Archive for February, 2014

Andalusia 2013

February 1st, 2014

Our trip to Andalusia continued in Cordoba, another city that was heavily influenced by the Moors who occupied it until late in the 15th century.

Cordoba was ‘freed’ earlier than Granada and Ferdinand and Isabella established their royal seat here while they were fighting for Granada.  They lived in a former Muslim palace which is now known as the “Alcazar de los Reyes Catolicos” or Palace of the Catholic Kings.  It is clear, however, that the origin of the buildings and gardens has nothing to do with catholic kings.

One look at these gardens and you know immediately who designed them.

The palace itself is not very interesting, and there has not been a significant effort to make the interior look like it must have either during the Moors’ occupation, or the later royal affectation, which was not very long as the royal court eventually moved to Granada instead.

However, the gardens are the real attraction of this palace.

There are fountains everywhere and several different levels which are all just slightly different from each other.

This group was added later, I am sure.  It is the representation of Christopher Columbus requesting funds from Ferdinand and Isabella for his trip to India via the Atlantic Ocean.  We all know how that ended.

However, there were conflicts in what we heard from different guides.  Granada was freed from the Moors in January 1492 and the court moved there soon thereafter.  So in Granada, they claim that this discussion took place in the Alhambra.  In Cordoba, they claim that this occurred before the court moved and therefore it happened in Cordoba.  Looking at several sources of information (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wikipedia and Royal Greenwich Museum) there is consensus that the decision to go West was made in January 1492 but only Wikipedia mentions that this occurred in Cordoba while Britannica does not say where the final agreement took place.  It could be that it is not documented and therefore both cities have a legitimate claim!

The other major attraction of Cordoba is the Mezquita, the most confused building in the world.  It started life as a Mosque and is now the Cathedral of Cordoba.  There are contrasting views throughout the building, with clearly Muslim architecture surrounding obviously catholic details.

When they established (and built) the cathedral inside the old mosque, a lot of the building was left unchanged.  There are thousands of columns supporting the roof around the core which is now the cathedral.  This is an “illegal” photo!  I took it with the camera sitting on the floor so that I could have a longer exposure.  Immediately after I took this photo while sitting on the floor, I was told to stand up as sitting is not allowed!

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