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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

Cordoba: Where Muslims, Jews, and Christians Once Thrived Together

 

 

Very tight streets meandered throughout Cordoba. Charming, but also claustrophobic!

Very tight streets meandered throughout Cordoba. Charming, but also claustrophobic!

On a recent 2-month trip around Spain, I had the great pleasure of staying 4 nights in Cordoba. And even though its tight neighborhoods had me longing for wide open spaces, the whole experience gave me the big-world view of how Spain became Spain. Here’s what I found out:

  • Over the course of 2,000 years, Cordoba had been ruled by Romans, Visigoths, Jews, Moors, and Christians.
  • After the Moors took power in 711, Cordoba became the largest and most influential city in Europe, boasting 1 million inhabitants. Other large cities barely topped 50,000.
  • Cordoba5

    The Great Mosque, or Mezquita, dominates Cordoba and attracts tourists and photographers for this glorious interior

    The Great Mosque, or Mezquita, was built in the 10th

  • Cordoba attracted the brightest and most sophisticated people from around the world at that time. Commerce, education, and culture flourished. Leather, metal work, textiles, and glazed tiles were specialties.
  • Moors brought with them a wide variety of agricultural gems, such as oranges, lemons, limes, watermelons, figs, pomegranates, almonds, bananas, artichokes, eggplants, spinach, and sugar-cane.
  • Cordoba was the first city in Europe to have lighted streets and indoor plumbing.
  • Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures coexisted in harmony for centuries.
Beauty at every turn in the Mezquita

Beauty at every turn in the Mezquita

The dome is the Catholic Cathedral that was constructed smack dab in the center of the Mezquita. A Cathedral and Mosque combination.

The dome is the Catholic Cathedral that was constructed smack dab in the center of the Mezquita. A Cathedral and Mosque combination.

On the street outside the Mexquita

On the street outside the Mezquita

 

Cordoba13So what struck me the most – and was my Ah Ha moment – was that the Moorish/Muslim influence is the flavor that makes all of Spain different from other European countries. First of all, remnants of the tight windowless neighborhoods are still present in most villages in Spain, but with a twist. Yes, high adobe walls surround inner courtyards, reflecting Moroccan towns, but windows with balconies look out, mixing the European tradition.

Math and beauty in laying a road

Math and beauty in laying a road

Moorish rule in Spain also left behind the cultural flavor. Deep passion for intellectual pursuits across religious boundaries encouraged all. Cordoba was the epicenter of modern everything in the 10th Century, and the acceptance of all religions gave Spain that greatest of all gifts – freedom to be who you are.

Cordoba11

I love the organized chaos of this monument base, plus random growing things

 

Philosopher Ibn Rushd, born in Cordoba, translated Aristotle’s works while commenting on them. His works were treasured for 400 years by Muslims and Christians alike.

Moises Maimonides, Jewish philosopher and doctor, also wrote influential works in law and ethics.

In short, the Moorish influence in Spain runs deep, providing a most unique culture.

It felt so good to get outside the crush of the tiny streets and view this gorgeous city from afar at sunset

It felt so good to get outside the crush of the tiny streets and view this gorgeous city from afar at sunset

An angel gracing El Puente Romano Bridge

An angel gracing El Puente Romano Bridge

I’m so fortunate to travel the world. What it gives back to me is infinite — the sociological concepts and history, culture, beauty, and personalities. Thank you Cordoba!

 

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Wishing you safe and happy travels always and all ways,

~Josie~

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29 Responses to “Cordoba: Where Muslims, Jews, and Christians Once Thrived Together”

  1. Loved your post, Josie. Gorgeous photos! We’ve not yet been to Cordoba, but it will definitely be one of our must see places now.

    February 2, 2015 at 4:07 am Reply
    • Thanks Dianne! Hoping you do get to Cordoba, but you know, you can’t go wrong anywhere in Spain. Darn good place to experience!
      I appreciate your comment!
      Josie

      February 2, 2015 at 7:14 am Reply
  2. Great angle on those photos! Brings back memories of our last trip to Cordoba five years ago. Thanks.

    February 2, 2015 at 9:58 am Reply
    • Thanks Denis, and Welcome! I sure appreciate you noticing my photography. I try, I try!
      Wishing you safe and happy travels,
      Josie

      February 2, 2015 at 10:04 am Reply
  3. Cordoba is a marvellous city. Such a dramatic history. You captured it very well.

    February 2, 2015 at 10:24 am Reply
    • Thanks Ursala! I appreciate your very kind words.
      Josie

      February 2, 2015 at 10:34 am Reply
  4. Great photos of Cordoba! We visited it a couple years ago and loved it, especially learning about the history, and the time when the Christians, Muslims and Jews lived in a relatively tolerant society. I didn’t know that Cordoba was the first city in Europe to have lighted streets and indoor plumbing.
    Shelley recently posted..Eight Walks in the “Wild”My Profile

    February 2, 2015 at 2:23 pm Reply
    • Glad you loved Cordoba too, Shelley. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.
      Wishing you safe and happy travels,
      Josie

      February 2, 2015 at 5:28 pm Reply
  5. We’ll be starting our travels in Europe this May with the amazing country of Spain and your post on Cordoba has made me even more excited than I was before. For sure Cordoba will be front and center as its history and architecture are astounding and your photos make it come to life!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted..Capturing Cartagena in PhotosMy Profile

    February 2, 2015 at 4:17 pm Reply
    • Spain really has a very different vibe than the rest of Europe and Cordoba’s history explained why. I hope you have a wonderful time in this city and beyond. You certainly can’t go wrong with Spain!
      Wishing you safe and happy travels,
      Josie

      February 2, 2015 at 5:52 pm Reply
  6. Cordoba is a magnificent mix of cultures (such as the placement of a Roman Catholic Church inside a mosque).
    Loved your photos!

