Geo: 37.8864, -4.77683
We were up early today as we have a three hour drive ahead of us. We are off to Córdoba, the home of the Mezquita. Córdoba was once the capital of the Moorish Kingdom of Al-Andalus, and this was when work began on the Great Mosque "La Mezquita". After many years of additions and enlargements it became the largest in all of Islam. In 1236 Christians conquered the city and built a cathedral in the midst of the arches and columns, creating an extraordinary church-mosque.
On arrival into Córdoba we managed to find parking and headed for our morning coffee. We enjoyed our first Spanish churro with our coffee. A churro is a fried dough pastry covered with sugar. Quite yummy.
We then wandered our way through the Jewish Quarter, a labyrinth of windy, narrow streets, trying to find our way to the Mezquita. No signage anywhere! We finally stumbled upon the Patio de Los Naranjos, the courtyard of the Mezquita. We had to hunt around to find where to buy tickets to entrance into the Mezquita. Again no signage! Finally inside we loved viewing the forest of red and white coloured giant arches resting on 856 columns. The columns were
taken from the roman temple which previously occupied the site. The building is vast, and we enjoyed the nice atmosphere as we walked through the arches towards the cathedral. The cathedral was lovely but we enjoyed the mosque area more. Nevertheless it is a unique blend of the two religions. We viewed the Mihrab, which is a domed shrine made of mosaics. The shrine has two functions in Islamic worship, first it indicates the direction of Mecca, and secondly it amplifies the words of the prayer leader. This may have been the most beautiful part of the complex, and it was wonderful to see. The Mezquita was very impressive, and we are glad we made the drive to see it.
From the Mezquita we walked down to an old roman bridge called Puente Romano. From there we stopped to view a patio which was participating in a local flower competition called " Battle of the Flowers".
After leaving Córdoba we drove through central Andalusia, and enjoyed some beautiful Spanish scenery. We stopped in a lovely little town called Ecija. We enjoyed a late lunch of calamari and patatas bravas another Spanish dish. Very yummy.
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