Cordoba & El Alhambra
The view above is of the Alhambra above the city of Grenada that serves as a good backdrop to this blog instalment. Since our last blog we have taken time off during the recent holiday period to visit both Cordoba and Grenada. Let's tell you something about what we have seen.
We took about 4 and a half hours to drive in a hire car from Valencia to Cordoba. Silvia did the driving and we were very impressed with the Spanish infrastructure, though not with the Fiat 500 car that was claimed to be an equivalent to a Ford Focus - but we will not go there. Some of the countryside reminded us of parts of Australia. The city is an ancient settlement that was quite a centre in Roman times. The bridge above was built by the Romans over 2,000yrs ago and is in remarkable condition. The ancient city is behind us and the fortification in the distance guarding access to the bridge was originally built by the Moors 1,000 yrs later and was extended and modified to create the small fortress we see in later medieval times. We had a tour of it and climbed to the top of it. It is now a museum to the three cultures that more or less happily co-existed (Christian, Jewish and Moslem) until the reconquest of Spain requiring all Christian and the later Spanish inquisition. There is a Jewish museum that covers this history.
Above is the view in the opposite direction of the old city as seen at night. The large church you see is the cathedral that was later constructed in the 1500s in the middle of what was the largest Mosque in the world when built in the late 900s.
This is a view of one side of the Mosque. It is quite an amazing building.
From there we went within the structure. It is quite vast and now a Catholic Church. Due to the entrance being free between 8:30am and 9:30am we arrived early to take these photos. I (Mark) remember seeing photos of both the Roman Bridge and Mosque in my encyclopaedia when at primary school.
This is one of the many streetscapes in the old city. It is very quaint with flowers hanging from walls. In summer it must be even more beautiful but full of people.
Cordoba also has an old castle where Spanish monarchs lived. It contains several original Roman stone mosaics that have been remounted on the walls of the grand hall of the castle. We climbed to the top of the battlements you see in the distance and walked around the beautiful largely original gardens. They would be even more striking in spring but very crowded.
This is another street view in the old Jewish quarter. The streets are very narrow and many take vehicle traffic. We watched one evening as a "medium" sized car had the force its way down one street with the tyres wedged between the sloping faces of the kerbs on each side of the street. The car was effectively driving on the walls of its tyres.
The picture above is of the original minaret to the Mosque that was converted into a bell tower to the when the Mosque was converted into a church. We climbed to the top which is about 12 storeys high. We had done a lot of climbing.
The next day we journeyed to Granada to see the Alhambra. This mountain fortress is actually a collection of palaces built by the Moors and then later "Christian" monarchs as well as a defensive castle structure. Above is part of the gardens of one of the palaces.
Above is an interior view of one of the Moorish palaces.
Above is the interior of the palace built, but was never completed for occupation by Spanish King Carlos the 5th in the 1500s due to a Moorish revolt in Granada which stopped its construction until the late Eighteenth century. It was considered to be of a very modern Baroque style for the time.
The real highlight was the Nadriz Palace itself. Above is one of the interiors showing the intricate work undertaken.
Above is another interior of the Alhambra which shows the "Courtyard of the Lions". Unfortunately restoration work was underway as can be seen on the right.
From the top of the original fortification you are greeted by this view of the old part of Granada (climate very similar to Canberra) as seen from the Alhambra. We later walked down to the old city (no, didn't climb) but took a taxi back.
After returning to Cordoba (2 hr drive) we took a tour the next day of the ruins of the Moorish capital city for the Iberian peninsula built from scratch outside Cordoba. Resourceful lot, those Moors, in that they diverted the old Roman aqueduct to Cordoba to supply running water the city.
Above is another view of the city ruins. The associated museum at the site was also full of very interesting artefacts recovered from the site.
This is a view just outside the medieval walls of Cordoba near the Jewish quarter.
This is a night view of one plaza in Cordoba.
Cordoba has a flamenco hall of fame. We stumbled upon it and this free performance. We gathered that these were students of this form of dancing and singing.
This Sunday we are off to the Circuit Assembly in Benidorm about 1 hour and 45 mins south of Valencia. We are travelling on the coach organised by the congregation. We'll give you an update on how that goes.