The day after visiting the beautiful Alhambra, we headed to Córdoba to see the famous Mosque-Cathedral.
Córdoba itself was a very charming town. It has the traditional white buildings with the colorful accents. It was a great place to walk around and we enjoyed checking out the shops and restaurants. We ended up getting some delicious paella at a place near the mosque for lunch.
While we got the girls ready after lunch, Aaron ran ahead to get tickets for the Mosque-Cathedral. Luckily he did, because then he found out that the mosque was closing early due to it being right before Christmas (we went on the 23rd). He quickly found us and and told us that we only had about 45 minutes until it closed.
We all rushed to the Mosque and went right inside. We were lucky enough for a second time on our trip that it wasn’t crowded at all at this popular site.
The Mosque’s website claims that this is the most important monument of all of the Western Islamic world. The mosque was built in 785 AD and actually faces south instead of the traditional way of facing towards “Mecca”. It’s believed that due to the sandy river beds, it was impossible to have it built the orthodox way.
Inside the mosque are the well-known red and white horseshoe arches and double arches. This allowed them to have greater height within the hall and to also have better light.
The chambers on either side of the Mihrab are decorated with gold mosaics. These were gifted from the Byzantine Empire who sent over 1800 kg of gold to help complete the structure.
In the 16th century, Bishop Manrique got permission from the King of Spain to construct a cathedral inside the Great Mosque. It was built in the very center of the mosque and was completed in the 17th century.
We had a wonderful time wandering around the mosque-cathedral and admiring its beautiful architect both from the Moors and from the Spanish. Again, we were very lucky to first, get inside before it was closed and second, to have it be so empty during our visit. Our girls were able to walk around and appreciate the sights as much as we were.
We stayed as long as we could before the guards started asking people to leave and then we walked around outside and checked out all the beautiful doors of the mosque-cathedral.
From there, we walked down to the Roman bridge and visited a little museum that was originally a guard tower to enter the city. It had a great deal of history about when the Moors where in the area and also talked a bit about the Alhambra. Our girls had fallen asleep in the stroller by this time, but the museum would have been a great place for them to walk around. Many of the rooms had lit up displays and music and there were also little miniature replicas of both Alhambra and Cordoba.
While my mother and father in law took turns sitting outside with the girls, we were able to climb to the top of the tower and get a lovely view of the river and city.
- I’m so glad we were able to visit Cordoba! It was an amazing experience and one that I would happily repeat. That said, we got extremely lucky that we made it inside before it closed early. It’s definitely worth triple-checking the hours (and not just on google…). We saw several other tourists show up after the mosque-cathedral had already closed. 😦
- The town itself was great to explore, eat in, and shop in. Having less time at the mosque-cathedral allowed us to check out the charming city a bit more.
- Everything was pretty stroller friendly except for the guard tower museum on the bridge.
- There is a ton to do and see in Cordoba. An entire day could easily be spent here.