Mezquitas, Cathedrals, and Synagogues oh my!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
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Trip End Dec 21, 2010


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Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ok so I've left you hanging for two weeks now and a lot has gone on, so I'm splitting these events up into two blog posts and have altered the date on this one.  Sorry it's taken me so long, but things have gotten busy and jam packed fast.

On Saturday Sidra, Jayme, Marcela, Kat, Kim, and I went to Cordoba.  We ended up running into another group from UPO and decided to go around together.  First we went to Alcazar de los Reyes Catolicos (The Palace of the Catholic King and Queen).  This was one of Ferdinand and Isabellas palaces, and it was this particular one that Christopher Colombus first asked the king to support his trip across the ocean.  The palace was cool, the view from the tower was awesome, but the gardens were spectacular. 

After the Alcazar we went to the main attraction of Cordoba- the Mezquita.  (Mezquita is mosque in Spanish.)   It's not really a mezquita anymore... a short history lesson will explain why:
Spain was an Islamic country for close to 700 years (not all of Spain was Islamic for the whole time, the last few hundred years include the Reconquista, the reconquest of Spain by the Christian kingdoms from the north of Spain).  Cordoba was the capital of Al-Andalus (the Islamic name of Spain... fun fact the name Spain comes from the Roman name Hispania, which means land of rabbits) so it has a lot of Arabic architecture throughout the city, including the mezquita.  When the Christians reconquest took Cordoba they changed the mosque into a cathedral (a typical move to show superiority and conquest).  However this place is one of a kind since they did not remove all of the Islamic characteristics, so it could still be considered a mosque, however the Catholic church forbids Muslims to use it as a place of worship today.  This mosque was one of the greatest in Al-Andalus because the Iberian caliph wanted to show that the Iberian peninsula was just as important, and possibly even better, than the capital in the Mid East.  The Christian Kingdoms finally ended Islamic rule in the peninsula in 1492 at Granada... the same year that Christopher Colombus found the Americas. 

The mezquita/cathedral was amazing.  This is one of the first times that I have seen arabic architecture/a mosque and it was so different.  There was so much detail in patterns and geometric designs, unlike the detail to figures and people that you find in churches and cathedrals.  It was so strange to see the usual figure of Jesus on the Cross but then turn around and see Arabic writing. 

To complete the tour of religions we decided to visit the Jewish quarter of Cordoba and see the old synagogue.  This one is no longer in use (at least I dont think it is).  Just like the mosque, I have never been in a synangogue before and didn't know what to expect.  This one was really small, and very white.  They also decorate things in geometric patterns mostly so that there are many pointed stars everywhere.  There was also some Hebrew writing on the walls. 
Overall it was a very interesting day and I really enjoyed learning all of the history behind Cordoba. 

When I got home I found out that two international students at PC had died in a car accident.  Even though I never knew them it was sad to hear about it since I am study abroad student. 

On Sunday I went to a market but didn't find anything.  Monday and Tuesday were filled with school and homework galore.  Wednesday we figured out how we were going to get from Milan to Rome and back.  I also went to a speed intercambio event which is like speed dating but with intercambios (Spanish students who want to speak more english in exchange for you wanting to speak more spanish)  It was a lot of fun to meet more Spaniards and to get to try and speak more Spanish.  One of the guys I met has British parents, and an aunt who lives in Alpharetta Ga with a cousin that goes to West Forsyth High School... this world gets smaller every day.  To end the crazy busy day I went on a walking tour around Sevilla as part of my history class.  He showed us parts of Seville that tourists don't usually see or learn about like pointing out where the wall used to be that surrounded Sevilla, some Roman columns that had been there since 200 BC, and the Jewish Quarter. 

On Thursday I started packing for my trip to Italy!  For lunch Ana made espinaca and garbanzos (spinach and garbanzos/chick peas), a very traditional Andalusian meal.  It also had an egg on top.  I think this is one of my favorite spanish meals along with paella.  :)

So I will end this post here and the next will be filled with roman adventures!  Be sure to look at the pics and comment!

\\//, Alice
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Comments

caroline parish on

Thank you for the history it is really interesting. Spain has certainly got a very interesting past. Love your photos as well. Looking forward to the next one:)

lacynoel
lacynoel on

Nice! Have I told you that I've heard that Arabic and Spanish share over 4,000 of the same or similar words. :)

aliceparish
aliceparish on

i can believe it. most spanish words that start with al (like almohada-pillow and alfombra-rug) come from arabic

caroline burch on

Oh I miss you! You look happy and I can't wait to see you soon!

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