Sunday, June 01, 2014

Edifice Complex

Had it not been for a prompt from good friend Sarah Turner we might not have made it to Cordoba. But for her glowing recommendation of the Mezquita, the Great Mosque of Cordoba, we might have ducked that little adventure and missed the mosque and, worse yet, missed the steak of a lifetime. More about that religious experience later.

And on the lamentable subject of the AWOL hard drive, the new cable arrived from Western Digital but to no avail. It’s not the cable, bunkie. Tomorrow I’ll have a local computer shop try to extract the files from the errant hard drive and, failing that, it will be overnighted to California for the lovely folks at Drive Savers to try to save the drive at the cost of $700 to $2,700. I am not smiling.

The Mezquita cum cathedral was worth the trip.  The mosque is considered to be one of the outstanding examples of Moorish architecture and is certainly spectacular. Muslims have been petitioning the Catholic Church to use it for services since 2000 but that request has been denied by Spain and the Vatican. Given the tourist hordes and their handy Euros I don’t see that changing ever.

This is hallowed ground if history proves such a thing.  A Roman temple initially occupied the site.  In fact, pieces of the temple were used to build the mosque’s 856 columns. From about 600 the building was shared equally by Muslims and Christians but when Abd al-Rahman I defeated Yusef al-Fihri, the governor of Andalus, he committed to build a temple to rival those of Bagdad, Damascus and Jerusalem. So starting in 784 al-Rahman and his successors spent a major fortune over two centuries converting the church into to a mosque. That effort came full circle as the mosque became part of the grand Cathedral of Cordoba in 1236 when the Spanish defeated Moors.
Religions have a thing about displays of opulence which I’m thinking is not quite what religion should be about. Still monuments to piety in all faiths impress.  Muslims demonstrate their faith inwardly.  The exteriors of their mosques are fairly plain affairs but when you get inside,  “Whoa Nelly!” in the words of the immortal Keith Jackson. Catholics get to display their importance both in and out.  I guess that means they win the edifice competition since the poor Muslims are limited to grand interior motifs.
That's not me. It's my stunt double.


Daryl A. Black said...

Love your stunt double! But your writing and history lesson this morning are both superb, and the photographs stunning. Knock your socks off columns and stripes. Whoa, Nellie is right!

Hopefully, your computer won't have to make a trip to California and you will be able to smile again.

Steve Immel said...

Thanks Daryl. At this moment it is reading and the files are being transferred to a new hard drive. Every minute is a gig or so. Fingers crossed believe me.