between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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Big Ol Mezquita

Posted by Andrew in SPAIN (January 19, 2007 at 11:46 pm)

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a belated welcome to ‘07 all

we spent our new years eve weekend in Cordoba, home of the MEZQUITA!!!
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It’s an enourmous Mosque that was built when the Muslims ruled the south of Spain. But wait, theres more..When the Catholics took back the town in the 1,200’s, they didnt tear down most of the mosques-they just made some alterations. In this case, they took out a huge section in the middle of the Mosque(Mezquita in espanol), and installed a giant cathedral.
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Its quite strange to walk though this thing, which has a very Muslim feeel, and then there goes a big Christian thing right in the middle.
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Either way, its very impressive. Theres been some controversy as the local Muslim community is asking if they can use the Mezquita/Cathedral to pray, but so far, no dice..

There was a big celebration in the main town square for NYeve. CIMG1500 post midnight chaos.jpg

The Spanish tradition is to eat 12 uvas(grapes) at the stroke of midnight, and these are your 12 wishes for the new year, or something like that. Its hard, as you have to eat 1 each second as the clock strikes 12, and for all you folks whove never left the USA–you might want to know–they dont have seedless grapes here(or for that matter anywhere outside the US). But we did it nonetheless, and we lived to tell the story.
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Cordoba has lots of other old stuff, as does this whole part of Spain, from Muslim rulers, Jewish communities, and even the good ol’ Roman Empire.
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The city is also famous for patios inside the buildings, and there are lots of plants all over the place, even in the o-so-harsh winters of southern spain.
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JESSICA SEZ: cordoba was grand. you gotta see the BIG OL MEZQUITA!!
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all over the place in spain we see references to “los reyes catolicos” - the Catholic King and Queen. it refers to isabel & ferdinand, the ones who bankrolled christopher columbus, completed the ‘reconquest’ (taking back control from the muslim kings), and established the spanish inquisition. cordoba’s mosque-come-cathedral is a place where you can feel the tension of these 2 histories. this is where they met and today you can see both parts.
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we also checked out the GORGEOUS arabic baths at cordoba. it’s more of a spa then a bathhouse, but who doesn’t like a SPA?? day 1 of 2007, we washed away all the gunk that had built up in 5 months of travel, and started out fresh and ready for more!
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ANDREW RETURNZ: Were back in granada now, Jessica is taking classes tambien. In a humorous bit of injustice, she was placed in a level lower than me, but after making short work of a few of the 15 tenses each verb has in Spanish, she will be joining my class on Monday. im guessing she will jump to the next level, pronto, anyday now.
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They dont really give presents for Christmas here in Spain, instead they have the tres reyes(3 kings–the magi who brought gifts to lil’ jesus), who come and give gifts to the yungins on January 6th. There was a huge parade on the 5th, which as you can see by this video, consists largely of hundreds of children dressed in period costumes, throwing hard candies at the crowd, who dive all over each other in attempts to get as much as possible.

Click here to see the action.

Meanwhile, click here to check out this article I wrote for In These Times Magazine on the controversy surrounding the giant dam recently built in Iceland. It was just published this month, and the magazine may be at a newsstand near you.

Ive also updated my personal website, and finally started posting audio files of some of my news stories. Check it out at www.andrewstelzer.com

were headed to Morocco for a few days next weekend..see you there!
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