The skyline of Córdoba is dominated by the Mezquita, a mosque built by the
Moors beginning in the 8th Century, and later converted to a cathedral by
Fortunately, and somewhat surprisingly, the Christians chose not to
obliterate the building's Arabic features during the conversion.
The Mezquita, therefore, is a unique amalgamation of two very different
The interior is vast and open, with row after row of columns and arches,
and acres of intricate geometric carvings.
In the middle of all this is an ornate 13th Century cathedral.
Muted lighting lends the mosque an atmosphere that is sacred and serene,
an atmosphere that was partially dispelled by a happy American toddler.
Moorish arches inside the Mezquita
Alex was convinced that the Mezquita was the church in which Roger and
Anita were married in Disney's 101 Dalmatians.
The sounds of his footsteps
echoed off the stone walls of the mosque as he darted around looking for a
place where he himself could get married. Finding neither the right spot,
nor the right spouse for that matter, Alex would leave the Mezquita as he
entered it, single and unattached. He remains America's (and Spain's) most
Alex had even more fun outside the Mezquita than he did inside. In the
Mezquita's courtyard, he fed pastry crumbs to a small flock of pigeons
until a little Spanish toddler came along and chased the birds away. He
was delighted to find an orange that had fallen from one of the many
orange trees in the courtyard. But the very best thing in Córdoba, at
least from Alex's perspective, was the wall that surrounds the outside of
Another picture of Alex on the wall of the Mezquita.
He really really really liked this wall.
Alex found this orange in the Mezquita's courtyard.
It's a wall that has stood for more than a millenium, built by people who
we presume are long dead. But the efforts and exertions of those bygone
laborers finally bore fruit in 1999, when the wall gave unbounded joy to a
little boy from a distant land. The wall is basically a wide platform that
wraps around all four sides of the mosque. Alex sat on the wall. He walked
on the wall. He found a big scary dead bug on the wall. He climbed up. He
climbed down. And after his mother bought him a toy guitar in a gift shop,
Alex sang on the wall. (His methodical rendition of Raffi's
Down by the Bay was the talk of the town!)
And whenever it was time to get off the wall, for a
meal, perhaps, or for bedtime, Alex would protest vigorously. As we said,
Alex loved that wall. He really really really loved that wall!