Friday, January 11, 2008

Cordoba



Since we had three days we decided to also visit Cordoba, a bit further south, and halfway on the road to Granada. It's a bigger place than Toledo, and home to The mezquita, a huge mosque that was later converted into a catholic cathedral.



The old centre of Cordoba is also quite a labyrinth, and I had booked a hotel close to the Mezquita. I guess we were lucky to find it on our third try only, because it's very easy to get lost in that area (well, quite fun too). The hotel was lovely, I very much recommend it. And you can leave your car parked and just explore the city on foot.

Contrary to the fog and clouds we had got in Toledo, Cordoba was all about sunshine and the most amazing winter light. It is my favorite time of the year for taking photos, everything is so clear and crisp.





Our first visit the next morning was the mezquita. A useful tip we learnt quite by chance: if you arrive before 10:00 you can enter for free (except for tours and large gorups) and it's actually the best time because you don't get all the crowds. The dome was being renovated, but even with the works being done the mezquita is quite impressive.







After that we went to the nearby Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. You can climb up one of the towers for a nice view of the city, and the interior is worth a quick visit (especially the mosaics room) but it's the gardens that catch your eye.











Finally, before lunch and heading back home we stopped by the ruins of Madinat al-Zhara, located about 5km outside the city. It's an amazing site, and still there's so much to explore there (only about 10 percent of the site has been excavated).









We really enjoyed Toledo, but Cordoba took my breath away. It's now on my top list of favourite places in Spain, along with Granada, Segovia, Salamanca, Barcelona and Picos de Europa.

(By the way, thanks to everyone who recommended Aranjuez for this trip, I had planned to go but it was a bit out of the way and we decided to spend more time in Cordoba this time. It's on my list for next time though)

More photos here

6 comments:

Andi said...

Such beautiful pictures. They reminded me of Granada, which I absolutely loved. Next time I will try to visit Cordoba.

The Chatty Housewife- said...

Beautiful! I would love to go there. You take great photos.

Di said...

Wow - Cordoba took my breath away too - and that was due to the beautiful photos that you took - it's true there is nothing better than winter sunlight for taking atmospheric photos (well perhaps low cloud but that's a Scottish thing!)

Thank you for sharing - makes me want to go to Cordoba!!

Vivian Love said...

I love your pictures of Toledo and Granada and Cordoba. I used to live in Jaen (also in Aldalucia) and I'm going back in June. I have been to Granada and Cordoba and can't wait to get back! Thanks for sharing and your recommendations on places to stay and things to see. I am so excited to go!!!

PAULA PEREIRA said...

Olá
Vim fazer uma visitinha para ver as novidades e aproveito para desejar um bom fim de semana.

Paula

Emilee said...

Wow, that's so beautiful.