Two controversial religions, one beautiful place of worship. This is the Cathedral of Cordoba, or Mosquíto.
Today we ventured to Córdoba to see this architectural masterpiece. Although this week has been an eye opening experience into the world of coexisting, conflicting religions, for me, seeing this Cathedral was an accumulation of it all.
In Andalusia, the history of islamic influence is in every block, on every building, in every tree lining the streets. Orange trees have been seen in all the cities we have visited. Architecturally there are round horse shoe arches everywhere to be found.
This cathedral however was all of that, and more. When I walked through the doors, it was the quiet sanctuary that I imagined in my head a mosque to be. The darkness was captivating, cooling, and downright spiritually enriching. This was unlike any of the stained glass churches that I am used to. It was simple, but breathtaking.
As my eyes focused on more detail in the building, I could see the Christian influences hiding in the corners of ceilings, in the angelic faces that watched us. Everything that I had known about peace amongst religions was thrown out the window in that moment. How can such a beautiful building representing Catholicism and Islam, exist? And if it can exist, why is there so much eternal conflict between the two? All of these questiosns floated through my head as we began our tour of the Cathedral of Córdoba.
Our tour guide was once again, amazing. He was very patient with us and explained the questions we had about the catheral, or either of the religions for that matter.
My dad was eager to hear all about this specific tour, because he studied the cathedral in his art history class when he was in college. I thought that was really incredible, to know that something I was getting to see in 2015 was just as significant 40 years ago. Just as I told my father, for me the best aspect of this visit was not the cathedral itself, but what the cathedral meant because of its location. Although the inside of the cathedral was beautiful, it was not amazingly unique in a world full of large domes and gold leafed altars. The cathedral is beautiful because it is a representation of what coexisting should mean. Not fighting over who is right or wrong, but respecting the practices of each individual and what they believe.