Monday, September 21, 2015

Europe Adventure Day 18


Our hotel Eurostars is something else. Very modern. I deep bathtub and two rain showers. Since I am battling a cold (it's not bad but I don't want it to get worse) a hot bath was great and we had a good night. The reception lady had given us papers which they had compiled "Tourist Guide to Córdoba" and a page with the opening times of the places to see. Oh, no NO NO NO. Most places closed on Mondays. Luckily the Mezquita Cathedral was open.

So we had a leisurely (included) breakfast and then headed out. It definitely looks different at daytime but not less charming.








We come to the cathedral. We are in the courtyard. This is the tower. We have to buy tickets for the cathedral. Sometimes I thought "tickets for a church?" but I do understand now. Upkeep must be very expensive and a congregation certainly can't carry that with donations. James is good. Instead of standing in line he uses the ticket machine.




The Mezquita Cathedral should have been on the bucket list! It is so incredible and we spent a lot of time there until we were on sensory overload. The hotel sheet said: the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba is arguably the most significant monument in the whole of the western Moslem World and one of the most amazing buildings in the world in its own right. This site has been used for the worship of different divinities since ancient times. Under the rule of the Visigoths, the Basilica of San Vicente occupied this very site, and later, after the Moslems bought part of the plot of land, a primitive Mosque was built (started in year 785). The basilica was rectangular in shape, and for a while was shared by Christians and Moslems. As the Moslem population increased, the ruler Abderraman I acquired the whole site and demolished the basilica to make way for the first Alhama (main) Mosque in the city. Some of the original building materials from the Visigothic basilica can still be seen in the first section of the mosque built. Later over many years five extensions have been added but it is all a forest of columns with a harmonious color scheme of red and white arches.



A piece of glass floor to see some of the original basilica (6th century).



Of course now I have to explain that the mosque became a Christian place of worship again, the Cathedral of Córdoba. The entire grounds was consecrated as the mother church of this Diocese in the year 1236 and since then there was worship here every day.

As Catholic churches and especially cathedrals do there were many chapels and side altars ... in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles because they were added over many years. I could have taken 1000s of fotos.




And some of the basilica remnants had wonderful ideas of quilt patterns.






Smack in the middle was the main altar and worship area ... almost as if a cathedral without walls was put into another building. I think the construction of this began in 1523.




The choir stalls and organ were in the back.




The carved wood!



The organ with stops to pull was put up in the 1700s (of course more on the opposite side).



In one of the chapels (of course always behind wrought iron gates) 3 different jugs of holy oil?



The moorish and Christian mixture.



Angels painted on every bit of ceiling and wall in this chapel.




I am really sorry that I was not able to capture what this place was like. It was huge. I would love to know how many pillars and how many chapels and altars. I think I found a GOOD LINK here.

We are back in the courtyard which used to be the place were the Muslims would wash and get themselves ready to worship when it was a mosque. It used to have palm trees but was re-planted with orange trees.



We would have liked to go up on the bell tower but it was there were no tickets before siesta time. May be in the afternoon.



We decided to see the old roman bridge.






But we are thirsty. Very! Close by we find a cafè (beer) shop. In case you wonder, most of the time we order "sin alcohol".



After being refreshed we went to actually walk over the bridge. My wish since James walked over so many roman bridges on his first camino.



There is a museum on the other end which is closing soon for siesta but I buy a ticket anyway just to run up the tower. Just love views! I hurried 73 steps I think.





And then we walk back the narrow streets until we have to stop at a place with a cute court yard for an ensalada mixta.

I took a selfie because I didn't want to be too obvious taking a picture.



Oh yes. Forgot. I also had a gazpacho Andalusia.



Love the tiles everywhere.



Plenty of tourist shops everywhere as you can imagine. Here a flamenco dress which needed a head. James obliged.



We had gone back to the hotel for a little siesta too (since a lot of places close). Then we headed out again early enough in the hopes that we can go up the bell tower. The next tour is full (20 people every 30 minutes) but we get tickets for the very last of the day. Since we have 30 minutes we go across the street for ice cream and sit on a wall in the orange tree courtyard.




I asked ... 191 steps up ... and down again. So very worth it!

First level to step out on a little terrace.






The bell tower was built over the minaret. This must be the top of it.



The second level. You can walk all around and have a beautiful view of the city.



There was a third level after the bells but I can't remember which pictures I took on which level.

I also made a VIDEO!



When you look at the cathedral from here you can see the add-ons easily.





We thought we might see the zigzag and roundabouts of the streets but they are so narrow that they just melt together.




The main entrance "Puerta del Perdón" (Door of Forgiveness) closed now for the day. We have to go out a side door.



The dome above the door.




So, time for dinner. We stroll through the streets and stop when we like a place.






Time to go back!



We are excited again about this day. For a place were almost everything was closed we saw an awfull lot. We had no idea what to expect and were "almost blown over". Don't know how else to describe our feelings.

We now have a joke between us. When I had asked James why we were going to Córdoba he said that he thinks it's a cute town may be like Dinkelsbühl in Germany last year which had been a total surprise to us when we stopped there.

Night night.



  1. I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen the Mezquita Cathedral on Rick Steve’s TV show. It is truly spectacular! And I very much love the idea that it was once shared by Muslims and Christians.

  2. That cathedral is enthralling! I would love to spend a day or two there. What a wonderful "find"!