Tuesday, April 29, 2008


On the way from Granada to Seville, we stopped off at Cordoba, mainly to see the mosque/cathedral there. The site has been used for over 1000 years as the religious center of whatever group was in power. It became a mosque starting in the 8th century and was, at one time, the second largest in the world. In 1236, Cordoba was conquered by the Christians, and a cathedral was built in the central section of the mosque, leaving over 800 of the columns (there were once over 1,200) and the mihrab (the niche in the wall that indicates the proper direction for Muslims to pray, towards Mecca).
The pillars are the most striking feature of the mosque/cathedral, and they were built, at least in part, from an ancient Roman temple on the site.

This is the ceiling over the area where the Islamic ruler would have prayed. Then, in the middle of the mosque, is the Catholic cathedral. The mosque/cathedral is surrounded by a high wall. Abby asked me why it was there, and I replied that, as with most walls, it was for protection - to keep the mosque safe from invaders. She sighed and said, "Sadly, it wasn't enough."

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