Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We took Ben to Cordoba to see a former mosque turned into a cathedral for Ferdinand and Isabel, kings of Spain in the late 1400’s. The light airy Arabic architecture had been slightly hidden been the overpowering northern European heavy stone style, where modifications had been made. However, several niches were left unoccupied, no doubt waiting for worthy (rich, famous, handsome, and enchanting) individuals?????

The Arabs used light, well-chosen materials, and several tricks to give a light feel to this very big mosque: slightly bulging columns, stylish capitals, pointy arches, repetitive, well-spaced members, stripes and colors among other things. High ceilings and well-placed sky-lights added to produce a great effect.

The changes made by the Spanish conquerors produce an almost heavy effect to the building, filling in arches, large massive monuments to by-gone heroes, and burial crypts for all the rich and famous. Still, it was easy to imagine thousands of devout Muslims standing, bowing and kneeling as they chanted their “sala” five times a day.

The adjacent “kings gardens” were absolutely beautiful, and very tranquil. We just sat and watched for quite a while.

Spaced out in the garden were different statues, well-groomed trees and bushes, as well as other attractions. My favorite was Columbus with Ferdinand and Isabel, seen here. It was the same F & I who finally subdued the Arabic/North African kingdom in the south of Spain the same year that Columbus sailed to the new world.

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