This Sunday, we had a group excursion to Córdoba, Spain. En route, I spotted this lovely little castle in the hills:
We stopped outside the city at an architectural museum called Conjunto Arqueológico Madinat Al-Zahra. If I had had a guide, I would have understood more of the symbolism behind the artifacts I was viewing. But I did gather that many of the dishes and pottery I saw were from the X-XIII centuries. Yeah, that's like the 900s to the 1200s. Incredilbe.
The panel I am standing in front of has ataurique decoration and is made of limestone between 953-947 AD. Yeah. OLD.
Once in the city of Córdoba, we went to a very old synagogue that, like the famous mosque in Córdoba, has toggled between faiths over the years. It was a church, then became a Jewish synagogue.
After that, we had some free time to find food and explore the city. Cheetoh, Kira, Christina, and Natasha and I found some tapas where I tried blood sausage. Yeah, I, Laura Fennell, tried blood sausage. And it wasn't bad. I will be honest. Haha. But that wasn't the high of our break, the city itself is just spectacular.
I look so little compared to that beastly fountain.
However, Córdoba is most famous for its vastly huge and ancient mosque/church or mezquita-catedral. It is so rich in history and culture, it is a World Heritage Site. The site was originally a pagan temple, than a Visigothic Christian church, before the Umayyad Moors converted the building into a mosque, and later built a new mosque on the site. Currently, it is a beautiful fusion of the Islamic faith and the Christian faith. And I loved it! This is part of the outside:
Then we entered and were blown away. I will try to explain as much as I can after the photos.
These arches are a combination of stone and clay which prevents them from crumbling or deteriorating over time. The clay is moist and more flexible, so it gives more. Also, all of the pillars are recycled from other archeological sites in Spain, Europe and Middle East. The other sites were deteriorating, so the pillars were salvaged. Very Islamic style.
Now you can see the Christian influence on this enormous building as well. The change is so abrupt. One minute you're looking at a golden arch that looks like it's straight out of an Arabic country, and then you see this big Catholic mural. So incredible.
This is one of my favorite photos. The majority of the photo looks so Arabic, until you peek in the bottom left and see Christ on the cross.
That is very much real gold and very much a statue for God.
This area was my favorite. First of all, that ceiling will keep you staring for hours. Secondly the cathedral is so full of minute details, I couldn't believe parts of it were real. I could take a semester course on this room alone and still not understand all of the symbolism of the arches, the saints, the angels, the angles, the number of pillars and lines, the molding, why some is stone, marble, wood or gold. It was all so overwhelming. I encourage you to zoom in on this picture and just study it. I couldn't count all of the cherubs and holy helpers. I can't imagine going to mass here and hearing the organs on either side of the pews with 50+ stops. Incredible.
And that's our group walking across the famous Roman bridge out of the city and back into the less-ornate every day life. :]