CoRDoBa: CiTY oF LiGHTS

>> Sunday, January 17, 2010



Artikel tentang kota Cordoba ini sebenarnya sudah lama aku tulis. Tujuan aku menulis artikel ini adalah untuk disiarkan di website sebuah persatuan pelajar Islam di Ireland. Akan tetapi, aku sendiri tidak pasti apa sudah jadi dengan website tersebut. Oleh itu, daripada terbuang begitu sahaja, lebih baik aku publish artikel ini di blog aku sendiri. Selamat membaca. Semoga artikel ini dapat memberi informasi yang berguna.

Cordoba is a city with one of the most extensive historical heritages in the world & was declared as one of 'UNESCO World Heritage Sites' in the year 1984. This city is located in the region of Andalusia, Spain. It was founded by the Romans. Then, it was settled by the Vandals and Visigoths until the arrival of Muslim Moors in the year 711.


Map showing the location of Cordoba in Spain

According to history, after the Umayyad Caliphate with Damascus as its capital city had been overthrown by Abbasid Caliphate with Baghdad as its capital city in the year 750, the continuity of the Umayyad Caliphate was carried on in the city of Cordoba with the arrival of Abdul Rahman I, the last prince of Umayyad Caliphate in this city. He was the only one who had survived from the mass murder of his family in Damascus. He then became the person who developed the city of Cordoba. He promised to himself to return the glory of his former empire in this city. Cordoba will be the great rival of the city of Baghdad.

In the 10th century, Cordoba had reached its golden age under the rule of 3 renowned rulers which are Abdul Rahman III (912-961), Al-Hakam II (961-976) and Al-Mansur (981-1002). Cordoba had become the capital city of Islamic Empire in Spain at that time and it was the second largest city in the continent of Europe, after Constantinople. The residents of Cordoba lived in proper houses made of bricks, while people in other part of Europe still lived in wooden houses and still suffered from the tensions from the Church and feudalism. There were also lamp posts alongside the roads making the city looked lively at night. In the city itself, there were 600 mosques, 900 bath houses, 50 hospitals & countless markets. The city nevertheless fell into the hands of Christian rulers in the year 1236.


Map showing Cordoba as the capital city of Islamic Empire in Spain

The most famous site in Cordoba is of course the magnificient Mezquita. Mezquita in Spanish means Mosque. It was indeed the most magnificent mosque in the history of Islam in Andalusia. It was erected during the era of Abdul Rahman I in the year 785, on the site where a church called St Vincent was once stood. Mezquita at that time was the second largest mosque in the world after Masjidil Haram in Mecca. After the era of Abdul Rahman I, other caliphs such as Abdul Rahman III & Al-Hakam II had made several increments to the mosque. Abdul Rahman III had made a new minaret, while Al-Hakam II had added more decorations on the mihrab. The last touch was done by Al-Mansur in 987.

However, starting from 1236, after the fall of Cordoba into the hands of Christian rulers, Mezquita’s function as a mosque had been changed into a church. In 16th century, the central part of this mosque was torn down for the construction of a new cathedral. The minaret also had been torn down for the construction of a new bell tower called Torre del Aminar. It is indeed very heartbreaking just to think of these whole stories. How easily this glorious mosque was disgraced with the construction of a cathedral in the middle of it which is actually still in use even until today by the Christian followers. Let us pray so that one day this glorious mosque will be returned back to its right owners, the Muslims.

The entrance ticket to get inside the mosque costs only 10 Euro. It is not that expensive. The interior of the mosque is absolutely stunning. The granite columns and the jasper and marble arches with the alternate red and white colour made the interior view looked so spectacular. There is also lots of calligraphy of Quranic verses inside the mosque which makes it more peaceful. It is sad however to realise that this beautiful mosque doesn’t belong to Muslims anymore after it had fallen into the hands of the Christian rulers and had been changed into a cathedral. Muslims these days are not permitted to pray inside the mosque though there are many petitions signed to allow Muslims to do so since many years ago.


Mezquita


Interior of Mezquita


Interior of Mezquita


Mihrab of Mezquita


The cathedral built inside Mezquita


The cathedral built inside Mezquita


Torre del Aminar of Mezquita

Not far from Mezquita is Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Initially, it was the Visigoths’ fortress. Following the conquest of Islam in Andalusia, a new palace was built here on the same spot & it became the palace of Muslim rulers in Cordoba. However, in the year 1386, few years after the fall of Cordoba into the hands of Christian rulers, Alfonsi XI destroyed almost half of the palace and built a new one by the order of a Christian ruler at that time. Around the end of 15th century, Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos was occupied by Ferdinand II and Isabella during their progress to conquer Granada from Muslim ruler named Abu Abdullah. Abu Abdullah was said to be imprisoned here when he was forced to hand over Granada to Ferdinand II and Isabella. In 1492, the year Granada fell into their hands, they met Christopher Columbus in this palace as he prepared to take his first voyage to the Americas.


Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos


Inside Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

A few meters from Mezquita, there is a bridge that stands crossing the Guadalquivir River, connecting Old Town and Torre de la Calahorra. This bridge actually had existed since the Roman Empire period. That is why it is called Roman Bridge. After the Roman Empire had ended, the bridge had been abandoned and finally it had collapsed. It was until the period of Abdul Rahman I, when he ordered the bridge to be rebuilt. Torre de la Calahorra was built in 14th century and was once a military tower. It is now functioning as a museum exhibiting the intellectual achievement of Muslims in Cordoba.


Roman Bridge & Mezquita


Roman Bridge & Torre de la Calahorra


Torre de la Calahorra

Another must visit site in Cordoba is Medina Az-Zahra, which is situated 5 kilometers from the city centre. It was the palace of Muslim rulers from the year 940 until 1010. It was built during the rule of Abdul Rahman III. In the year 1010, this palace was burnt down and destroyed by the Muslims from North Africa, the extremists who felt that Muslim rulers during those days were becoming too liberal. What remains today on the site is only 10% of the original palace. This palace was actually found in 1911, after had been forgotten for almost 900 years.


Medina Az-Zahra

So, those are a few things about Cordoba, the city that used to be the most advanced city in the whole Europe during its golden era. It is indeed a must-go city.

3 buah komen:

ahmad Mustapha Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 11:10:00 PM GMT+8  

Salam Jhaz. Mudah2an Cordoba:City of Lights termasuklah Granada dll bdr di Spain akan menjadi travelog kedua nnt.Sama2 kita doakan.

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