today the town layout is basically Roman even if the biggest sight is Islamic.
Cordoba's Roman theatre.
La Puerta de Almodovar
The medieval Almodovar Gate gives access to Cordoba's Jewish quarter and also to a pleasant walk beside the city wall. More remnants of the medieval city are the Sevilla gate, Bridge Gate and Malmuerta Tower. Other bits of wall or gates have disappeared into the foundations of the new city.
Plaza Nueva, by G.Pazios.
The gardens of the medieval Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, a fine medieval palace/fortress built mainly by Christian rulers and not far from the Mezquita.
The church of Santa Marina de Aguas Santas. Photo by Lancastermerrin.
After capturing the city from the Muslims in 1236 King Ferdinand of Spain ordered a church building program, mostly on top of mosques.
The stunningly ornate interior of the Iglesia de San José. Photo by Zarateman. Next, Granada Pictures.
Other Cordoba attractions are: elaborate Triumphal Statues beside the Roman Bridge; a stylish 14th century Jewish Synagogue at the centre of the Jewish quarter; three large water mills along the banks of the Guadalquivir River that propelled streams to the palace or ground grain; Medinat al Zahara, the ruins of a magnificent palace complex; Banos Califales, stone walls and pillars of 10th century Arabic-style hammam, bathhouses.
Malaga to Cordoba: 169 kms. By train or car/bus about 2 hours.
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