Spain, Andalusia – Trip for Romance III
I believe I will visit Granada one more time at some point in the future. Yet now I head to Málaga and Córdoba.
Málaga is a modern and noisy city with a large harbor, and you can feel it has a long history… They have a 10th century castle build by Moors. I admire beautiful cathedral and also pay a visit to Museo Picasso Málaga. And now I am heading to Córdoba. I couldn’t get out of the center but eventually I managed to …
Córdoba used to be the capital of Moor Andalusia. There was the center of art and education. It reminds me of Meknés in Morrocco where beautiful fortification is and water flows in water channels along the walls. I crossed the Roman bridge (Puente Romano), well old Moor bridge standing on Roman foundations. I walk towards massive tower Torre de la Calahorra. From there I have beautiful view of fortified Córdoba and remains of Alcazar where the palace of caliphs used to be. On the opposite side is a temple and belfry. It must be the famous Mezquita-catedral (mosque-cathedral), the goal of my journey.
In the time of the Umaj emirs und caliphs, the mosque in Córdoba attracted pilgrims from distant Muslim countries. It had to stand above all other as Abdarrahman wished. And it really was like this. It was built on the bank of the massive al-Vádí al Kabír river today known as Guadalquivir. Shrines had been constructed in this territory since ever.
The mosque construction started in 785. The construction material was shipped there from everywhere even from former temples and old Roman or Greek ruins in the Mediterranean. A Helenian column was crowned with Byzantine head. But nobody cared. Abdarrahman died three years after the construction had started. His son Hisham finished it in 793. Arabian architecture was inspired by Syrian, Persian, Byzantine, Roman, or Visigoth. Its own artistic value made it unique and distinctive.
I enter through inside bridge gate. Archangel Rafael, the patron of the city, stands on a column. And now I am at the Gate of Forgiveness (Puerta del Perdon) - a Muderai mix of Arabian and Christian art. I find myself on the Courtyard of Oranges (Patio de Naranjas). In the middle, there is a large well of cleansing. I admire petrified forest of marble, jasper, and porphyry stems, sort of cursed grove. Smooth columns branches into two stories of arches on the top, just like palm sprays...
The mosque doesn’t reach any significant height. Its above-human character is within its vast column hall with no end in sight in any direction. A view nor spirit can fly into heights, to free space. You feel that you are part of complex system, intertwined with tissue from which the infinity is made...
In the 16th century, after Córdoba was conquered by Ferdinand III, the medieval mosque saw a cathedral being built right inside it. The Christian temple is devoted to the Immaculate Conception..
To be continued...
Text and photo: Sylvie Halouzková
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