Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir Day 7 of Tour in Spain - Malaga to Córdoba to Seville!

Dr. Eric Conway writes:
Day 7 in Spain - Malaga to Córdoba to Seville!

Hello everyone,  believe it or not, we only have four days left on our tour!  Yesterday, we left Malaga and headed to Córdoba and Seville.  After arriving in Córdoba and getting off the bus, we were met by a huge bridge constructed by the Romans adjacent to Córdoba called “El Puente Romano”.   

The main reason for us to visit Córdoba was to visit one of the largest structures in all of Spain - the Mezquita Catedral de Córdoba, which began as an impressive 10th century Arabian mosque, the third largest in the world!  If you have not yet received my common point in these emails, let me pronounce again. We on this tour have been amazed at how much Muslim culture has influenced Spain.    

Of course, we all know that Spain was part of the Roman Empire during first through fifth centuries.  We did not know that Muslims conquered and occupied Spain from roughly 500 - 1500 AD.  You cannot visit Andalusia, that is southern Spain, without seeing remnants of Muslim culture.  In general, Spain did not destroy Muslim culture.  They appreciated the beauty of the artistry and chose to build around existing Muslim structures.

Today we visited the Cathedral of Cordoba which was a converted Muslim Mosque.  Masses are still held in this structure today.  We were amazed that rather than destroying a conquered culture and erecting from scratch, the Spaniards recycled the structures and made Christian.   The mosque that we visited was first erected in 700 AD, originally with over one thousand columns in the structure, currently with 851 are still standing today.  Inside the Mosque is a addition of an enormous Catholic cathedral - so imagine the size of this structure to house a Cathedral! 

This entire structure is a confluence of so very different styles, it was utterly confusion - but beautiful.  At times one sees Muslim columns, and around the corner, one sees gothic Catholic stained glass.   See photos attached of this incredible structure.  Thousands were flocking to visit daily.  Our dedicated tour guide took no less than two hours to the history of the structure which I will do bore you with now.

After the tour, lunch was on our own.  Once again, we were exploring many type of new foods.  During lunch, I had ox tail (bull meat) for the first time.  It was quite tasty! See photo attached. 

As a professional musician, I have been very impressed with the quality of music heard on the streets from the local musicians.  While waiting outside the Cathedral to go to Seville, I heard a string duo, called Happy Strings, play some delightful tunes which were quite refreshing and relaxing to hear while waiting.  I recorded a few of the tunes on my phone and shared with you via YouTube.  See links below - worth your time to listen.

After we re-assembled, we were on our way to Sevilla, also in the province of Andalusia.   Sevilla, which lies on the Guadalquivir river, was a very important trade city.  In the 15th century, Sevilla was known as the Florence of Spain!  Seville thrived much like Florence during the Renaissance. 

Sevilla is also known for being known as the being the capital of Flamenco.  Although not originally on our itinerary, our guides, arranged for us to see a flamenco show in the city where Flamenco flourishes even today. Please see link below to the finale of the flamenco show seen by all who chose to spend thirty Euros to see the show.  Although we appreciated the footwork of the dancers and wanted to understand and experience a huge part of the Spanish culture, after some of us saw Samba in Brazil, and Tango in Argentina, we were genuinely not as entertained, although this could be that we have not a a moment to catch our breath and rest on this tour since we have arrived.  No complaints, why come to a foreign country to sleep?   

See photos attached. of our day in both Córdoba and Seville and YouTube links of musicians at the Cathedral.


P.S. I included a few of yesterday’s photos from the sand sculpture again.  In trying for you to see the entire display, the photos selected were not close enough to appreciate the detail of the sand sculpture.  Enjoy!

No comments: