Reflections on a Journey: Andalucia Day 5 & 6
Our second day in Cordoba was a Friday, so we began by going to pray Juma’a. The main Mosque in present day Cordoba is a big step down from the original one, it can be found in Plaza de Colon, which is essentially a park, in central Cordoba about 15-20 minutes walk from the historic quarter. Below is a photo of the Mosque:
After prayer and a quick stop at Domino’s we went back to the historic quarter to check out the sights around the Mezquita. There is quite a fair bit to see, if you aim to stay in the vicinity of the Mezquita you should come across a fair number of sights. Two places worth checking out are Alcázar de los Reyes Cristiano, the Castle of the Christian Kings, and the old Synagogue, which is although rather small, has some nice stonework to admire. Close to the Synagogue is Casa de Andalucia, a building that attempts to resemble a house from the Islamic period, and also doubles up as a gift shop. It has some nice decorations, some Islamic souvenirs to take home, and even some decent books on Islam in Spanish. (Martin Lings’ Seerah seemed stood out for me).
The following day we traveled to Medina Azahara. A city built by Abdal Rahman III in the 10th century AD about 5km from Cordoba. So far only around a 10th of the entire city has been unearthed, and what remains today is a small taste of the grandeur of the place. Most of what remains are just ruins, though the throne room of the Caliph was bring restored when I went there, so unfortunately, like the courtyard of lions and I missed out on another masterpiece during my journey.
Entry to the ruins is free to EU citizens. You can buy tickets for the bus from one of the tourist offices around Cordoba, there are 2 a day. One in the afternoon and one in the morning. Don’t take the normal city bus there, as it will drop you miles away and you will have to make a steep climb upwards. A tour guide is not necessary as everything is pretty self explanatory.
To finish of of our time in Cordoba there was an annual flamenco festival where there are performances all around the city. After enjoying the main show in Plaza de Tendillas we set off to pray Isha. The previous evening sitting on the roof of our hostel we managed to hear the faint sound of the Athan, at first I thought maybe my subconscious was yearning to go back to a long forgotten time when it was commonly heard in the city. But after inquiring at a Moroccan tea house we discovered there was another Mosque in the city not too far from the original Grand Mosque. It can be found in Calleja de la Hoguera, the name of the Mosque was something along the lines of “University of Avicenna Islamic Centre” or something or other.
With a prayer we finished off our days in Andalucia, and set of on our journey to Morocco…