This house, around the corner from our apartment, is obviously old (the designs in the sidewalk are made with river rock) but its history remains a mystery.
This is representative of Córdoba's past, not everything shows up on a map.
The Roman Walls (2,650m long) were built around Córdoba after 206 BC, when the city was made a part of the Roman Empire.
You could wander around in Córdoba for days seeing different pretty sights (Erics included).
We were on our to la Mezquita (the mosque) at 8:00. La Mezquita is one of a list of touristy sights that are free from 8:30-9:30. Not only was the temperature actually pleasant, but there were few people to be seen. It's doesn't get better than this.
We were one of the first three people to arrive at the gates, ready to enter, but as soon as the officers opened the gates we were one of many.
Be sure to hold off on wearing provocative attire, the officers will not permit you to enter. There were people wearing shorts and tank tops (including spaghetti straps). But they draw the line at short shorts, midriffs and/or strapless tops.
I cannot believe that we are here.
I learned about la Mezquita in my masters program. I have taken two classes on Spain, one on Andalucía (which is why we are here) and the other on Spanish culture (as a result, when I eavesdrop on conversations, it feels like I am listening to a character in a Spanish film).
Back to the mosque...
I cannot believe that we are here!
La Mezquita is nothing less than incredible. It was built in the 10th century; all of the columns are reused Roman and Visigoth ruins. Reduce, reuse, recycle (I don't think reduce was the message that the Muslims were going for).
In 1236, King Ferdinand III conquered Córdoba's mosque and turned it into a church (as it remains to date). The openings to the street were closed (making it darker than it used to be) and a chapel was constructed in the middle, but so much of the mosque was preserved that it is still called la Mezquita.
Thank goodness for commonsense and reasoning, how unhistorical.
The mihrab (surrounded by quotes from the Quran) points in the direction of Mecca, the direction that Muslims pray towards five times a day. La Mezquita could hold more than 20,000 people at one time.
At exactly 9:20 the officers started kicking everyone out. They hold mass at 9:30 (no tourists allowed).
The bell tower (which you can wait in line to go up, although we didn't) was built in 1600, over the remains of the Muslim minaret.
That is more like it- destroy evidence of the past.
Coffee (which are really Americanos, the closest thing you can get to coffee) was drank in a patio. It isn't "coffee" but it comes with delicious little galletas. We will take it!
A spot for everything and everything in its place.
We explored some patios in San Basilio. In 2004, this patio won the famous patio contest (Concurso popular de patios Cordobeses, which takes place in May every year). Romans started the concept, Muslims continued, followed by modern Cordobans. It offers a peaceful oasis from the heat.
Eric is such a do-gooder.
This is a multi-year winner...
As is this.
Next on the list- the Baths of the Caliphate Alcázar.
The 10th century royal baths have little remaining, but are still worthwhile. Muslims used a series of rooms increasing in heat (made from fire in a bronze boiler and pumped in pipes to the various rooms) to cleanse themselves, socialize, and relax.
Public baths (along with libraries) told a story of the importance of a city, and there were 900 in Córdoba.
More historic river rock sidewalk mosaics.
Lunch was had at Bar Santos- tortilla de patatas (2.50€).
The famous Spanish potato omelette was absolutely amazing, and rather unexpected. I was thinking it was flat, not a slice of pre-baked potato egg goodness.
We headed across the Roman Bridge to the Museum of Al-Andalus Life, to gain more of an appreciation for Muslims in Spain.
The museum (which includes an audio guide for 4.50€) has numerous miniatures of famous Al-Andalus architecture. This is the Alhambra in Granada, which we will visit in less than a week.
The miniature buildings were cooler than it sounds as the lighting often changed, sometimes it was nighttime, the interior lit , and other times it was daytime.
This is a miniature of la Mezquita, including how it looked when it had a dirt floor and was covered with carpets for prayer.
The view from the top of the museum.
At noon we were ready to head home. It seemed like a long day due to the heat (we even passed by two newscasters doing live broadcasts on the streets due to the crazy heat wave... a little taste of San Diego news!).