Bisagra Puerta Nueva
While I was walking towards the city, I saw a thermometer on one side of the road. It was showing 31degrees centigrade. It was hot by any standards (Irish standards, I mean). That road brought me to Puerta Bisagra Nueva.
There was a busy roundabout in front of the door. On right hand side of the road was a park. This door was built in the sixteenth century by Carlos V and Felipe II. There was a door from the Muslim era, which was next to the New Bisagra door and it is called Bab- e Saghra (Pious door).
Now road was going upwards and buses had to go uphill, their engines were roaring. There were few souvenir shops on my right hand side, most of them were selling swords and shields. Then I reached to higher grounds, there was a river and a car park was next to it. When I looked back, I had a beautiful view of the Puerta Bisagra, which was shining in the sunshine.
Puerta del Sol
There was another door in front of me, called Puerta del Sol. This door was built in the 13th century by the Knights Hospitaller as an entry point into the city through the city walls. The gateway is rectangular with a semi-circular top. The horseshoe arch entry is flanked by two towers. There are remains of a Paleochristian sarcophagus from the 4th century that lie in the middle of the blind arches. It has a relief with the cathedral's emblem emblazoned upon it, which represents the placing of San Idelfonso's cassock under the Sun and the Moon which has given the doorway its actual name.
The old Mosque of Toledo was on my right hand side but it was closed due to the Spanish siesta. I thought that I would come back later on to see the monument. After the Puerta del Sol, one small right goes on the left hand side and main goes straight ahead. I stayed on the right hand side. There was a small viewing area on the left hand side to overlook on that part of the city. And view was worth every minute one would spend there.
Special escalators of Toledo
There were escalators which were used to get access to the city from the ground. Because it was on a height so escalators were the best ways to reach the city, if one was coming from that side. The escalators have a total length of 100 metres distributed along six sections that cover a height difference of 36 metres. They are distributed in a zigzag pattern that allows them to adapt to the terrain as well as a feeling of vertigo from affecting users. An underground car park with 110 parking spaces was built at the foot of the escalators and an external space has been conditioned where tourist buses can stop and park.
Plaza de Zocodover
Then I went straight ahead to the Plaza de Zocodover, it seemed to be a busy place with the people. Many tourists were there. One of the reasons could be that small tourist train would start from there. It was called Zocotren or as most people would call it the tourist train. The one strange thing about that train was that it didn’t have tracks but the wheels. Some people would enjoy the ride but I thought it’s not something I would long for in Toledo.
This lively square is flanked by cafes that are prime places for people-watching. From 1465 until the 1960s Zocodover was the scene of the city's Tuesday market and successor to the Arab souq ad-dawab (livestock market), hence the name. It was also here that Toledanos for centuries enjoyed their bullfights or, morbidly, gathered to witness public burnings at the stake carried out by the Inquisition. All of them were the Muslims and the Jews. The southern side of the square is from the 17th century but McDonald got me worried. Had it been there for last three centuries as well (of course not). - The McDonald's certainly does not.
I decided to sit there for a while in order to absorb the environment. While I was there, small train passed beside me. Inside the train were happy campers who were shouting with joy whenever they passed anyone. All the city buses which was passing from there, had to work hard to reach the height of the city, I could see the Alcazar on far side of the street.
I had read that the Alcazar does not open on Mondays; I went there just to try my luck. To my surprise, it seemed open. I entered through the main door and there was a security guard in front of it and I asked him if Alcazar was open? He told me that it was indeed. When I asked for the ticket, he pointed to a window on the other side.
Then he said, before you buy a ticket, we need to scan your bag and you also need to pass through the scanner.
I thought it was unusual practice for a museum to scan people and their bags. Well, I didn’t want to stand there and change their operating procedures. I followed his instructions and came on the other side of the scanner. Out of curiosity, I asked the guard about the strict security checks? He told me that it was “just security”. Probably not the best answer, but I found it out later on that there were many weapons inside, including swords, guns, pistols and cannons. Having a good or strict security system in that place made lots of sense.
