andalucía: córdoba’s alcázar de los reyes cristianos

Wednesday, July 10:  The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Spanish for “Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs”), also known as the Alcázar of Córdoba, takes its name from the Arabic word القصر (Al-Qasr, meaning “the Palace”). The fortress was one of the primary residences for the Christian Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand.

It is designed in the Mudéjar style, which is a fusion of Moorish and Christian Gothic, and was the scene of famous historic events including the planning of the voyage of Columbus.

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

In 1236, Christian forces took Córdoba during the Reconquista.  In 1328, Alfonso XI of Castile began building the present day structure on part of the site for the old fortress.  Other parts of the Moorish Alcázar had been given as spoils to the bishop and nobles. Alfonso’s structure retained only part of the Moorish ruins but the structure appears Islamic since Alfonso used the Mudéjar style.

statue in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
statue in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
courtyard in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
courtyard in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
rooftops in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
rooftops in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Isabella and Ferdinand used the Alcázar for one of the first permanent tribunals of the Spanish Inquisition and as a headquarters for their campaign against the Nasrid dynasty in Granada, the last remaining Moorish kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula.  The Inquisition began using the Alcázar as one of its headquarters in 1482, converting much of it, including the Arab baths, into torture and interrogation chambers. The Inquisition maintained a tribunal here for three centuries.

skyline of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
skyline of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
gardens & pools of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
gardens & pools of the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
carved woodwork
carved woodwork
pools in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
pools in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
gardens in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
gardens in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Isabella and Ferdinand’s campaign against Granada succeeded in 1492. The same year, the monarchs met Christopher Columbus in the Alcázar as he prepared to take his first voyage to the Americas.

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
gardens
gardens

The Alcázar served as a garrison for Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops in 1810. In 1821, the Alcázar became a prison. Finally, the Spanish government made the Alcázar a tourist attraction and national monument in the 1950s.  (Wikipedia: Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos)

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
me at the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
me at the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
gardens in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
gardens in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
extensive gardens in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
extensive gardens in the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

It’s amazing to stroll around the grounds of such a place and think of the history that happened here.  Today, the place is swarming with tourists, but centuries ago, huge decisions were being made by Christian Kings and Queens about ridding the Iberian Peninsula of Muslims and other non-believers and about discovering riches in new lands.

I loved the Alcazar in Seville, but the heat on the day I visited was enough to put a damper on my enthusiasm.  This place with its long pools and gentle and soothing fountains, and numerous shade trees, is much more pleasant.  I’d say that this Alcazar, though it lacks the beautiful Islamic arches that Seville’s Alcazar has in abundance, is a very pleasing place indeed.

 

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12 thoughts on “andalucía: córdoba’s alcázar de los reyes cristianos

  1. I loved the Alcazar in Cordoba, Cathy. It was quite busy when we were there so my photos aren’t half so good.
    I just realised how many European posts you already have in your sidebar! You don’t mess about, girl. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Jo! I’ve tried to keep up as best as I could, but as you can see, I’m hopelessly behind. After all today is the 21st and I’ve only posted till the 10th!

      Oh, I miss you, Jo! It really was so wonderful to hang out with you for a few lovely days.🙂

      1. Bless you, that’s kind of you to say, Cathy. I wouldn’t mind a spell in Lisbon. I’ll come right over and police the shopping myself. (I feel so sorry for your wardrobe(s) at home! 🙂

      2. Haha, you’re so funny! I am a little overwhelmed with Lisbon and don’t even know what it is I’m supposed to see. I wandered around in the Alfama today; that was fun, but you know what? I’m really tired of seeing historical buildings at this point. I have an appointment with Fado tomorrow night though! Too bad you’re not here; it would be a lot more fun if you were!

      3. Rode the 28 tram today, Jo, saw Torre de Belem yesterday, saw the castle today and Alfama, made a reservation for tomorrow night at Clube de Fado. I’ve already had too many pastel de natas to count. I love those things!!! I guess I better go have some tomorrow for you and Mick. Another excuse to eat some more.🙂

      4. No, not yet, Jo, but I honestly haven’t stopped for gelato much since I left you. I’ve been gravitating toward the pastries instead. Now that you reminded me, though, I think I will have to search for some today!! Did you have any in Tavira after I left?

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