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Multicultural City: The Historic Centre of Cordoba

Cordoba lies in Andalusia, in southern Spain. It is a city rich in history, and dates back to Roman times. There is a Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir River. For 2000 years, people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds have set foot on it. After the end of the Roman Empire, Cordoba was ruled by the Christians in the 6th century AD. By the 8th century, Islamic power from North Africa began to gain force. Eventually, the city became its capital. It was during Islamic rule that Cordoba reached the height of its beauty, and was hailed as the jewel of the West. Labyrinth-like alleys here in the old part of the city reveal typical Islamic features. These patios are unique to Islamic architecture. They are decorated with flowers and plants. Water fountains and wells are another typical feature of a patio. Water and greenery were always sought-after by Muslims who lived in the arid stretches of the desert.

Mesquita, the largest Islamic mosque in Europe. A chamber dedicated to worship, with its forest of pillars. Massive double arches support the 850 columns. The shape of the arches are said to have been created based on Roman building techniques. The pillars were built in a variety of architectural styles. Deep inside the Mesquita lies the Merhab. Muslims prayed here in the direction of Mecca. The octagonal-shaped interior walls are decorated with exquisite relief of flowering grass motifs. Beyond the forest of pillars, a totally different view comes into sight, a Christian cathedral. In the 13th century, Cordoba was once again under Christian rule. There was a proposal to transform Mesquita into a Catholic Cathedral. But the people of Cordoba chose to keep the beauty of Mesquita. A mosque and a cathedral came to co-exist; it is on of the worlds leading examples of religious tolerance. Cordoba, a city offering an exotic fusion of cultures and religions to the world.

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