Cordoba

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Cordoba

We got up rested and ready to make the most of Maundy Thursday by visiting one of Spain’s most unique and beautiful cities: Cordoba. It had been more than 15 years since I last set foot on the city’s streets, so I was very much looking forward to seeing how it had changed.

Plans always end up being delayed with the boys, but we did eventually get moving 😊😊 We got into the car, and in as little as 45 minutes we’d parked near the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos – the city’s fortress. We got in the queue to go in at about 1pm, but to our surprise the fortress was going to close only an hour later that day! (pff!) Nevertheless, we still had enough time to walk around the beautiful gardens there.

The Alcázar’s gardens are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful in all of Spain. We were especially fortunate to have been able to see them in bloom and full of color. We walked around the gardens for about half an hour, which obviously gave Noah ample opportunities to play in the water. He even jumped off the bridge there into the water which, if you’ve been following our travels in these articles, isn’t entirely out of character!

Family Travel Secret
The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos is a military building, which was constructed by Alfonso XI of Castille in 1328 in addition to other external fortifications.

When we left the Alcázar at about 2pm, we headed over to the Catedral Mezquita de Córdoba – a combination of a cathedral and mosque. Luck was on our side as the Mosque-Cathedral was going to close at 4pm (we arrived at 2:45pm), which gave us just over an hour to have a look around. We really enjoyed visiting this architectural masterpiece, which is truly a shining example of how two very different religions can live together side by side and coexist in harmony.

The Mosque-Cathedral is without a doubt an utterly unique building. There was no negative tension there: only the desire to accommodate the other religion’s unique characteristics. Poly-lobed arches, chapels dedicated to virgins and saints, filigrees and a fantastically ornate altar in the middle of the building – it really was an artistic marvel!

Family Travel Secret
The building started out as a mosque in 785 and was, at the time, the second-largest mosque in the world – beaten only by Mecca – until 1588, when the Blue Mosque of Istambul was built to be larger. In 1238, the mosque in Cordoba was converted into a cathedral following the Christian reconquest. To this day, the building is one of the most visited sites in Spain.

When we left the Mosque-Cathedral we had lunch and, after walking for only a short while, we arrived at the Calleja del Pañuelo (the Alley of the Handkerchief). It was really fun being in such a famously narrow place. The panoramic shot really gives perspective to how tight the alleyway actually is.

And if the Alley of the Handkerchief (calleja del panuelo) was packed with people, then the Calleja de las Flores (the Alley of the Flowers) was something else! You couldn’t enjoy even the slightest moment of peace: people kept coming and going, some stopping to pose for a photo. I guess this is what you might expect when you go to one of the most famous and visited places in Cordoba!

On my parents’ recommendation, we went to see the Christ of the Lanterns. We walked past Cordoba’s town hall, which has Roman columns surrounding it on the outside. After a little walk, we arrived in the middle of a secluded square where we were greeted by the symbolic image of Christ of the Lanterns. Walking through all the adjoining passageways was really interesting.

We gradually started to notice that a crowd had started to form, so we followed the hordes and ended up at the Roman Bridge. When we got there, we watched the evening sun light up the bridge with a beautiful glow.

Family Travel Secret
Not too far from Cordoba’s Roman bridge are 11 different medieval windmills on the Guadalquivir river, each with its own name.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, travelling back to a place you visited almost two decades ago can lead to an abrupt visit based on where you are and what you remember. However, I was quite surprised that all the little nooks and crannies that I visited back then had essentially kept their unique charm. As a family we’re generally easy to please, but we were blown away by Cordoba and its history, locals, atmosphere and warmth in a matter of minutes. Putting it simply, it is definitely worth losing yourself in Cordoba and letting yourself discover new things and fall in love with the city.

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