The guy at the ticket office was listening to my conversation with the guard. I asked the guy at the counter to give me a ticket? He handed me ticket, accompanied by a map of the Alcazar. The price for the ticket was €7.
On the highest hill in the city, 548 m, dominates the skyline solitary rectangular mass of Alcazar. It is one of the few free city buildings. The vestiges of the previous structures indicate that it was always a fortified place, from Roman Praetorium and defending the Muslim citadel. The present building was built by the Emperor Charles V. This is almost completely destroyed the previous medieval castle, although the eastern facade are crenelated structures.
Outside has large square towers at the corners, the north side are advanced and the southern edge flush modified by Juan de Herrera facade, topped by roofs and spiers of black slate. Yet, the new palace did not to be abode of kings, since long before completion, the capital was established in Madrid, but queens, queens exactly widows, retired from the court by the successors of their husbands. The building several fires, caused some, like, in 1710 during the War of Succession, being restored under the direction of Ventura Rodríguez, twice during the War of Independence in 1887, this time chance before its almost total destruction September 1936. Their reconstruction would begin in 1940, crowned in 1961 with the inauguration of the monument to the defenders of the Alcázar during the Civil War.
There was lots of staff inside the Alcazar to prevent people from taking the photographs.
Alcazar had also garden on the top. It had a good view of the city. At that level, buses and cars were parked there.
Siege of Alcazar
On 20th July, 1936, Colonel Jose Moscadaur took shelter in this castle alongside few rebels. There were also children and the women inside as well. Madrid called Moscadaur and told him to surrender but he refused. His son was shot but he refused to give in. The attackers placed mines on top of the castle and then they doused castle walls in petrol and set everything on fire. Then General Franco sent General Jose Varela to rescue the besiegers. Later Franco came to the city to commemorate the famous victory.
Then I decided to go to the Mezquita de la Cruz. While I was walking in the older part of the city and it was hard to locate the street, the mosque was in. It was still hot out there so I popped into a small corner shop to buy some water and soft drinks. While I was wondering around, I came across a church, which seemed to be installed over another building. It could be a possibility that old building used to be a mosque?
Then I asked a guy on the street about the direction. He told me that I was going in the wrong direction. So I needed to go back and turn left. After ten minutes, I was at one corner of the Calle Cristo de la Luz and mosque was on the other corner. While I was walking in the old part of the city, I had experienced some of the highlights of Toledo city. One of them was that streets were narrow and cars were snaking around in the area. It happened few times that a car would come and one would have to move closer to the wall in order to give enough space to the driver or enough space for one’s own safety. Second thing which I noticed was that there was always a house at the very end of the street, one could see from distance. Clearly, I wasn’t expecting that in Spain. The last thing which I came across was the style of the entry doors to the houses. Some of them had their medieval look and they were richly decorated.
While I was standing outside the building and admiring the beautiful building from outside. I was approached by a woman and she asked;
What kind of building is this?
This building was originally a mosque and church but now just a site, I replied.
Why it is here?
Her question was strange; maybe she was unable to understand the history of the city.
I told her that the mosque was built by the Muslims but later it was converted into a church. Now it is being served as a historical monument. She thanked me and left the building. It looked like that she didn’t like history as a subject in her school days or me being bad at history?
Then she came back with more people, either she went to tell them that she had found the place or she came back after thinking that I wasn’t that bad at history. After buying the ticket, I went inside. The moment I was inside, I was impressed by the beauty of that small mosque. The building had been used as cathedral in the past so there were few paintings on the wall and the ceilings. It is said that on the ceiling, El Greco had painted few of his master pieces.
Then I went across the building into a small courtyard. That area had trees and in the middle of the courtyard was a place for ablution. In one corner of the courtyard was an old sign about the layout of the building. It was decaying with rust after its purpose for few years. Then I sat at the one of the external walls of the mosque (boundary wall). Puerta del Sol was on my left hand side, which I had passed earlier.
History of the mosque
The mosque lies in area that has had natural gateway to the higher areas of the city of Toledo. The nearby door Valmardón (Bab al-Mardum), in the northern part of the Old Town. The Mosque used to be called as the Mosque of Bab al-Mardum.
