All along we planned to take one day trip from Sevilla to Córdoba and this was the day. We caught an early train, intending to use the travel time to plan our outing and for me to catch up on my travelogue and it worked perfectly.
The stroll into the centro historico was a short 20 minutes made pleasant by the narrow, green, manicured Victoria Park, with a slight jog over to the city wall and the sidewalks paved with small river stones turned on edge in herringbone and other more intricate patterns. We arrived at the puerta that leads to the Mezquita, a cathedral within a mosque built on top of a Visigoth church. The guidebook pictures give you no idea whatsoever of what you are going to experience. The famous double arches, their stripes of marble and brick seem to reach into infinity, the rather dark interior feels otherworldly the relatively low ceilings add to the mystery. Then you walk further into the center and the light begins to change, becomes brighter and brighter, the ceiling climbs from 30′ to 130′. The cathedral, smack in the middle of this forest of columns. It is truly a wow.
The way the building has been preserved shows the respect for all three of the religious sites that have shared the space over centuries.
Many of the remnants of the Visigoth church are displayed, including a section of the mosaic floor that you view through a section of glass floor as it sits well beneath the level of the current building. On top of the endless crucifixions, mournful faces of saints, Mary, and others, a special exhibit near the cathedral shows the martyrdom of a group of Jesuits in 16th century Japan. Seems Spanish Catholicism is especially soaked in violent imagery.
Nonetheless, we felt so lucky to see the Mezquita and walk this beautiful city. Had a great lunch, natch, in a typical Córdoba setting, a lovely restaurant that was built as if it were a 2-story patio, and feasted on fried anchovies, fried bacalau, and a typical dish of the city, an unctuous oxtail stew. Una experiencia muy linda en una ciudad muy bella.