Our motorcycle travels continue west along the southern coast of Spain as we leave the city of Granada and make our way inland to the culturally colorful city of Córdoba.
During this blog post we covered 225 km (140 miles) of pavement from Granada to Córdoba.
The July temperatures were definitely getting hotter as we continued inland. Riding a motorcycle at 80 kph on the curvy roads is one way to beat the heat.
The green hills, orchards, and yellow grasses made for some great scenery.
We passed by the town of Alcalá la Real and the La Mota Fortress.
PRECAUCIÓN – Motorcycle safety billboards are unique to each country and this one has been around Spain for quite a long time.
We stopped for a short visit in Montoro, Spain…
…to walk among its streets…
…and to visit the Casa de las Conchas (House of Shells)
Both the exterior and interior of this home is decorated in millions of shells. It clearly is a labor of love, since each shell had to be carefully placed to create this unique home.
So many shells!
They charge a small fee (1€) for visiting the inside, but there was no one around when we arrived so we didn’t get to see the inside. You can see some photos at: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/casa-de-las-conchas
It is worth walking across the Puente de las Doncellas o de las Donadas to see the modern statues and the view of the town above.
The next day we enjoyed a walk around Cordoba to take in the sites and tour the amazing Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba.
Our first stop was to see the Plaza de la Corredera, with its…
…15th century construction and colorful orange painted arches…
…unique shops selling woven baskets, decorations, and…
…bull heads! Wouldn’t they look great on the front of our motorcycles?
Piggy banks for all kinds of income levels.
The inside courtyard was unusually free from tourists.
Just down the street is the Templo Romano, with reconstructed pillars. The site of this temple was not discovered until the 1950s when the city was creating an expansion project. The original Roman temple dates back to 41-54 AD.
Near the Torre De Calahorra is a colorful mural that…
…lists the Spanish names of local wildlife in the area.
The influence of the Roman Catholic Church within this region of Spain cannot be understated. Since the 1st century it had existed here and approximate 7/10 Spaniards identifying as Catholic.
The city is quite beautiful with many bright colors, painted tiles, and garden entrances.
Beautiful and bright paint and hand crafted doors.
Palm trees in all their beautiful varieties.
The Albolafia Water Mill was built in 9th century to bring water to Emir Abd al-Rahman II palace.
We came across this unique birch tree with leaves that were dark green on one side and chalky white on the other.
Looking back at the Mosque-Cathedral and Roman Bridge of Córdoba. This bridge dates back to the 1st century BCE.
The Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs was a nice place to get out of the July heat.
The impressive Hall of the Mosaics – a series of Roman mosaics, discovered underneath the Corredera. These must have taken specialized artists thousands of painstaking hours to make.
The gardens were the highlight of the Alcazar with their…
…fountains and reflecting pools…
…statues of Christian monarchy…
…and forged wrought iron details, all made the visit to Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs memorable.
What makes Córdoba so interesting is the history and diversity of the various religious institutions. Take for example…
…the synagogue in the historic edifice of the Jewish Quarter…
…was built in 1315 and was decorated according to the best Mudejar traditions.
After the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, all but this synagogue were destroyed.
It was restored and reopened in 1985 to celebrate the 850th anniversary of Maimonides birth.
We continued to walk among the streets and enjoy the garden views…
…and many courtyards that would surprise us around each corner.
Tendillas Square and the statue of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba.
Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
Tickets to the Mosque-Cathedral are for a specific time and we were not allowed to enter earlier despite the noticeable lack of tourism. The cost during our visit was 11€ each.
The gates opened at 4PM and we were allowed inside the courtyard along with about 15 other people.
Bell tower from the Court of Oranges, however we didn’t come to see the courtyard – We came to see the interior of this amazing architectural building and…
…see for ourselves the most accomplished monument of Moorish architecture built by the European Moors. The famous alternating red and white voussoirs were inspired by those in the Dome of the Rock and the Aachen Cathedral, which were built almost at the same time.
The incredible hypostyle hall with its 856 double arch columns that support the high ceiling of this inspiring structure.
The mihrab edifice, with its richly gilded prayer niche. Experts feel this is a masterpiece of architectural art, with geometric and flowing designs of plants throughout the design.
A simple stained glass window…
…casts its ever-changing light on dark tile floor below.
In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral.
Córdoba and the Mosque-Cathedral are definitely worth visiting if your journeys happen to take you through southern Spain.
Join us next blog post as we learn about the tradition and nationalism of Spanish-style bull fighting.
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