Darlene Foster's Blog

A Visit to Cordoba Part 2

Posted on: July 24, 2017

After spending a morning at the amazing Mezquita, enjoying a delightful lunch and checking out the cute shops we ventured to the Alcazar, a medieval fortress of the Christian Kings, rebuilt in 1328 by King Alfonso XI. The word Alcázar means palace in Arabic. It was the residence of the Christian Kings when they stayed in Cordoba and was one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. Significant historic events were planned in this palace including the discovery of America. It was also the headquarters of the Inquisition and later served as a garrison for Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops in 1810. This intriguing place with a colourful history is now a World Heritage site.

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Battlements surrounding the Alcazar

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King Alfonso XI greets visitors to the Alcazar

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The round tower is the Tower of the Inquisition, added in the 15th century. The Main Tower in front was a place for the Inquisition to carry out its public executions.

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The gardens are a relaxing place to wander, with a wide variety of plants and trees overlooking stone fountains and large ponds

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Well kept gardens

The Moorish style Royal Baths are situated in the basement and are thought to have been built by Alfonso XI. The skylights in the shape of stars provided light and ventilation. The walls were made from hardened clay and some of the original marble floor slabs are still visible.

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Outside entrance to the Royal Bath House

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Entering the bath house in the basement

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Star shaped skylights for light and ventilation

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Inside the bath house. I may be touching a wall Queen Isabella touched.

Interesting 16th-century frescoes hang in a hall which housed the former chapel of the Inquisitions. A collection of Roman mosaic art and a sarcophagus from the 2nd and 3rd century that once belonged to a wealthy Roman Mansion, discovered under Corredera Square in 1959, are also on display.

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Interesting 16th-century frescoes

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2nd or 3rd-century sarcophagus

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Roman mosaic art discovered under a square in Cordoba

The Alcazar was yet another remarkable place to wander around and take in the history as we stepped back in time. Seeing places like this makes the history we learned in school come alive. It is no longer just stuff from textbooks but actual events and places. Queen Isabella walked these hallways, touched these walls and probably bathed in the bath house while deciding whether to fund the voyage of Christopher Columbus, which ultimately changed history. This is why travel means so much to me.

More to come as we visit the Jewish Quarter and a cool museum in Cordoba.

Thanks for travelling with me.

 

36 Responses to "A Visit to Cordoba Part 2"

I just finished part 1 and 2 or Cordoba…and looking forward to more! Great historic review and wonderful photos Darlene!

It is truly an amazing place. I love living so close to history!

Oh, how I love history. This is terrific. The photos are wonderful. Thank you!

My love of history is truly satisfied here in Spain. Would be great to take your students to a place like this, wouldn´t it?

You are poised to take fascinating short trips from your perch in Spain. The gardens of Cordoba remind me that soon we will be looking again at the lovely Butchart Gardens in Victoria. I can’t wait!

Being in close proximity to all these historic places is so wonderful. Enjoy Butchart gardens.They are always wonderful.

You talk about Queen Isabella walking the hallways, and I can feel the history. I felt it when we visited Hever Castle, it was amazing to be ‘walking in the footsteps of Anne Boleyn’, but when I came to write it about it, I found it almost impossible. Which explains why you are an author, and I’m not. Lovely post Darlene, thank you.

You can almost feel their presence, can´t you. Or perhaps that is just my vivid imagination. Glad you enjoyed the post.

I love the way you make those walls come alive, Darlene. One can almost see Queen Isabella wandering about the place carrying out her daily routines. Cordoba is indeed a magical place, giving Granada a run for its money. In fact, the whole of Andalucía is just enchanting and one cannot help but fall in love with it. Thank you for sharing such beautiful images, history and feelings.

After having been to Granada a few years ago, I was not expecting Cordoba to be as amazing as it is. I love surprises like that. Andalucia is indeed fascinating. So pleased you enjoyed my report.

I liked Cordoba but my visit was ruched and the Alcazar was closed – I need to go back!

You do need to go back and explore some more. Unfortunately, the Roman columns were covered in plastic and scaffolding so we didn´t really get to see them this visit. Always nice to have a reason to return.

I love the history and the architecture…thanks for sharing Darlene!

Thanks, Kirt. You would enjoy the photo/painting opportunities!

I know I would!! Thanks!!

Fascinating. This is what history should feel like. It is not boring when you can walk the same stones as kings and queens.

Thank you for sharing, Darlene.

Thanks, Diane. Of course, not everyone gets as excited about history as I do but visiting sites like this just adds to my excitement.

The gardens look beautiful and I like the star-shaped holes in the bath house. The towers are impressive, but there’s something a little disturbing about the one where executions were carried out. I can imagine the scene in those days from your photograph. Sometimes, when you visit places like this, you get so caught up in the history you feel quite disorientated afterwards. I could imagine feeling that way after a visit to Cordoba.

The part about the Inquisition was disturbing I must admit. I know what you mean, venturing back into the 21st Century was confusing after being immersed in all that history. Oh well, we are making our own history now, that years later folks will want to visit and envision.

Lovely photos.. thanks for bringing it all back to me. I particularly like the gardens and pool and the entrance to the bathhouse has so much character. Thanks for the history lesson.
Peta

Glad I could bring back fond memories. I have always loved history and visiting places like this gets me very excited.

Funny, when I was in high school, and even college, history didn’t mean that much to me. The older I get, the more fascinated I am with history now. And you are teaching me so much! (I love the star ‘skylight’ – why don’t more houses have this?) Really neat, as I suppose Queen Isabella was – one neat queen. xo

I was a weird kid who liked history. Unfortunately, it was not always taught in an interesting way. I think I learned more from novels.I remember reading Crown of Aloes by Norah Lofts, which was about Queen Isabella of Spain. It all came back to me while visiting Cordoba.

Yes, I’m sure some of our lack of interest was lack of good teaching. When I worked with special ed kids at our high school here in NE, I attended all of the history classes with my student and learned SO MUCH. I loved the class (and felt guilty about getting paid to attend – haha). But some of the students looked bored and I wanted to stand up and shout PAY ATTENTION – this is IMPORTANT. 🙂

What a fascinating place to explore. Sometimes when we travel I find it hard to imagine that a location I am enjoying as a tourist was once the site of executions torture and the like. Always seems a bit surreal.

It is hard to believe those horrible things happened in places that seem so peaceful and beautiful now. But then people in the future may say that about our time. If only civilizations would learn from history.

Wonderful photos. I love the old architecture and art work. Thanks for taking me along on your travels. 😀

Thanks for joining me on my travels!! Pleased you liked the photos.

What an incredible place! To think that the decisions made there had such far reaching consequences and changed the world… quite literally!

I know, it was mind blowing to be standing there and thinking that very same thought.

Great blog Darlene …lovely photos and historical facts too! I know Córdoba is still on my bucket list along with the rest of Andalusia, and a future return visit to see you and yours:)

Glad you enjoyed this post, Jayne. Look forward to your return visit to this part of the world. 😎

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