Madinat Alzahara

Trip Start Sep 12, 2009
Trip End Oct 03, 2009

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Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

so today i guess is eid <muslim holiday< so celebrating
first visited the arab baths which are an excavation like a turkish hammam with stars in the roof... then took the half hour coach to madinat alzahara which is outside the city in the country
this was built in the 10th century as the new administrative capital of the kingdom and had housed the king, prime minister and seat of government... it only lasted 70 years before a sucesstion crisis caused a conflict where north african berbers ransacked and destroyed the place.. since then blocks were stolen and used for construction material.. with the retaining wall gone landslides would cause the city to become buried over time.. now it has been excavated and partially restored.. the throne room has been closed for two years due to renovations.. cordoba has been declared the capital of culture in 2016 so there is a lot of restoration work going on everywhere.. it was the capital of both roman spain and muslim spain and is a unesco world heritage site
after that visited the castle of the christian monarchs.. so called as it was built by the christians when they retook cordoba and was the base where the planned to take the rest of the muslim kingdoms and the discovery of america.. it was the original arab palace.. they kept the baths in the basement and built a traditional european castle on top.. the arab gardens were still kept
then went back to my moroccan restaurant. they serve the meals in a clay pot wiht a chimney.. today i had a medley of grilled lamb, rice, chips, and a big floury roti.. he also gave me complimentary tea...
lots of souvenir shopping.. you have to shop around as the prices vary depending on which side of the mosque u are and how close to the entrance.. the baby got two childrens books the story of granada and cordoba, although they show peoples bums in the arab baths so not child friendly illustrations! also got him a bean bag bull and a few things for me too
have not found charitos fan.. the cheap wooden ones are 2 euros but a nice hand painted one on fabric is 50 euros
the main mosque is famed for its forest of 1000 pillars that look like infinity, and two level horseshoe arches.. but i actually like the outside more.. imagine a walmart store and the outside all built like a stone fortress.. then there are doorways all around the fortress with engravings and artwork etched into the stone.. the original colours still exist and looks nice all lit up at  night too.. made a short movie i can post later too...
again hard to believe this is 1000 years old and cant think of many places in europe from that time period that... was reading also that when they built the cathedral inside the townspeople protested and threataned to kill the workers as they said the building was a special part of their heritage and they dont want it changed... when the king saw the cathedral for himself he was appaled at his decision to alter the mosque but the work had gone too far to finish it.
there was a 10th centry arab bath yesterday too.. its in someones house and i didnt know and i went upstairs coz it wasnt all closed off then the lady got all pissed and started yelling and slammed the door... not my fault.. lots of arab monuments around town
so cordoba and seville fell to the christians in the 13th century as well as gibraltar which was the vital supply line to north africa...  the only muslim portion that remained was the kingdom of granada which would exist for another 200 years
you really need 2-3 days to see cordoba proper
easy to lose yourself and forget that this is spain as in places it feels very arabic
morroccan music is popular and is played in the evenings
they have all the arab handcrafts, hookah pipes, copper tea sets, arab clothing
they have tshirts that say cordoba in arab and english but the arab spelling is wrong they just use a bunch of arab letters
still havent found good selection of spanish music, they are just selling flamenco or guitar... the ones i heard had celtic, bagpipes, medieval choirs, arabic, clapping
want to find something with a traditional mix like that

weather has been hot today, 32
forecast for granada and gibraltar next is high 20s
those two are set in mountains so my shins will feel it again
oh well, one last walk around the mosque at nite
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