The train ride between Sevilla and Córdoba is about 45-60 minutes, so a lot of people day trip to Córdoba from Sevilla to check out the Mezquita. We opted to stay two nights in Córdoba to get a better feel of the old town. For me, Córdoba’s old town is much more intimate than that of Sevilla.
Also for me, the history of Córdoba is more interesting than that of Sevilla. Sevilla is probably best know for its association with Christopher Columbus, where the city greatly benefited from all the riches plundered from the New World. Córdoba on the other hand was the culture and knowledge center of Andalusia when the rest of Europe was still in the Dark Ages. The great minds such as the likes of the Jewish physician, Mose Maimonides, and Muslim lawyer, Averroes were all here. Religious tolerance and open-mindedness both contributed to the sophistication.
The story of Córdoba’s rise started with the exiled Umayyad prince of Damascus, Abd ar-Rahman, defeating the Germanic Visigoth in the 8th century. Religious tolerance allowed Jews, Muslims, and Christians to live side by side, and flourish for 400 years until the radical Muslim Almoravid and Almohad from Morocco took over, and started religious persecutions that continued through the Spanish Inquisition under Christian rule. This is a lesson for us in the current day. As we become more intolerant and more nationalistic, we will slowly choke off innovation and advancement.
After dropping off our bags at the hotel, we proceeded toward the Mezquita. Given that most day trippers are wrapping up their day in Córdoba, the perfect time to visit Mezquita is in the late afternoon.
Some scenes along the way…
The Mezquita was a mosque before it was turned into a cathedral after Ferdinand III conquered Córdoba in 1236. Instead of demolishing the mosque, the Christians built a cathedral within the mosque and left portions of the mosque intact. What you see is an interesting juxtaposition of two religions on one site.
Past the Mirhab is the Cathedral section.
After the hour-long tour of the Mezquita we headed over to the Museum of al-Andalus Life in the Calahorra Tower across the bridge. The museum offers a glimpse of what life was like during the prosperous al-Andalusian days.
As we wandered around town, waiting for restaurants to open for dinner, we happened upon the Calle de Flores.