Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21, 2014 -- Córdoba, Spain

I try not to walk too much to give my injured left quadriceps a chance to heal, but I do want to see some of the sights, so I go out walking in the morning and return to the hostel in the early afternoon.

Today I spent my time exploring around the mosque/cathedral. As I wrote in an earlier entry, it is one of a number of mosques that was converted into a church after the Catholics drove the Moors out and reconquered Spain.

A notice put up by the church emphasizes that the building is a cathedral and the administrative headquarters of the Catholic Church for this region. When you buy tickets to tour it, you buy tickets for "the cathedral." However, it doesn't look like other Catholic cathedrals. It looks like the hybrid that it is, and everyone refers to it as la Mizquita, the Mosque. I haven't heard any of the locals call it "la Catedral."

In the following photo, it looks more like a church except for the orange grove in the foreground. An orange grove is the traditional entrance to a Spanish mosque where the faithful once cleansed themselves in the foumtaims before entering the building.

When you look more closely, you notice that the basic structure is that of a mosque.The decoration around the arch in the following photograph looks very Moorish as do the designs on either side of it. The Moors did not believe in depictions of human figures in their places of worship, so they decorated them with geometric designs.

In the days before drip irrigation systems and underground PVC pipes, the Moors came up with an ingenious way to irrigate the orange trees in the grove. The water that leaves the fountains enters a system of small channels that run through the grove. By openimg or closing small irrigation gates, the water can be directed to a row of trees.

Finally, here is a picture of the outside wall of the orange grove. In Moorish times, I imagine that all of those doors were open so that people could move freely in and out.

Tomorrow I plan to buy a ticket to go inside. From the photographs I have seen, I expect the interior to dazzle me.

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