Here are some pictures from our walks in Córdoba. This beautiful city was a capital for both Roman and Moorish empires. During the time of the Moorish empire Córdoba was the center of a thriving and sophisticated culture. During the Dark Ages in Europe, Córdoba was a haven of enlightened thought-famous for religious tolerance, artistic expression, and dedication to philosophy and the sciences. (Rick Steves)
In the 9th century, many Christians embraced Islam, some for convenience, to bolster career prospects, or moved by genuine faith. After the invasion there were 20-30 thousands Muslims in an ocean of 5 million or more Christians. But, with time, the numbers were rapidly changing in the other direction. North African Muslims were steadily immigrating to Spain, but far more Spaniards were deserting Christianity for Islam. By 800 as many as 10 percent of Andalusians professed Islam. Within a century a majority of Andalusians would be Muslim: around the year 1000 – 80% of population of al-Andalus was Muslim. (Chris Lowney)
The flourishing Islamic society captivated even those who were not ready to give up their faith. Christians adopted Arabic dress and spoke Arabic.
The Umayyads maintained Spain’s cultural and commercial links with the Islamic world. Arabic remained the language of governance, prayer, and commerce, which facilitated interaction with the wider Islamic world and allowed access to its scholarly advanced. Devout Spanish Muslims made pilgrimage to Mecca. These journeys inevitably exposed them to new learning, fresh ideas, and business opportunities. Córdoba imported the best of these ideas, including Islam’s version of high culture. (Chris Lowney, A Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain)
If you would like to learn about bullfighting, Museo Taurino would be a good choice:
Manolete is one of the most famous bullfighters in Spanish history. He rose to prominence shortly after the Spanish Civil War and is considered by some to be the greatest bullfighter of all time. He died in August 1947 after killing the fifth bull that day. His death was an event that left Spain in a state of shock.
Here are two more famous Cordobans:
Mohamed Al Gafequi, physician and oculist. He was an expert in the operation of cataract and treatment of eye diseases. He was the author of a treatise on ophthalmology, called “Guide to the oculist,” whose original manuscript is preserved in the library of the Monastery of the Escorial.
Maimonides, a preeminent medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher and astronomer, became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. Born in Córdoba, he died in Egypt on December 12, 1204, whence his body was taken to the lower Galilee and buried in Tiberias. He worked as a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt.
This bridge was built by the Romans in the early 1st century BC.
The Via Augusta, which connected Rome to Cádiz, most likely passed through it. During the early Islamic domination the Muslim governor Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani ordered a bridge to be built on the ruins of what was left of the old Roman construction. In the Middle Ages, the bridge was reconstructed and expanded to its current size. The arches depict the famous Moorish architecture that dominates the city’s scenery. In the 17th century, a sculpture depicting St. Raphael was put in the mid of the bridge, executed by Bernabé Gómez del Río. (Thank you Wikipedia, what would I do without you!)
St. Raphael is the patron of the city of Cordoba.