Cordoba was bewitching due, for the most part, to the fabulous and unique Mezquita (also called the Mosque-Cathedral of Corboba, or the Great Mosque). The drive from Seville to the Parador in Cordoba was surprisingly quick and in no time we were being shown to our spacious Junior Suite – three huge rooms with a wraparound terrace, looking out over the town.
The Paradors on this trip have met our expectations each time – all three have been in outstanding positions providing amazing views and this one was no exception. Once settled in we took a quick lunch on the expansive deck overlooking the best hotel swimming pool I have seen. We were on a mission as we had only the afternoon to see the Mezquite and get our fill of the town before we left for Toledo.
We took a taxi down to the Mezquita, had no issue buying tickets, and off we went, never expecting it to be as spectacular as it is. I have no superlatives to describe it – I could have spent hours, open-mouthed in the astonishing double-arched Prayer-Hall. The mosque was built originally in the C8th, and construction of the minaret began in the C9th. After the conquest of Cordoba in the C13th the place was consecrated as a Catholic church and the main Christian chapel was added in the C15th. The building combines Islamic and Christian architecture, including arches, columns and domes, plus of some wonderful Christian icons. Its transformation through history stands before the visitor – its architectural differences, its elegance, its beautiful filtered light, its tranquility and much more, will be indelibly etched in our memories. It is now a World Heritage site and rightfully so. All of us came away with the knowledge we had seen a unique and living treasure.
The Great Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba also boasts a wonderful bell-tower, previously a minaret, the remains of which are incorporated in the tower. We contemplated climbing it but we were short on time, and felt satisfied we had the climbed the one in Seville.
We couldn’t be in Cordoba and not wander through the Jewish Quarter. They have been fascinating wherever we have found them in Spain. I love strolling through the tiny shaded alleys in these beautiful places – it is often more real than what you see in the crowded tourist areas. In particular I wanted to find the little street famous for its beautiful blooms in summer – Calleja de las Flores and I found it, but the flowers sadly were not in bloom since it is really autumn. Nevertheless the street still presented a pretty picture.
The Jewish Quarter provided some other lovely photo opportunities, and despite getting a bit lost when we were trying to find it, we were rewarded when we stumbled upon it.
Our time in Cordoba was short, but it will remain a top highlight – the Mezquita is something that stands alone in its magnificence.
Our only evening in Cordoba was spent on the balmy terrace at the Parador before we left again for a longer trip to Toledo…