Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Cordoba

I hope you are not getting bored with my visit to Cordoba but there was so much to see and do in this fascinating city.  I must tell you about our visit to the Jewish Quarter and the fabulous museum we found there.

Cordoba Jewish Quarter

The walls surrounding the Jewish Quarter in Cordoba

The Jewish Quarter in Cordoba, or Juderia as it is called, is a walled area surrounding a complex network of narrow streets lined with white buildings. With a quintessential Andalusian flavour, it is a perfect place to wander around and soak up the atmosphere.

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A typical street in the ancient Jewish quarter

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At the centre of the quarter is the Synagogue. It is one of only three original synagogues remaining in Spain. The building, built in the Mudejar style, dates from 1315. It was converted to a church in the 16th century and then held the Guild of Shoemakers until it was rediscovered in the 19th Century.

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The entrance to the Synagogue

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The interior includes restored walls revealing plaster work with inscriptions from Hebrew psalms and plant motifs.

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The Jewish community played an important role in the history of Spain and flourished in Cordoba during the Moorish times when the city was the centre for commerce, prosperity, education and religious tolerance. Unfortunately, in 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition, people of the Jewish faith and the religion itself, were expelled from Spain. A sad part of Spanish history.

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Wandering the peaceful little streets and alleys, we came upon a sign on a door, Casa Andalusi. Intrigued, we decided to check it out. Were we in for a treat!

Once inside we were welcomed by a cosy and cool courtyard with the pleasant sound of water from its fountain,  a mixture of Arab-Spanish music in the background and the faint scent of greenery and fresh flowers.

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The charming courtyard of Casa Andalusi

 

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There were many more serene courtyards and fountains full of fresh flowers throughout the site.
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It was a typical 12th-century Andalusian house filled with medieval Islamic furniture and decorations. The blend of Andalusian and eastern styles gave it a certain charm and transported you back to Arabic times.
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Exquisite leather work.

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A leather globe of the world as it was known at the time. Amazing

I found one room, dedicated to the making of paper out of rags, very interesting.
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and I had to demonstrate
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We were able to go down below the current house where we found items from the old houses of the Jewish quarter including a well and an unearthed Roman mosaic floor, proving just how old the site is.
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The courtyards held an assortment of large pots. I was told if I didn´t behave, I would be put in one!
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This museum proved to be a gem tucked away and not on many of the tourist maps. We were so pleased we found it. It was the perfect end to a long, but fun day.
I hope you enjoyed the trip to Cordoba with me and my wonderful travel buddies.

 

 

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.

 

During the visit of my aunt and her friend, we took a bus trip to the Andalusian city of Cordoba, about five hours from where I live in Spain. Originally built by the Romans, it became an important location during the Moorish occupation. The ancient city of Cordoba held some of the world´s first known universities and medical schools. The fascinating architecture throughout the city reflects the Moorish, Jewish and Christian cultures.

It is easy to get around this charming city as it isn´t very big and you can easily walk everywhere.  The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with whitewashed buildings and patios decorated with colourful flower pots. Every time we turned a corner, we were confronted with another remarkable church, museum or interesting edifice. We took many pictures. It will take more than one post to share all we saw in these three amazing days.

Many buildings are decorated with flower pots

It took us a while to find it but we eventually walked down the street of flowers, or Calle de Fleurs which is the most photographed street in Cordoba and found on many postcards.

The Calle de Fleurs with the Mezquita in the background

The Mezquita is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There has been a place of worship on the site since the mid-sixth century when the Visigoths built the Basilica of San Vincent, the city´s main Christian Temple at the time. When the Muslims arrived in the eighth century the building was divided and used by both communities. It was later expanded to accommodate the growing Muslim population. In the twelfth century when the Moors were defeated by the Christians, the conquerors were so impressed by the opulent Mosque, it was uncustomarily kept intact and a Catholic cathedral built around it. Walking under the Moorish arches and viewing crucifixes, statues of saints and paintings depicting biblical stories, I was moved to tears as I felt the historic affiliation of art and faith surround me.

Inside the Mosque-Cathedral

The Moorish arches

An example of the ornate ceilings

A gorgeous stained glass window

A display of ancient Bibles

My guests enjoying the Mezquita

The original Mosque doors restored

The cathedral was consecrated in 1146 and has been used as a Catholic church ever since. They were preparing for a Corpus Christi parade and celebration that evening which we were lucky enough to witness, making our visit even more special.

Preparing for a religious celebration

Visiting the Mezquita is magical and these few pictures don´t do it justice. Here is a video from the official website. Don’t worry if you don’t understand Spanish, the views are gorgeous. https://mezquita-catedraldecordoba.es/

You really have to see this place to believe it!!

The city of Cordoba is a reminder of how Spain has willingly adopted the history and cultures of its many invaders over the years to become the unique country it is today.

More pictures of Cordoba to come.

 

 

I haven’t been spending much time on my blog lately but there is a very good reason. I’ve been entertaining overseas guests and showing them around my part of Spain. The three of us come from the same place originally and have been buddies since we were children. One is related, one isn’t, one now lives in Arizona and one in Alberta. I can´t tell you how wonderful it has been having them here in Spain with me.

So far we have explored medieval castles, cathedrals, museums, a Roman fortress, an amphitheatre, and a sanctuary built into the side of a mountain, shopped the markets, shared tapas and watched a flamenco dancer to name a few of the many fun things we’ve been doing. I’ll write more about these events and sites later but in the meantime here are a few pictures to show what we’ve been up to.

At the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Esperanza

Happy to have my friends here in Spain with me.

With a friendly sailor in Cartagena

Enjoying the amphitheatre in Cartagena

On stage at the amphitheatre ready to give a performance

A Roman Senator lost his head over us!

At the top of the castle in Guadalest

Beautiful Guadalest

We did not fight over the knight in shining armour

Someone bought a new hat at the market and is very happy!

Resting in a cute courtyard in Cordoba.

At the Alcazar in Cordoba with King Alfonso

Look who we found at the top of Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante

 

The three amigas together again, ready for adventure.

There are many more pictures and stories to share but you will have to wait.

Note – pictures from a collection taken by all three of us.


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