Favorite thing: Perhaps the most wonderful part of the El Alcazar is its fabulous GARDENS. We walked through the many paths leading in and out of ponds, waterfalls and fountains. There was one row of meticulously trimmed trees which looked so impressive to me. Also amongst the gardens was a monument with three figures of Queen Isabella, her husband Ferdinand and Christopher Columbus as it was here at the Alcazar that Isabella commissioned Columbus to seek the New World.
After parking the car near Avenida Fray Albino, we, Hans & I, Carmen & Stace, walked over the ROMAN BRIDGE towards the Mezquita. There are good views of the Roman Bridge from the South Bank.
Crossing the Guadalquivir River, the Roman Bridge, with its 16 arches, is magnificent in its beauty and solidity, but reflects little of its Roman roots due to frequent reconstruction over many decades.
In the centre of the bridge, is a little shrine to the archangel St. Raphael who watches over the bridge.
Favorite thing: A Minaret once stood where the Belfry TORRE DEL ALMINAR is now. The original Minaret was built in 957 and was eventually enveloped in this Barocque Belltower. It really is a beautiful tower and not surprisingly very much photographed. Along with the orange trees, it makes for a wonderful picture. I know I couldn't get enough of it and took pics at several different angles.
Favorite thing: The original Mihrab was not correctly aligned to indicate the exact direction towards Mecca, as the Great Mosque was built on the grounds of an existing building ( the former Cathedral ). To correct this many years later, everything was done to make the new MIHRAB unique and beautiful. Byzantine craftsmen were brought to Cordoba and made this Mihrab the finest of all Moorish religious architecture. Its roof is a high dome hewn from a single block of marble. It is decorated with a profusion of floral and geometric patterns and verses from the Koran in Arabic script. It is truly beautiful and one of the many highlights of the Mezquita.
Favorite thing: The street running alongside the Mezquita is CALLE DE TORRIJOS. From this cobblestoned street you will see the walls of the compound with trenches running along side it for drainage. The picture shown here is one picturesque wall featuring a huge door in Mujedar style with the Arabic arches. The detail on the wall is absolutely fascinating to me.
Inside the magnificent Mezquita, Cathedral section, you will find many different Chapels, each unique in their own right and many statues.
The Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) stands out for its Mudejar plasterworks and holds the remains of King Ferdinand and Alfonso XI.
One of the more impressive chapels is the "Capilla de San Anton" pictured here. You can't help notice the rich gold tones of the chapel.
Also throughout the Mezquita, Cathedral section, are dozens of statues dedicated to various saints
Favorite thing: After crossing the Roman Bridge, you come upon the 16th century PUERTA DEL PUENTE or BRIDGE GATE. Built in 1571 and designed by Hernan Ruiz III, the Puerta Del Puente with its impressive twin columns located on each side, is a Doric Triumphal Arch. Once you have passed under it, you are treated to your first views of the Mezquita Catedral.
As you walk through this wonderful Arch PUERTA DEL PERDON (c.1377) you are treated to the delightful "Patio de los Naranjos" (Courtyard of Orange Trees). You will also see Palm trees, olive trees and cypresses and wonderful views of the Minaret / Belltower.
Originally, entrance to the Mosque was gained via many doors, which were designed to let in the light. This door, Puerta del Perdon or "Gate of Forgiveness" is in Mudejar style and is now the only one open to the public.
Favorite thing: After passing under the Puerta del Puente or Bridge Gate, the first thing you notice is theTRIUMPHAL COLUMN OF SAN RAFAEL which stands between the Gate and the great Mosque and is erected on an embossed pedestal. The sculpture by Verdiguier which was completed 1781, was commissioned to pay homage to the archangel Rafael, the patron saint of Cordoba, for having spared the city during a devastating earthquake.
It is considered, that Romans established a colony Cordoba in II century before Christmas. This city was the capital of Roman province Betica and became the major cultural center. Great philosophers Seneka and Lukian were born there.
In 711 moors conquered Cordoba. In 756 Abd-ar-Rachman established Cordobian Caliphate. The blossoming of Cordoba began at that time.
The fourth longest river in Spain, the GUADALQUIVIR RIVER is also the longest in Andalucia. The name comes from the Arabic Al-Wadi Al-Kabir which means the "Great River".
The River is 657 kilometres long and begins at Canada de las Fuentes in the Cazorla Mountain Range, passes through Cordoba and Seville and ends at the fishing village of Bonanza, flowing into the Gulf of Cadiz in the Atlantic Ocean.
Views of the Guadalquivir River can be seen from the Roman Bridge.
Favorite thing: Cordoba received actual independence from Baghdad caliphs in the X-th century at Abd-ar-Rachman III. It turned into the biggest and rich city of Western Europe. The population of the city reached 500 thousand. Arts, sciences, crafts prospered there.
However in the XI-th century Cordobian Caliphate has broken up into some small independent states. Through some tens years Cordoba obeyed to Seville and became a part of the Sevillian state.
In 1236 Ferdinand III conquered Cordoba.
Cordoba became a provincial city.
A few cities in Spain have the merit to be called like this.
This make me very proud of my country, but cities as Toledo, Salamanca, Avila, CAceres, etc... really deserve!
I guess the mosque was not the only reason for this nomination, also the Jewish neighbour, the andalusian patios, the bullfighting..
Favorite thing: Cordoba is located in headwaters of Guadalquivir. The city is included in the List of the World cultural heritage. The historical part of the city is on the left northern bank of the river. The center of the historical part of the city is the well-known Mosque - one of the greatest mosques of the world. Jewish area Juderia is kept to the West from the Mosque. More close to the river there is palace Alcazar.