…ancient capitol of a break-away caliphate.
…birthplace of famous poets, painters, bullfighters and guitar players.
…tucked away on a quiet bend of an ancient river.
…witness to history: Roman, Islamic, and Catholic conquest and collapse.
…a thousand years ago, the “Ornament of the World”
… rebirth as a modern, tiny gem.
My daily strolls around Cordoba provide plenty of photo opportunities for a guy who loves crumbling architecture in the form of cobblestone streets, rusty black iron balconies, terra cotta and ochre bricks, roof tiles and pavers, crumbling plaster, granite, limestone, and deep mahogany.
But it’s not all decay and crumbling glory. Cordoba is alive and well and vibrant. I’ll post the “proof of life” in a later entry. For now, please enjoy this look at a backstreet city a little less than well-cared-for. To me, every one of these fading facades represents opportunity and hope. In bars, restaurants and cafes, one gets the impression that Cordobés have reached a zen-like peace with the long decline of the once-mighty caliphate, and the violent contraction of the world dominance of the Royal Spanish colonial empire some 700 years later. In fact, one gets the impression that they couldn’t care less about their long, slow fall from glory. Not that they aren’t proud of their city, quite the contrary. It’s just that they seem to have a genetically embedded sense of the inevitable passing of time, the changing of fortunes, the falling and rising of empires and the ephemeral nature of the title “Ornament of the World”.