The Islamic building is best known after its restoration in the early twentieth century. Square in plan, has nine domes arranged in three parallel aisles divided by four columns. On the southeast side of the qibla wall is located, but this along with the eastern façade have been severely altered after the construction of the church and then, after the restoration of 1909. The other two facades facing north and west respectively are monumental court and are richly decorated. By the inscription preserved in the western façade know that building dates from three hundred and ninety (13 December 999 / January 11, 1000), being the promoter of the work - Ahmad Ibn Hadidi - and architect - Musa Ibn Ali (though this translation has been widely questioned). Following the decision agreed Toledo by Alfonso VI in 1085, the Christian begins building stage and it was converted into a church.
Regarding the own building of the mosque, the exterior have been restored facades and the foundation inscription and, inside, has intervened only in the Islamic area, staunched fissures and cracks, where he proceeded to cleaning and consolidation of gypsum sheathing so The walls are perceived today, are the original tenth century.
Then I walked to the Puerta al Mardum or Bab al-Mardum, which was located next to the Mosque. This lovely door may be one of the places of Toledo has had more names in its long history. But currently accepted name official Gate Valmardón (from Arabic Bab al-Mardum which means door boarded up or condemned). Other names in the past were Balmardón, Valmadrón, Malbardón, Valmerdón, Door Butler Door de la Cruz, Puerta del Cristo de la Luz, or Agilana Ajilana door and door Aquilina.
Medievalist Excellent Valero Clara Delgado studied in depth finding that, contrary to what was believed, this door was not the main entrance to the medina but this function is exercised Mu'awiya bab (now known as Puerta del Sol). This hypothesis was reinforced by the very name of the door, indicating that this door was bricked up long enough to pass or convicted under that name from generation to generation. Its origin would be located around the ninth century and well what reason its construction or the date it was boarded up is not known. Probably in the beginning would have a much higher and certainly was compromised on an unknown date. The door was known in medieval times after the Reconquista Valmardón Gate was next to the slaughter houses belonging to Muslim population.
Now, I wanted to go the main cathedral of Toledo, it is said that cathedral was the place of the Grand Mosque (Jamai Mosque) of the city. I walked on Calle Comercio and then stayed left and cam inside a very small street, which was leading to the cathedral. In front of the building, there was a gypsy woman, she was busy in praying for people, which were passing buy (I hope money was her ultimate goal, not the prayers). Before I entered the door, I looked at the top of the small door. It had few signs there that it used to be a mosque.
When I went inside, there was a mass going on my left inside in a chapel. There were few people in that chapel and a priest was busy in his usual sermons. It was very dark inside the church and giving the fact that building was huge but it lacked sunlight, few small light bulbs were on but they didn’t help much. I came out of the building and looked at the map; I was trying to find out the main entrance of the church. Then, the gypsy woman pointed towards the right hand side. I thanked her but she wanted money now because she had helped me. My right hand went into my pocket and generously I gave her few coins. Then she started to walk with me and brought me to a corner (it’s only a corner, I can go myself, I want you to pray for me). Then she used hand signal for the right hand side and she went back to her favourite place of begging or praying.
Friendly American guy
I followed her instructions and took right; church’s wall was on my right hand side. Then someone asked me;
You must be looking for the main door of the cathedral?
Yes, I am. I replied with a surprise.
I am also looking for the main door, lets' go together, he said.
OK, that’s' fine, I replied.
By the way, I am from California, in the USA, where are you from?
I am from Ireland, I replied.
I knew it; you must be living in Dublin. He delivered a sucker punch, full of intelligence.
Yes, I do but how do you know (because I don’t look like any typical Irish person).
I knew from you accent, when you were talking to that lady (he meant gypsy woman with no English).
OK, that was a very good guess; I thought it would be nice to give him credit for his effort.
Originally, I am from Pakistan, I told him.
When he heard Pakistan, I could see clearly that the shine from his face was gone. I felt bad for the guy but it wasn’t my fault if I was from Pakistan?
You must have come to Ireland at very young age? He continued.
I was 21, when I moved to Ireland.
