For the final post of my Alhambra photo-series we move from Granada to Cordoba and La Mezquita Catedral. Built on a site that was first a pagan temple then a Visigothic Christian church, the Umayyad mosque is regarded as one of the finest monuments of Islamic architecture.
After the Spanish Reconquista the building was converted into a Roman Catholic church. A cathedral building was built in the centre of the Islamic structure and this forms the source the anger mentioned in my first post of the series; I appreciate that one religion will always seek to erase or absorb the symbols and structures of another, hence the Islamic building being built on a former pagan and then Christian site. But to see the garish monstrosity of the Roman Catholic cathedral within the surroundings of the former mosque was to my mind appalling and nothing short of an act of vandalism. The minaret that once existed has also been replaced by a bell-tower which again sits somewhat jarringly within the context of the Islamic architectural surroundings.
Inside La Mesquita courtyard
The archways were bricked in after the Spanish Reconquista; they once would have been completely open allowing light to flood in to the interior of the structure and worshipers to move freely between the courtyard and the prayer hall.
Christian bell-tower at La Mezquita
One of the doorways on the perimeter of La Mezquita
Hypostyle hall in La Mezquita
Detail of the rich decoration surrounding the mihrab of La Mezquita
Highly ornate dome of the mihrab in La Mezquita
Islamic tile work in La Mezquita
Courtyard in the Jewish quarter of Cordoba
Pool and fountain in the Jewish quarter of Cordoba
There are many places in the world that one would wish to go but that one may never have the opportunity to do so: Persepolis, Sana’a, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan …
Fortunately for my wife and I one of the places we have considered visiting for some time, the Alhambra, can now be removed from the wish list; in September we spent a week in Granada, ostensibly to see the Alhambra, but we did also make the journey to Córdoba and to the Mezquita-Catedral.
This post forms the first of a series displaying a handful of the 600 or so photos that were taken on our visit. I shall begin with a couple of views of the Alhambra and of the surrounding area that was visible from the roof terrace of the wonderful apartment in which we stayed in Sacromonte; later posts will show some of the amazing tilework and architecture, the gardens, and a few shots of the Mezquita-Catedral in Cordoba, a truly inspiring site but one that left me feeling slightly angry and appalled (all shall be revealed!). So here we go, the first set of photographs:
A full view of the Alhambra looking across from Sacromonte
A close up view of the Alhambra looking at the Palace of Charles V and the tower within which is the The Hall of the Two Sisters (Sala de Dos Hermanas)
Looking down the valley from Sacromonte towards the centre of Granada and hills beyond
Looking up the valley from our roof terrace
Roof tops of Granada
I think that the next set will be of the tiles, the craftsmanship of which is astonishing and only bettered by the intricacy of the architecture in which I could happily sit and loose myself for many an hour.