Day 39: Cordoba

Summary

We went from Granada to Cordoba. At Cordoba our main focus was Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba (Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba), this building looked magnificent from the outside but it was its interior that took our breath away. It was so different and unique! After the mosque-cathedral we walked around the old town which was lovely and quaint.

Route from Granada to Cordoba

Route from Granada to Cordoba

Cordoba

We left Granada by driving though the town center, (since our car was permitted to be driven in the center), we thought we took the opportunity to see the town. It was a mistake as there were plentiful of traffic stops and beside those places we visited last evening there was nothing very interesting to see. After we left the town center it was a 2.5 hour drive to Cordoba. Midway about 1.5 hour later we detoured into Baena and stopped at a cafe for a coffee break. Baena was a quiet town and the cafe was pretty empty.

Coffee break at Baena

Coffee break at Baena

At about 3 pm we reached our “stay” at Cordoba. Our stay was opposite the old town across the river Guadaquivir. It was practically infront of the bridge, Puente Romano de Cordoba (Roman bridge of Cordoba). At 3 pm the sun was still very hot but it was also a great time to take beautiful photos. The sky was so blue and the Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba at the other end of the bridge stood up prominently and beautifully. The combination of the bridge and the Mezquita-Cathedral created a beautiful scene.

Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba

Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba

We walked across the bridge to the Cordoba old town. On the bridge was a statue of an angel with a  halo above its head. The angel was Saint Raphael. At the end of the bridge was Arco del Triunfo (Arch of Triumph) a bridge gate. The bridge gate had a high foundation on which Doric columns supported a classical entablature. Above the door was a panel with inscription mentioning the visit of King Felipe II to Corboda in 1570.

Puente Romano de Cordoba (top) and Arco del Triunfo (bottom)

Puente Romano de Cordoba (top) and Arco del Triunfo (bottom)

After the gate we walked into Plaza del Triunfo (Triumph), in the Plaza one of the most prominent structures in was Triunfo de San Rafael de la Puerta del Puente (Triumph of San Rafael of the bridge gate ). It was one of the many triumphs in the city of Cordoba. This one was dedicated to the archangel San Rafael, the guardian angel of the city.

The tallest building (54 m)  in the city was the bell tower of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba. It was originally a Muslim minaret which was converted into a bell tower after the Christian conquest. In 1589 an earthquake affected its structure and a new tower was built which enveloped part of the Caliphate remains.

Triunfo de San Rafael (left) and Bell tower (right)

Triunfo de San Rafael (left) and Bell tower (right)

We walked round the external perimeter wall of the Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba in search of an entrance. The perimeter wall was huge, tall and long. Some doors had very interesting design. The entrance was located at the opposite wall of the rectangular perimeter from the side facing the river. The entrance fee was €10 per person.

Entrance to Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba

Entrance to Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba

The interior of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba was amazing! We came to a hall with endless rows of columns with double arches, the design of the hall was fascinating. This was a “hypostyle hall” (a hall where its roof rest on pillars/columns) with 866 columns constructed from jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. The pillars held up double arches which consisted of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch. The alternating red and white wedge shape stones that formed the arches made this hypostyle hall so uniquely different!

Hypostyle hall of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba

Hypostyle hall of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba

It was believed that the site of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba was originally a Christain church which was divided and shared by Muslims and Christians after the Islamic conquest. This sharing arrangement lasted till 784 when the Christain half was sold to “Emir Abdal-Rahman I” who then demolished the original structure to build the grand mosque of Cordoba on the same site.

Statue and ornaments everywhere

Statues and ornaments everywhere

There were many rooms and each room was filled with fascinating “treasures”, statues, paintings, ancient artifacts. The architecture of the building adopted a “muslim style” and yet many displays in the rooms were “christian” stuffs. No wonder this place was called Mezquita-Catedral, a mosque and yet a cathedral.

"Treasures" in Mesquita - Catedras de Corboda

“Treasures” in Mesquita – Catedras de Corboda

Surprisingly there were not many to toursts visiting this beautiful place, which in a way was wonderful as it kept this entire place very serene and peaceful. The quiet ambience was just nice for us to explore the place slowly at our own pace as we drifted from room to room. The “muslim” architecture was lovely! We stayed on until the place closed at 7 pm.

Lovely interior architecture of Mesquita - Catedras de Corboda

Lovely interior architecture of Mesquita – Catedras de Corboda

After Mesquita – Catedras de Corboda we went to explore the old town. It was a clean and quaint town with  many cafes and restaurants. There were some visitors walking around town but generally the place was not pack with people.  We did not stay long and left after another hour.

Old town of Cordoba

Old town of Cordoba

We spent the evening/night enjoying the lighted view of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba from the pedestrial promenade across River Guadaquivir, on the side  where our hotel was sited. Even after we left the bank of the river we could still see the Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba from the window of our room!

Night view of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba

Night view of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba

Stay

Our stay was Hesperia Córdoba a lovely hotel across Guadaquivir River facing Mesquita-Catedrais de Cordoba. We booked this hotel precisely for its view of Mesquita-Catedrais de Cordoba.

The cost of the double room was €69 per night. It did not include breakfast and parking charges onsite was €16.50. The reservation was done on booking.com.

Our double room was on the second level. It was large, clean and comfortable. The room did not came with kettle or microwave. But no worries, we had our own portable kettle/pot so we could make tea any time.

Large double room at Hesperia Córdoba

Large double room at Hesperia Córdoba

The bath room was clean, and large with shower and bathtub.

Ensuite toilet at Hesperia Córdoba

Ensuite toilet at Hesperia Córdoba

The cost of €69 per night for our room came with a view of the Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba. The room price was less expensive for those rooms with no view of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba. On arrival we felt that it was not necessary to have a room with a view because the pedestrian promenade just outside the hotel by the river offered a even more beautiful view of Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba.

Window view from our room

Window view from our room

Generally the best “feature” of Hesperia Córdoba was its location. It was within walking distance to the Roman bridge, Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba and the old town. It close proximity to the pedestrian walk  that offered a lovely view of the bridge and Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba was a great plus tpp.

Onsite parking was provided by the hotel at €16.50 per night but we did not use it at all. The roads immediately behind, beside and infront (to the right) of the hotel had free street parking. After parking we only needed to walk 50 m to the entrance of the hotel!

Accommodations : Cordoba

Booking.com

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