After going through Andalucia and being back in Trujillo for a few days now, I think I’ve caught up on enough sleep to go over just how immense some of the historical sites were. Starting with the last place first, the Mezquita in Córdoba was a wonderful example of just how powerful the Catholic church was. Originally, it was a Hispano-Roman basilica that, in 784, had a mosque built on top of it after Muslims had invaded the peninsula and settled in. After a few centuries, it became the cathedral it is today during the Christian Reconquest of Spain in 1238. As for it showing the power of the church, that could easily be seen in the ornate decorations flaunting its wealth with massive altars made purely out of precious metals. Plus, the ingenuity of previous inhabitants was evident in that they adapted the arches to the pillars that were already there instead of tearing them down and building new, perfectly spaced and constructed ones.
Moving on to the Alhambra in Granada, it’s a similar story in terms of showing off power, but with better preserved heritage from its time during Muslim Spain. Originally the palace of the last Sultan, Boabdil, before he gave the keys to the Catholic King and Queen of Spain, it’s dripping with amazingly preserved culture as much of the architecture is still in pristine condition. Some of it, like the water system for the fountains, has been modernized, but it was an engineering marvel since the water source is at a lower elevation and the water is constantly flowing to ensure that it is pure for the Muslim inhabitants to wash themselves before praying. In the case of many of the stars or patterns found on the walls and ceilings, they are somehow divisible by 7 or found in groups of 7, a number of great significance in the Quran. Also, every piece of artwork has some flaw in it somewhere since it is believed that only Allah can be perfect. Similarly, our tour guide explained that artworks depicting people or animals outside of private spaces were not permitted since they had been created by god, and an attempt to replicate them was going against him since they are already believed to be perfect. Honestly, seeing the beliefs reflected in the architecture in that manner was probably my favorite part of the Alhambra because normally, in my experience, emphasis on culture being present in works is kept to poetry, songs, and paintings instead of the actual buildings themselves.