Tuesday 8th February 2011
Drive to Cordoba of about 100 miles - eventually finding the municipal campsite having driven past and not noticed it ! Once established we walked a short distance down to Old Mcdo's for lunch as onboard supplies low. Did some shopping and back to site for schoolwork.
Wednesday 9th February 2011
A cool misty start this morning and a bus into Cordoba the centre of which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
In ancient times Cordoba was a Roman city and capital of Hispania. In the middle ages, under muslim rule, it became the capital of the Caliphate of Qurtuba governing almost all of the Iberian peninsular. In the 10th century Cordoba was the most populous city in the world and became the intellectual centre pf Europe. Today it is a moderately sized city of about 350,000.
As a result of its history the old town contains impressive architectural reminders of these times including a substantial roman bridge and the famous mosque.
We wandered through the old town stopping to peek into open doorways which often reveal beautiful patios or courtyards - havens of cool when the temperatures soar up to
40 degrees in summer. The Alcazar was closed for a conference but the gardens, which are undergoing major renovations, were open to visit.
Crossing the roman bridge we got a good view back at the Mosque which was later converted to a Christian cathedral.
The Great Mosque of Cordoba held a place of importance amongst the Islamic community of al-Andalus for three centuries. The building is most notable for its giant arches, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple which had occupied the site previously, as well as other destroyed Roman buildings.
Lunch was taken in a small courtyard square restaurant in warm sunshine not bad for early February. After lunch a stroll through the old jewish quarter of the city where one of the three surviving synagogues in Spain is located. On to the newly opened archaeological museum where finds from both the Roman and Middle ages are on show along with the remains of the Roman theatre which previously occupied the site now accessible in the basement. Close by are also the columns a Roman Temple still standing to their original height. Last but not least
was a look at the Plaza de la Corredera where bullfights were held in the 17th century.
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