So, if you’re currently planning out a trip to Andalucia and thinking about visiting Cordoba… This piece might be super helpful for you to see how far you could get in Cordoba for $10 USD!
Stroll Around and Learn the History Behind Muslim and Christian in Cordoba
Córdoba is the most breathtaking, but often overlooked, city in the southern Andalucía region of Spain. Full of narrow, twisting alleys and charming cobbled squares this is the perfect city for meandering. Abundant with bars and tapas restaurants sitting alongside honeyed stone and Moorish architecture, this is a city for lovers and friends.
$10 USD could go a long way here on cerveza pequeña (small beer) and tapas! But the best $10 you can spend by far in Córdoba, is the €10 (give or take a few cents) you will need to buy a ticket to the Mezquita-Catedral or mosque-cathedral.
There are few buildings in the world as awe-inspiring and beautiful as this one; prepare yourself for a speechless moment on entering as you take in the enormity and meaning of the building.
The original mosque, built by Abd al-Rahman I and the conquering Moors in 786, has been remarkably well preserved and can be seen towards the back of the current cathedral. Seamlessly joined with the cathedral, you will recognize the typically symmetrical Moorish architecture, covered in highly decorative tiling and gold leaf.
Each ancient wooden door is surrounded by ornate stone arching, in many different designs, just begging you to enter. The mosque has been extended and renovated time and time again over the centuries, adding the stunning cream and red double arches which have become so synonymous with this building.
A Little History Behind the Mezquita-Catedral
In 1146, during the Spanish Reconquista, the Christian army entered Córdoba and the Archbishop of Toledo celebrated holy mass in the mosque, accompanied by the King of Spain. The building officially became a cathedral and many chapels, the transept, choir and bell-tower were added.
The Gothic and Rennaisance design of these additions demonstrated the power and religiosity of the Spanish monarchy. The Cathedral groans with opulence and Christian symbology; there is no doubting the intended message.
Everywhere you look there are stunning tiled and painted ceilings and never-ending polished marble floors. The richly detailed wooden carving in the choir is minutely intricate, it must have taken decades of skill and patience to complete. Visit the sanctuary of Parroquia del Sagrario and be in awe of the delicately painted walls, ceiling and arches begun in 1583.
In 1597, the courtyard which had been used for the ritual purification prior to Muslim prayer, gave way to a garden called the Patio de Los Naranjos (Orange Patio), although I much prefer the Spanish name!
Orange trees, palms and cypress trees were planted in rows to mirror the symmetry of the internal double columns. You will hear the trickle of water everywhere in this shaded and peaceful space, which is the perfect place to stop and reflect on the building and its history.
Contributor: Izzy and Phil from The Gap Decaders
Izzy and Phil sold their house and quit work to travel full-time in Europe in their motorhome. They love to share their travels through their blog on The Gap Decaders.