Classic Córdoba

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Córdoba is a beautiful city, marked by different cultures over the years and situated on the River Guadalquivir at a point where it is no longer navigable. It has the reputation for having the highest summer temperatures in Spain and is famous for its great monuments lincluding the Mesquita/Mosque, and a lovely old Jewish centre. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city began as a small village in the Copper Age (3500-2300 BC). In 161 BC the Romans established a permanent camp on the banks of the river and two centuries later it competed in magnificence and importance with Rome itself. There was a large Forum, the usual walls and gateways, and a bridge, the Puente Romano across the river. It was during this time that the famous Córdoba Treasure was buried, and is now housed in the British Museum.

The following two pictures are from the wall in a Visitor Centre on the far side of the river. The first is a plan of the Roman town, the second shows the Forum.

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Cordoba had at least 5 squares. The oldest, the Forum, existed around the mid 2nd century.

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The Forum was the centre of administrative and civic activity.

The present main gateway – an 18th century replacement. Alongside it are remnants of the original, Roman wall:

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Here are a couple of photos of the bridge and river today:

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After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Moors arrived in Spain in 711 and Córdoba became their headquarters. By the 10th century it had become the richest and most sumptuous city in the known world, with many libraries, medical schools and universities.

The previous picture also shows the islands downstream of the Roman Bridge. Today these are inhabited only by birds, but the remnants of flour mills can be seen on some of them. One larger mill, still with its wheel, is located close the the bank and is known as the Albolafia Water Wheel.

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Built by Abd al-Rahman II ( (731–788) to pump water up to the Emir’s Alcazar/Palace, it lasted until the 15th century when it was dismantled on the orders of Queen Isabella (Isabel La Católica, wife of King Ferdinand). She claimed she didn’t like the sound of the noisy chains so close to the Palace.

One of the main, Moorish attractions in the town is the great Mezquita-Cathedral, or simply La Mesquita. This is a view of it taken from the Roman bridge.

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The site on which the Mezquita stands has long been a sacred place. First a Roman temple then a Visigoth Christian church occupied the site, and after the Moorish occupation, the building was initially used by both Muslims and Christians. This arrangement stopped when Caliph Abd al-Rahman I purchased the Christian half. He had the entire building demolished in order to build the Great Mosque. Its construction lasted for over two centuries.

These photos inside the Mezquita show the wonderful Moorish design. The first two show the hypostyle hall (hypostyle meaning filled with columns).

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022It was difficult to get close enough for a good photo at the next site, but besides the sparkling gold work are dark blues, reddish browns and yellows:

The Mihrab, the famous horseshoe-arched prayer niche. Mihrabs are used in a mosque to denote the wall that faces Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The Mihrab, the famous horseshoe-arched prayer niche. Mihrabs are used in a mosque to denote the wall that faces Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

In 1236, Cordoba was taken by the Christians and, for a while, the building again served both Christains and Muslims. In the 16th century it officially became the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption. It is right in the centre of the mosque, and it seem odd going through one to the other. However, it’s undoubtedly a magnificent and ornate affair.

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Today, Córdoba is a thriving modern city, the seat of one of the most powerful universities in Andalucía and the centre of communication between the higher and lower parts of the region. Unfortunately, this was not even an overnight stop for us, and we had only four hours here to see as much as possible and grab some lunch. We spent a while wandering around the tiny, narrow streets in the Jewish quarter, where most of the ‘eateries’ are but didn’t have time to visit the Alcazar (palace). I suppose there’s always a next time…

About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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25 Responses to Classic Córdoba

  1. You’ve had an exciting travel 🙂

  2. Bekki Hill says:

    More lovely photos. Looks like you’re having an amazing time 🙂

  3. pricelessjoy says:

    Oh my goodness such wonderful and beautiful places to visit!

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, PJ. We’ve seen some unforgettable places, and the holiday has been wonderful. The weather has been so hot, too, which makes a nice change from rain every day! 🙂

  4. Norma says:

    These are absolutely wonderful photos. I’m so happy that you are having a great time out there. Keep enjoying and posting more photos. 🙂 I’m sure there’ll be plenty of stories filled in your mind.:)

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Norma.:) Cordoba was the main place I needed to see for my third book. Funnily enough, it was the one place we only had a few hours in! Still, I managed to visit the sites I needed. Thank you again for the lovely comment. 🙂

  5. Beautiful photos, wonderful, interesting history. Seems you had a great working vacation and are rested and ready to get back to writing.

    • milliethom says:

      Hi, Jack. I’m rarin’ to get back to my book but I’ve one last post to do about Andalucia. There are a couple of others I could do as well but I think people will be well fed up with it all by then! Thank you for the lovely comment! 🙂

  6. smilecalm says:

    i feel the joy
    & insights of my first
    Spanish holiday!
    thanks milliethom 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Smilecalm. 🙂 Spain does have an allure that people find irresistible. Life is so unlike it is at home in Britain, and the glorious weather is not to be ignored. You obviously enjoyed your own visits there and have lovely memories of the place. I’m still reeling over the amazing sights I’ve seen. 🙂

  7. Hannah says:

    Amazing photos & enriching account of the places! very insightful!
    Have a great time! 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks Hannah. 🙂 We had a wonderful time and I got a lot of information for my book – which was the reason for the trip in the first place. There were some awesome sites to visit. 🙂

  8. With the detailed information you have given and your beautiful photos, I feel like I’ve there for real 😉 The more I look at your photos, the more fascinating it looks ❤ Thank you very much for sharing Millie 😉

    • milliethom says:

      Khloe, you always say the nicest things! ❤ Thank you so much. I would have liked to have spent longer in Cordoba, but when you're part of a tour you have to keep to the schedule. Still, I managed to find out what I needed to know for my book. 🙂

      • Aww you are always so sweet to me Millie ❤ You're mos welcome 🙂 I would love to spend more time there if I were you 😛 It is an amazing place to visit ❤ I'm glad you found what you needed to know for your book 😉 It is way more important than anything to you I believe 🙂

  9. I love all of the pictures, the one of the bridge in particular! Awesome! Beautiful Cathedral as well!

    • milliethom says:

      Hi, Lyn. Yes, Cordoba is another amazing city in Andalucia. I imagine you wouldn’t have got out to it if your daughter was in Granada. It was awesome to see all the Moorish architecture. The Mesquita-Mosque/Cathedral was quite overwhelming. So beautiful. We particularly wanted to visit Cordoba because a section of the book I’m writing at the moment is set there. The city certainly didn’t disappoint. Thank you for the lovely comment. 🙂

      • Wow beautiful! I think my daughter went to many of those places. I have not seen that bridge though, very amazing

      • milliethom says:

        It’s a very unusual design, isn’t it? I believe only the foundations are the original Roman ones. But they kept the rebuilds the same as the original design. Your daughter was in a wonderful area for her uni years.

      • Well she studied abroad for a short time but still great experience

      • I have never been to these places, my girls have been to France, Spain, Germany, Sweden and a few other places but I am the mom staying at home base and encouraging!

      • milliethom says:

        Most of our travelling has been since the children all left home, Lyn. We would never have been able to see the world before due to the cost, for one thing! We now have a ‘Places to See’ list (ha!) but we know we’ll never manage to see most of the. But we can dream… Being a stay at home mom and encouraging your children can never be a bad thing. Your girls are fortunate to have been to so many places.

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