Thursday, 29 December 2016

I Went to Mass in a Mosque!



I've been away for over 5 weeks visiting Singapore, Australia & New Zealand so am trying to catch up with blogging as I have had very little access to Wi fi.

In October I was in Andalucía taking a tour to Antequera, Seville, Córdoba and Granada. I hadn't visited any of these places apart from a brief trip to the Alhambra in Granada about twenty years ago so was looking forward to new sights. 

When you're working trying to keep an eye on passenger making sure they don't slip behind & get lost, it's hard to take enough notice of your surroundings. You also can't hear everything the guide says & take decent photos so it's yet another place I need to visit again.

Our trip to Córdoba was on a Sunday so it was quite busy and it was also very hot. We had a guided tour of the Jewish quarter of Córdoba which was very interesting. Quaint little streets & not so crowded as a lot of the old towns you visit.

There are no Jews left in Córdoba now which is sad but the old synagogue has been beautifully restored & it is a lovely little place.







Córdoba was founded by the Romans between 169 and 152BC and during the period of the Roman Empire, Cordoba was one its most important capitals. Seneca the famous Roman stoic philosopher, statesman, orator and poet was born here. 


The Roman Empire began to decline in the 4th Century and in 711 the Muslims arrived and the city became part of the province of the Domasco Caliphate.

Muhammad Al-Ghafiqi was a renowned Muslim eye surgeon in the 12th century would you believe. He performed cataract surgery all those years ago, successfully!!!!


On 29 June the keys of the city were handed over to Ferdinand 111, the Castillian king and so began the Christian era of Córdoba.

Even though it was late in the season the place was fairly crowded probably due to the unusually warm weather for early October and as I said it was a Sunday.


I loved the entrance to this restaurant.


This was a quieter cafe.




This is the Street of Flowers because it's normally full of gorgeous geraniums  but the flowers had all died off in the hanging baskets sadly.


This house in the little plaza the street led to still had some lovely bougainvillea in flower.


The Mosque of Cordoba known as the Mezquita, was begun in 785 and according to Islamic tradition it is made up of three parts: the Minaret or Tower, the Saha or Patio of Ablutions and the Praying Room.

It remained in use until 1236 when the city was reconquered and in 1239 it became the Cathedral of the city. Sadly some of the original part of the Mosque was destroyed but thankfully much of it remains and the Mezquita is unique in being a Mosque Cathedral. In fact it is the only mosque kept in Spain and is one of the biggest in the world. It is around 22,400 sq metres, 175 north to south and 128 metres east to west.

The following are photos of the courtyard or patio to the Mezquita which was surprisingly cool despite the strong sunshine and the heat outside in the streets. Those architects knew a thing or two about design!





In the photograph below in the courtyard you can see the channels running from the circles where the orange trees are planted. There would have been water running down these channels which would have been extracted from a well now missing. These would have been the places that the Muslims performed their purifications. 



The Belltower



The photographs below are of the roofed galleries surrounding the courtyard.





As it was Sunday the interior of the Mezquita was closed to tourist visitors for the Masses to take place inside in the cathedral. I went to Mass and afterwards you are not supposed to use cameras on the way out. However I saw quite a few people taking photos so I grabbed my phone and clicked as I walked so they are not brilliant.

As the mosque was closed to the public it wasn't lit and I didn't have time to get out the camera so the photographs are poor and are limited to the mosque not the cathedral. Apologies! Next time I visit I'll go when it's open to the public and you are allowed to take photos then.

These columns and arches were built in the 10th Century and are just the ones you pass on the way to the cathedral. There was so much I didn't get to see so I have to go back!





It's an amazing building just a pity I didn't manage to use my camera. I'll have to go back again (good excuse) to get better photos. Luckily there were no people around to block the view which will happen when it's open to the public.

I didn't get a decent photo of the cathedral part after Mass sadly, I should have been a bit bolder and just got the camera out. It was lovely but a great contrast to the Mosque being of late Gothic design.


Entrance to the Mezquita and cathedral from the courtyard


View from outside the Mezquita looking into the courtyard


Outside the Mosque the tourist photographers were out in force.


This photograph is blurred because I was in such a rush to take it in case the police didn't want you taking photos of them. They were well armed but not in such great numbers as I saw in Paris. I suppose this is one place that could be at great risk being a cathedral inside a mosque.


More views of the exterior of the Mosque. 




Next time I go back I'll make sure I visit when the Mezquita is open so I can get some better pictures.

It's a lovely little city and I only saw a small part of it so I bought myself a book with beautiful photos. I don't usually do that nowadays as I have quite a few that I never look at. However I have been reading up on the city so I'll know what to look at when I go back.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Remembrance Sunday

    By Special Collections Toronto Public Library from Toronto, Canada (In Flanders' Fields) In Flanders fields the poppies blo...