After having a rough week and struggling to find momentum to keep going I’m happy to say I’ve once again adjusted to Spain! I am feeling much more comfortable getting around Granada on my own and I’ve been learning interesting information in my classes. This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the cities of Sevilla and Cordoba. Although, the heat was excruciating I enjoyed touring the Alcazar of Seville which is the royal palace constructed by Moorish kings and after the Reconquista was expanded by Christians. As I walked through I was fascinated by the detailed architecture and I could see the Moorish influence around the palace. I loved walking through the magical gardens surrounded by fountains made of colorful tile. The Alcazar of Seville is one the of the oldest palaces in Europe still used by the royal family on special occasions.
While in Sevilla I also had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral which is largest Gothic Cathedral in the world! The architecture of this place was truly astonishing from the Orange Tree Courtyard, Jubilee Altar to the Chapter House. The Tomb of Christopher Columbus and the Giralda Tower and were two of my favorite monuments. Our tour guide explained to our group the controversy surrounding the remains of Colon from being moved from Dominican Republic to Cuba until they were finally left in Spain. Another fun thing I did was climb the 34 flights of stairs of the Giralda Tower which was definitely worth it once I saw the whole city view of Sevilla. Later in the afternoon, I had the chance to wander around the Plaza de España which is located in the Maria Luisa Park. The Plaza is made into a big half circle made of tiles and each wall represents all the provinces of Spain in alphabetical order. There are also small shelves beside each wall designed to hold books and serve as a little free library. Another fun fact a few scenes from the movie Star Wars were filmed here!
As I have stated in my past blogs I am currently taking the class, Islamic Culture therefore I have been learning about how Islamic culture has influenced Spain. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is a perfect example of how I am getting the opportunity to experience being in a place I have learned about in class. The history of the Mosque is quiet fascinating and I was so excited to see what I had learned about. Abd al-Rahman I built the original Mosque over the Basilica of San Vicente and Abd al-Rahman II was the first to enlarge it. Later Catholicism influenced the construction of chapels inside. Seeing the endless columns along with the Mihrab which shows the direction of the prayer are some of the most amazing structures I have ever seen, truly a work of art! These past few weeks have been going by way too fast and I’m a bit sad to be leaving soon. Nonetheless, I am enjoying every minute of it and am thankful to be living this experience!