A Day in Córdoba

Feb. 6, 2019, 9:17 a.m.

If you could have seen my mental image of Spain before I got here, it probably would have looked exactly like Córdoba.

Narrow pedestrian streets and alleyways, abundant clay tile roofs, and bright green flora decorating the exterior walls of every building. Oh, and also the sound of deep clanging chimes from the cathedral. If you were drooling over this scene like I was, this post is for you.

Though we only spent a day in this wonderful place, it left a lasting impression. Upon arrival in the city, our first stop was the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba.

Just like many other similar religious sites in Andalusia (Spain’s southern region), the mosque-cathedral first welcomes worshippers and visitors outside through its grand courtyard. Orange trees are everywhere here and there is no better example of that truth than places like these.

In case you’re wondering why I keep saying ‘mosque-cathedral,’ it is because this ginormous structure has been home to both. Though originally a mosque in the 8th century, a full cathedral was built right in the middle of it when Southern Spain was conquered by Christians in the 16th century.

Walking into the building feels like taking a stroll through a grove of stone trees with tall striped canopies.

This is one of the mosque’s many hypostyle halls. Yeah, I had to look up that word too. Basically the roof is being held up by these magnificent columns—and there are over 800 of them! Here you can certainly see the Moorish influence in the architecture of the mosque.

The glowing natural light draws visitors next into the cathedral. The ceilings heighten dramatically and Christian figures begin to emerge.

I was amazed at how the designers incorporated such intense details on the walls but still kept the main corridor feeling light and bright. Compared to the dark ambiance and low ceilings of the mosque, it almost feels as though you are stepping outside when you walk into the nave of the cathedral.

When our tour was finished, we found ourselves once again in the sunny courtyard. It was time to hit the streets—and find some tapas!

It's not hard to get lost in the beautiful maze of white buildings that make up so much of the old town. And if I'm honest, I can't say that I really ever wanted to be found.

It was almost painful to board the bus after less than 5 hours spent in such a place. We caught a look at the footbridge on our way in and out of the city. If—or should I say ‘when’—I return to Córdoba, I will definitely explore the bridge and what lies beyond.

This trip was just further confirmation to me that sometimes the best places to explore are the ones that were never even on your list in the first place. Traveling is all about jumping into an adventure that you may perhaps have no previous experience in at all.

Sometimes ‘the great unknown’ holds the greatest treasures of all.