Treats for the victor! Since when did the spoils of war become so unpopular? I don’t know, but it is a question for the New Age.
Recently, the Understanding Family travelled to Cordoba, Spain for Semana Santa (Holy Week for you gringos). I had heard a lot about this small city for a long time. My mother first traveled there with my grandmother in the late 70s. Isabel and Ferdinand [herein after referred to as I&F] made it one of their on their itinerant quest for Catholic rule. Columbus asked I & F for financing for his trip to “India” here. Five hundred years plus might seem like a long time ago but really, the way I look at it, George Washington is to me as Isabel and Ferdinand are to him: pretty fresh history, all things considered.
Cordoba is also home to the Mezquita, a former Muslim mosque within which resides a Catholic cathedral. A crazy concept, I know, and one I wanted to see. Cordoba is a quaint city of approximately 300,000. The Mezquita dominates the tourism but there is a lot of other stuff to see: the Alcazar (arabic for fortress, where I&F resided) of the Catholic Kings and the oldest remaining synagogue in Spain (one of only three). Before I&F went on their long march towards the south, Spain had lived in a relatively peaceful triumvirate of religious tolerance. This is not meant to be a history lesson but let me tell you, history comes alive in Cordoba.
There were originally 900 pillars in the Mezquita. Now there are 864 or so (I am guessing the Cathedral architects ripped ’em out). The Cathedral, my favorite in Spain, is literally plunked down amongst a maze of red and white striped arches. Even if you were Santa Claus, you might get a bit confused by all that candy striping. My photos do not do this justice but either way you look at it, Muslim, Christian, it is amazing. To me, it is beautiful because it is both. It would not be nearly as interesting if it were just one thing.
Underneath it all is a Visigothic temple which the Muslims razed. Just what did the Visigoths build on top of?* And is this the end of the architectural pillaging? If we all have to go through the Gumdrop Mountains and the Peppermint Forest to get there, just maybe. You’ll find this princess, at least, living in the Candy Castle at the end of the road.
* I know this is a dangling preposition. Just let it be. Unless you can build a better sentence on top of it.