17.10.2009 27 °C
Cordoba may not be highlighted on everyone's tourist map because it is a very long way from anywhere, but don't be deterred - it's well worth the trip. For instance: It has this bridge which was built by the Romans ...
Note that the Romans were driven out of Spain by the Visigoths in the 5th. Century AD, but this bridge has been so well reconstructed that it looks as though the Italians only finished it last week.
The narrow, winding streets of the Jewish Quarter are also interesting, but it was the cathedral that took our breath away.
Beneath almost all of the world's greatest religious monuments lie the tattered remains of the opposition's cherished buildings. Churches, synagogues, temples and mosques have all been built from sacred materials painstakingly quarried by the vanquished members of previous faiths. But here in Cordoba the Christians had a better plan. When they re-conquered this Muslim enclave in 1236 AD they didn't knock down the magnificent mosque that had been built with stones from the destroyed Visigoth Temple, they simply turned the mosque into a cathedral.
Take a look... Does this look like a cathedral to you?
... and what about these traditional Moorish arches?
Cordoba Cathedral is absolutely breathtaking in its size and architecture. There were hundreds of sightseers in the cathedral when we took these pictures, but they simply vanished into the vastness.
The core of the mosque was turned into a more traditional Christian cathedral by a team of architects, Senors Ruiz, Praves and Ochoa, in 1523 AD. At that time they integrated the underlying Muslim structure into a gothic, renaissance, baroque transept and choir. This remodelling was controversial at the time and is still the subject of heated ecumenical argument today ... so they will probably pull it down one day and start all over again.
The work is definitely over-the-top. Not one square inch of the place has been left unadorned by oppulent, even gaudy, carvings. Here are some of the wooden choir stalls ...
Cordoba has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2016 and, judging by the amount of reconstruction going on, they might have rebuilt the whole place by then.