    February 2, 2015 at 4:21 pm Reply
    • Magnificent mix it is, Susan! — And Welcome! I so appreciate your kind words.
      Josie

      February 2, 2015 at 5:09 pm Reply
  7. What a beautiful and timely post about peaceful co-existence. I had a short visit to North Sulawesi and in the town of Bitung there’s great cooperation and shared security between the different religions. It’s not so in the Southern areas but our guide was proud of what they accomplished. Rightly so.
    Elaine J. Masters recently posted..Finite – Save Just One RhinoMy Profile

    February 2, 2015 at 5:10 pm Reply
    • Hi Elaine,
      I wish the meshing of cultures and religions still existed, but unfortunately we seem all too bent on destroying each other. So I hold onto the shining examples of the past — or in communities like Bitung around the world.
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
      Wishing you safe and happy travels,
      Josie

      February 2, 2015 at 5:57 pm Reply
  8. Hi Josie: Thx for introducing me to Cordoba! I love Spain and have visited several times, but knew nothing about Cordoba. I love how many cultures have helped shape the mosaic of Spain. Thhx for sharing.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..thinking about the Dominican RepublicMy Profile

    February 2, 2015 at 7:40 pm Reply
    • Hey Doreen,
      “The mosaic of Spain” — I love that! Thanks for your fun comment.
      Josie

      February 3, 2015 at 7:03 am Reply
  9. How amazing to visit a place where different religions co-existed. Wish the world were like that today!
    Irene S. Levine recently posted..Recipe for Tenerina Cake, a typical dessert from FerraraMy Profile

    February 2, 2015 at 9:17 pm Reply
    • Hi Irene,
      Oh, if only . . .

      February 3, 2015 at 7:04 am Reply
  10. The Moorish influence in Spain is so fascinating and vivid. We are looking forward to exploring this country on our first visit for TBEX this spring. Your photos of the mezquita are beautiful!
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru recently posted..Why You Should Visit KuantanMy Profile

    February 3, 2015 at 3:21 am Reply
    • Hey Betsy,
      So glad you are going to experience Spain — and Catalonia in particular. The hip and modern part of Europe is incredibly unique, and I just know you’re going to love it.
      Wishing you happy and safe travels,
      Josie

      February 3, 2015 at 7:11 am Reply
  11. I’ve never made it to Cordoba. I enjoyed your photos and really liked that stone pathway. So beautiful.
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers recently posted..Things to Do: shops, Solvang, CaliforniaMy Profile

    February 3, 2015 at 5:06 pm Reply
    • Hi Carole,
      I’m such a goof over those stone pathways — and any mosaic-type patterns. Thanks for your kind words!
      Josie

      February 3, 2015 at 7:51 pm Reply
  12. It’s fascinating how the beauty of all cultures blended and still remains here. Your photos are so lovely!

    February 4, 2015 at 12:48 am Reply
    • Thanks Marilyn! I appreciate your kind comments.
      Josie

      February 4, 2015 at 7:38 am Reply
  13. Donna Janke #

    Cordoba looks like a place I’d like to visit. I like your photos. You can certainly see the Moorish influence.

    February 10, 2015 at 12:18 pm Reply
  14. Cordoba was one place we missed when we were in Spain but after reading your post and admiring your stunning pictures, I think we will go there when we get back into Europe.
    It almost sounds like a utopia existed if only we could find that ability to coexist again.
    Michele recently posted..Manic Magical MarrakechMy Profile

    February 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm Reply
    • Thanks Michele, and welcome!
      A utopia, NO, but they lived, worked, and worshiped in the same city for 100 years or so without conflict. But definitely yes, I wish we could achieve that harmony.
      Josie

      February 10, 2015 at 6:03 pm Reply
  15. I’ve visited Spain several times, but I’ve never made it to Cordoba. I know it’s an oversight that must be remedied. Unfortunately, los Reyes Catolicos (Ferdinand and Isabela who financed Christopher Colombus), put an end to any religious tolerance in Spain.
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted..Cruise Report — Winter Escape on the Celebrity SilhouetteMy Profile

    March 13, 2015 at 5:46 am Reply
    • Hi Suzanne,
      That los Reyes Catolicos put an end to religious tolerance is a fact we should look squarely in the eye! Let me say that again — Catholics put an end to the religious tolerance that Muslims and Jews enjoyed for 100 years. I’m on the side of tolerance, period!
      Thanks for shining the spotlight, Suzanne.
      Regards,
      Josie

      March 13, 2015 at 7:54 am Reply

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