Well, you have been living long enough in Ireland; you would be Irish by now?
He was persistent that I should admit that I am truly Irish.
Well, you can say that Ireland is my adopted country.
Oh, I love Irish, they are the nicest bunch out there and I love Guinness beer more than anything.
That’s' very good, I kept my reply to minimum words.
I am sure, you drink Guinness?
I am sorry, I don’t drink beer.
I know, then you would be a whiskey lover, probably Jameson would be your favourite?
I don’t drink whiskey either.
(Now, it was American's turn to get surprised after my answers).
What do you drink then?
I don't drink at all. I told you that I am from Pakistan, I was brought up there and I never drank there, call it cultural thing or personal habit, I don’t drink.
Oh yeah, I forgot, that you are from Pakistan, he added.
Before that gentleman would continue with all the Irish drinks brand, I saw cathedral door on our right hand side. I though this torture was going to be over.
There were two security guards there who were telling people to join the queue because it was busy. Then the American guy turned to me.
Shall we go inside?
I’m sorry, I have changed my mind, I replied.
Why, you don’t want to go inside?
First of all, its' very busy there and it will take some times before we will get our tickets, secondly I have seen church from one side already, its' dark inside, I wouldn’t be able to take good photos inside. Thirdly, I am short on time. I still have few things to see.
You, Irish people are very intelligent nation, I am not going inside either, he declared.
Then he shook my hand and said that if he ever visited Ireland then he would meet me. I hope he wasn't going to visit Ireland or at least he wasn't going to find me.
I walked to the main facade of the church and took few photos and sat down on a bench for few moments to gather my thoughts.
About the building
It is Gothic in style, whose construction began in 1226, Ferdinand III reign and was completed in the fifteenth century, 1493, at the time of the Catholic Monarchs. The sacristy is a small museum filled with works of great painters, Goya, Morales, Van Dyck, Titian, Raphael ... and Greco, portraits of apostles, spoliation, curious with their garments of s. XVI . The door of the clock, which was the first to be built and the Lion Gate, the last, was made around 1460.
The one thing was becoming obvious that I was feeling very tired, I didn’t sleep very well last night and I had to drive to Cordoba in the Morning. I checked my notes; my next destination was a small mosque beside a pharmacy (as per my map).
I wanted to go Calle de Tornerías, along the way. I witnessed the life in Toledan style. Some of the people were sitting at their door steps and they were busy in crowd watching while others were just moving around probably trying to catch up with their daily routine after siesta. Then, I saw a big dog sitting in the street. I stopped for a moment because the dog looked very scary. When I gave him a detailed look, he dropped his ears. Now he was looking more like a cat rather than a big scary dog.
The Mosque of Tornerias
I checked my map but I was unable to get my bearing so I asked a young Spanish girl who was passing beside me. She explained me something in Spanish which I didn’t understand. I told her to slow down a little bit, she started to laugh. She put finger on the map to show me the location of the pharmacy and my current location. When I reached there, I could see an old wall, which belonged to the mosque but entry door was closed.
The Mezquita de las Tornerías (original Arabic name: al-Mustimim) is a former mosque in Toledo, Spain. It was built in the middle of the 11th century, after the example of the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz. It is now the seat of the arts and crafts centre Centro de Promoción de la Artesanía de Castilla-La Mancha.
I came to the plaza Zocodova and started to walk back to the hotel. I was going downhill and it was reasonably easy to walk and I came to Santiago del Arrabal, which I had passed earlier in the afternoon. It was next to the Bisagra Puerta Nueva. The tower of the church was built by the Muslim craftsmen after the city had fallen to the Christian invaders. It is believed that this tower is the oldest church tower in Spain. It has close resemblance to a mosque’s minaret but most like it was never a part of an old mosque.
When I reached the temperature display station, it was showing 27 degrees. It was still hot out there and I was exhausted. In Toledo, the pedestrian signal had a guy with a hat, he would turn green and it would make noise like tweety bird but when it would turn to yellow, it seemed that man on display was flying. The sound which inner city signals made was different than the one I am talking about. The inner city was more like police or ambulance siren type (compared with the Irish emergency services).
