The gem of Córdoba is the Mezquita. Originally the site was a shared Christian and Islamic temple. Then Emir Abd al-Rahman purchased the site outright in 784, demolished it all and built a massive mosque to be one of the largest in the world. Over the next 200 years, al-Rahman’s descendants expanded the mosque several times, making it many times it’s original size enabling approximately 40,000 people to worship at once.
It’s a large building… and yet we couldn’t find it. It turns out that the street we came down was the correct direction, but at the bottom we turned left and walked around all 4 sides for about 20 minutes before eventually finding the entrance about 20m from where we started.
The main worship space in the Mezquita is dominated by rows and rows of double-arched columns, with the arches topped in a distinctive red and white striped pattern.
The area returned to Christian rule in 1236. It was fairly common at the time to re-appropriate Islamic mosques and buildings purposes, even for churches. Over the next few centuries, the outer isles were turned into several dozen chapels and a central section was removed to build a high-ceilinged naive and choir.
After leaving the Mezquita, we walked around the old town of Córdoba for a couple of hours, trying to keep in the shade as it was getting very warm. Joolz looked at all the souvenir magnets trying to decide which one to get for our rapidly expanding collection. The streets are narrow and many of the buildings are tiny. We found coffee shop that was almost invisible from the street, but had a nice cool internal courtyard. Joolz had a craving for more Spanish style hot chocolate and churros but apparently churros were only available tomorrow? Also, Joolz discovered the delights of the Hornazo, which is a pork and chorizo pie from an upmarket looking meat and cheese shop.
We returned to The Van to go and search for Don Quixote…