La Mezquita in Cordoba, I wrote in a recent post, is a Christian cathedral emerging from the ribs of a Moorish mosque – and it is precisely this amalgam and emergence, this blending and superceding, that I find so infinitely absorbing and rewarding, such fertile soil for the kind of historical imagining and understanding that we need so badly in an age that seems, at least in its politics, so partisan and diminished, so limited and narrow.
In these images, Moorish arches frame and reveal Christian figures and motifs; different ages and tastes are overlaid; a place of worship becomes a human record.
And they interest me, these photographs, not merely as records, but as meditations of a sort. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
La Mezquita simply takes possession of old Cordoba: vast, sprawling, the Christian cathedral emerging from the ribs of the Moorish Mosque, its bulk and presence are unignorable.
It’s a good idea to circumnavigate before you enter: wander the surrounding streets, catch glimpses of the spire from narrow alleyways or see it from up high, from the old stone towers of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, to get a physical sense of its mass and antiquity – and then go in, to a fantasy world of pink and white columns, horseshoe arches, chapels and pulpits, tiles and paintings, silver and gold, light and shade, a timeless and yet particular blending of cultures, faiths, visions and religions.
To give you a sense (I hope) of place, of time and locality, here are some exteriors.