Following our trip to Ronda we drove two hours to Cordoba. The historic part of Cordoba includes the Mosque – Cathedral and has a Roman bridge which was originally built in the first century but has been reconstructed on various occasions since. It has 16 arches and is 247 metres long. For those of you who are avid Game of Thrones fans you may recognise the Roman Bridge as it was used for the Long Bridge of Volantis in series five.
The Mosque – Cathedral of Cordoba
Cordoba is well known for the mosque which has a cathedral in the centre of it. The mosque is spectacular and the pictures don’t do it justice or make you appreciate its size. It could hold 40,000 people in the 13th century which was quite incredible.
It is believed that the site of the Mosque-Cathedral was originally a Christian church dedicated to Saint Vincent the Third, which was divided and shared by Muslims and Christians after the Islamic conquest of the Visigothic kingdom. This arrangement lasted until 784, when the Christian half was purchased by the Emir Abd al-Rahman I, who then proceeded to demolish the original structure and build the grand mosque of Córdoba on its ground. In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. The cathedral nave was installed in the 16th century.
The focal point in the prayer hall is the horseshoe arched mihrab or prayer niche. A mihrab is used in a mosque to identify the wall that faces Mecca
Within the Cathedral is the renaissance high altar. The 18th-century choir stalls, are carved in rich mahogany from the West Indies. The carving , contain scenes from the Bible, the life of the Virgin and depictions of local martyrs and also a large number of decorative pieces: masks, eagles, centaurs, and a variety of stylised flora and fauna. The cathedral organs, of which there were two, were stunning and whilst we were there a young guy who was visiting played.
Outside the Mosque–Cathedral is the Courtyard of the Orange Trees. In the corner of the courtyard is the Torre del Alminar is 93 meters (305 feet) high. The exterior of the mosque was also highly decorative.
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
This the palace where King Fernando and Queen Isabel, first met with Christopher Columbus in 1486 who was putting his idea of looking for a Western route to reach India. The Alcázar’s has lovely terraced gardens. The fish migrated to any part of the pond they thought food might be coming.
An Enormous Castle in View
We were driving back from Cordoba and up in the distance off the main road was an enormous castle. So being nosy that we are we just had to go have a look. When we got out of the car we weren’t expecting it to be quite as cold as it was only 5 degrees, so we didn’t hang about for long. We could see the Sierra Nevada too and there was quite a bit of snow on the mountains.
We discovered it was the La Mota Fortress or Castillo de Alcalá la Real which for over 150 years, has marked the frontier between the kingdoms of Granada and Castile. Surrounded by several rings of walls, making its perimeter one of the largest in Andalusia, with seven gateways and three towers, so it was enormous. It is 1,029 metres (3,376 ft) above sea level (no wonder it was cold). It dates back to the 13th-14th century, although some parts of the structure are older.
This was the end of our little jaunt for the time being.