I’m still in Cordoba! Waking up on a Tuesday after a good relaxing night at a Hostal in the Old Town, I was pretty enthused to get exploring again. Why? Because it’s NOT a Monday! Everything closes on a Monday in Cordoba! So I could now visit the main sight I particularly wanted to see – The Castle of the Christian Monarchs. Or rather in the Spanish Name – Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. This mighty structure can be found if you follow the Guadalquivir River from the Mezquita, where I visited yesterday, and what a Castle!
Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Christian Monarchs, used this castle as a permanent base for their wars against the Moors in Southern Spain, particularly the Nasrid Dynasty in Grenada, and therefore it became known this. However, it’s not just the seat of a royal power, oh no, it was where the dreaded Spanish Inquisition used to conduct its tribunals, converting the Arabic baths into torture and interrogation chambers. This was truly a dark Christian Fortress.
However, thankfully, today, this is no longer the case. Since the 1950s, the fortress has been open to the public to enjoy the Gothic and Moorish Architecture complete with the water gardens inside and no longer bearing the scars of the Spanish Inquisition and the use of the Castle since then by Napoleon in the Iberian Peninsula Wars and a Prison in the 19th Century.
Paying an affordable entry ticket, the Two Bad Tourists and I explored this Castle high upon the towers, the battlements, the gardens, the passageways and more. Walking around, it really struck me that I was actually in Southern Spain. Everywhere around, as I gazed from the roof walkways, seemed to be in the midst of a desert with sand all round, palm trees dotted in places and the city small in stature and almost hidden from sight from this overpowering Fortress.
I bring you the pictures.
Sweet photos aren’t they?
Now, this Castle is also famous for a significant event that shaped the world. In 1492, The Christian Monarchs stood proud as they received a loyal subject before them who wanted to take a ship around the world and discover new lands. You’ve guessed it, Christopher Columbus. His wish got granted and funded by the Monarchs and there you have the single decision immortalized by a monument within the Castle.
So there you go! Our trip in Cordoba was over and done with. We returned back to the Hostal and grabbed some lunch before jumping back on the AISA Bus to our next destination in Andalusia.
Cordoba has impressed me despite its Monday Blues and for a city that doesn’t feature as heavily as other Spanish destinations, I would like to come back here again…but not on a Monday.
Did you go to the Castle of the Christian Monarchs? What did you think of it?