After coming to the hotel, I crashed on the bed, turned on TV but everything was in Spanish language. I switched off the TV and started to have a look at the room service dinner menu before I could decide; probably my eyes got closed because when I woke up at 3'o clock in the Morning. The menu was still sitting on my chest, which showed how tired I was?
I was starving; luckily I had bought few things from one of the shop yesterday because I was planning an early start to the day. I wanted to make a call to Pakistan because everyone back home had told me that I should contact them once I reached Spain. It was nothing to do with that Spain was going to be a dangerous country; it was more of precautionary measurement or parents’ usual care about their children, even though I wasn’t a child anymore. I know, it sounds crazy but that’s Asian culture's parenthood for you. I came to the lobby to use Wi-Fi and spoke to dad, who was a happy camper after hearing that I was fine. Then I went to the reception to speak to the girl behind the desk. .
Good Morning to you, sir, she replied. You woke up very early in the Morning, she asked.
Well, I wanted to make a telephone call and then I am travelling to Cordoba, I told her.
That’s' very early to go there, isn’t? She questioned my intentions.
Yes, you are right, but I have only one night to stay there so I want to be there as early as possible.
Oh, that is the case; she had an element of surprise in her voice this time.
How long it takes to reach Cordoba? I asked.
It takes around two and half hours to three hours, she replied.
Are you sure, according to my information, it was around 350kilometers, I am not sure if I could do this distance in two to three hours, I told her.
Well, Seville, which is further away than Cordoba takes around four hours. After this she stopped looking at the computer screen, now, she was looking directly at me.
What are you going to do in Cordoba? She asked.
I am trying to see and then write on the Muslim past in Spain.
Oh, well, Cordoba is an interesting city then, you will like it.
Oh thanks, what’s the most important thing to do there? I asked her a silly question.
Well, you are a researcher, then you should know the answer. She said with an interesting smile.
She cleaned bowled me (cricket term). Ok, but there is a problem, I am searching but I am not a re searcher, I tried to show her my wisdom.
I understand, I was only joking. I knew she was far from being clean bowled, she just went to a defensive stroke mode (sorry, cricket again).
Oh, I forgot to ask, I need more shampoo and shower gel please, the one in the room I had used yesterday.
No problem, I will drop up to your room in few minutes.
I thanked her and walked back to the room. After five minutes, I heard a knock on the door and she was there with stuff in her hands.
After getting ready, I brought my suitcase down in the lobby and went to the reception to settle my bill.
Oh, hello again. She replied.
Can I have my bill please, I asked her.
Ok, one moment please. She took my room number and after few moments she put the bill in front of me to check if it was ok?
I think there is a mistake in the bill, I told her.
What is the mistake?
You didn't add the car park charge?
I know, I have given it you for free, she replied with a smile.
Oh, thanks, that’s very nice of you.
You are working on our past so this is a little present from me.
Honestly, I was surprised, I wasn’t expecting complimentary car park but what surprised me was her answer about their past.
After settling the bill, I came to the underground car park and loaded the suitcase in the boot of the car. To drive out of the car park was a challenge because I had to drive uphill with a turn and top of that, the drive way was very narrow. I was more than happy to bring the car at the front of the hotel without any scratch. I entered the address of Cordoba in the GPS, glanced at my watch, which was showing 5:20am and turned the car towards the main road.
I reached a roundabout, there was no traffic there. So my instinct told me to go left. While I just turned the car in that direction, there was a motor cyclist coming from other side of the roundabout. He stopped there and gave me an angry look. I apologised to him, pressed emergency lights and looked back. There was no traffic behind me, came back to the start of the roundabout and stayed on the right (After sleeping in the hotel, I had forgotten that I had to drive on the right hand side). Sometimes it is easier to follow the main traffic whenever driving on the right hand side because there was no traffic on that particular roundabout, so automatically I went to the wrong direction but luckily, no damage done.
