Post-Nadal: Cordoba

The next stop on our Andalucian trip was Cordoba, a much smaller – but no less historically important – city between Granada and Seville.  For the tourist, Cordoba serves best as a stopover between cities: directly between the triangle of Madrid, Seville, and Granada.  Now only boasting a population of 325K, Cordoba was once the most populous city in all of Europe during the Middle Ages, and was known as “the intellectual center of Europe.”  In 2011 it is much sleepier, but for a few (and I mean few) tourist attractions.  The Mezquita dominates the historic town: an enormous 20,000-person Mosque that was converted into a cathedral after the Reconquista, containing an unmatched mixture of the two distinct architectural styles.  The Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos was the primary seat of the Spanish Inquisition and the palace from which Ferdinand (of Ferdinand and Isabel fame) planned his assault on the Moorish-held Alhambra.  And the utterly hilarious unfinished Puerta del Puente, an Arc-de-Triomphe-esque arch that was commissioned for a king’s arrival; however, the king arrived before the arch was completed, so all work was permanently terminated.  The city walls of Cordoba remain an integral part of the town’s layout, reminders of the incredible transformations that have occurred through the years.

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