Leaving the mountains of Andalucía, we found the first “wetlands” of our trip. The land leveled out and the city of Córdoba rose before us. Here we visited two magnificent buildings: the Mezquita and Le Castillo des Reyos Cristianos (The Castle of Christian Kings).
The Mezquita—no picture we have can do this justice. It was a church in Visigoth times, turned into a mosque and returned to a cathedral. When you enter the cathedral, 850 red and blue columns surround you, a visual forest—too dark and too grand to capture in a photograph. At one time, archways opened to the Patio de los Naranjos let light pour in. When made into a cathedral, beautiful windows filled in the archway.In the far corner (facing south, which is unusual) is the Mihrab, the mosque equivalent of a high altar. Muslims faced the Mihrab, a fixture in all mosques, to worship. Ornate as all Arabic architecture, the photograph doesn’t capture the beauty of three thousand pounds of glass and enamel decorate it.
In the center of the room, sixteen columns were removed to make a chapel, fronted by the Royal Chapel—a burial place for kings—never opened to the public. However, Córdoba was kind, and the chapel is not entirely walled off. The dome and the walls can be glimpsed—stunning.
In the Tesoro (Treasury) is a HUGE monstrance—the Christians wanted something glorious enough to hold the body of Christ. During the Feast of Corpus Christi, sixty days after Easter, they still parade this through the town.
Then we come to the Cathedral itself. Glorious in gold and silver and carved mahogany.