I came to another roundabout, but before I could reach the roundabout, I slowed down the car and had my last look at the magnificent city of Toledo, which was looking very quiet and peaceful in the lights. CM42 was coming from my left hand side I joined the motorway. It had speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour but I was only driving at 100km/h because I wanted to keep the car under control, it was dark and I was driving on unfamiliar road. Then I joined A42, which was coming from Madrid’s direction.
Drive to Cordoba
Then a very pleasant smell spread inside the car, it was all dark I was unable to see, I lowered the window of the car then that fragrance became stronger even. I slowed down a bit and what it appeared to be, there were small trees on my both sides, may be they were olive trees, I was unable to tell.
It was 7:15am, I was feeling bit sleepy so I thought it would be good to stop for a cup of tea. I saw a sign for a cafe, I parked the car in the car park but it was still closed. I took a turn and came back on the motorway once again, after driving for few minutes; I saw a sign for a petrol station. I wanted to fill the fuel tank of the car my own tank with tea (if applicable). I tried to dispense the diesel but the guy from the shop came over and he dispensed it for me, so it wasn't self-service petrol station. Then I went inside the shop to pay for the diesel and I asked him if there was tea available? He told me they only did was coffee. I didn’t want to have coffee without breakfast because it would be too strong for me (my apologies to the coffee lovers). I bought few snacks, cakes, biscuits, soft drinks and bottled water to carry with me for the rest of the day. I stopped the car on one side of the station and had few cookies. Now I could say that it had my breakfast already, when combining cookies and cakes.
When I came out of the petrol station, it was becoming little bit brighter. There were olive trees on both sides of the motorway. Now, I pushed the accelerator and hit the peed of 120km/h, till that point, I was driving around 100km/hour. I had passed town and villages along the way, including Mora, Villarta de San Juan, Manzanares and Valdepenas but the next one along the way was called Santa Cruz de Mudela. This village is located in the extreme southeast of Campo de Calatrava in the province of Ciudad Real. Almost all of the municipality is flat, although there are several small ranges of hills that are announcing the foothills of the Sierra Morena. According to the legend, after the famous Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, the Holy Cross was brought to this place and the settlement started. According to some historians, there had always been a settlement at that point even as early as Roman times.
Then just before the village of La Carolina, were plains of Las Navas de Tolosa, where the actual battle of Las Navas de Tolosa took place.
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
It is also called the Battle of Al-uqab, (July 16, 1212), major battle of the Christian Reconquista of Spain in which the Almohads were severely defeated by the combined armies of Castile, Aragon, Navarre, and Portugal.
Immobilized for several years by his crushing defeat at Alarcos (1195) at the hands of the Almohads, King Alfonso VIII of Castile gained the sympathy of the archbishop of Toledo, Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, who proceeded to stir up religious indignation at the Muslim victory over Christians. A proclamation of a Crusade was obtained from Pope Innocent III, which elicited further support from several French bishops, and, in the spring of 1212, contingents of French knights and Knights Templars began to converge on Toledo. After some delay, the Crusade set out southward on June 21, augmented by the armies of Aragon, Castile, and Portugal. Despite their success in taking two Muslim fortresses, the non-Spanish forces were soon discouraged by adverse climatic and living conditions and returned home. The armies of Navarre, however, were then recruited for the expedition.
Meanwhile, on June 22 the Almohad caliph Muhammad al-Na?ir had moved to Jaen, then the mountainous area around Baeza, intending to cut off the Christians at the plain of Las Navas de Tolosa. Soon after their arrival on July 12, the Christians took Castroferral with hopes of then reaching the Muslim encampment through the pass of La Llosa. The pass was heavily guarded, however, and it was through a local shepherd who directed the Christians to an alternate opening that they were able to reach the Muslim base. Alfonso himself led the Christians into battle and shattered the Almohad forces on July 16. Al-Na?ir fled, while Alfonso followed up his victory by immediately taking Baeza and Úbeda.
Christian Reconquista gathers momentum
After the battle the Christian religious and political leaders started to take cities from the Muslim one by one. The old great Andalusian citadels fell in a grand sweep: Mérida and Badajoz in 1230 (to Leon), Majorca in 1230 (to Aragon), Beja in 1234 (to Portugal), Cordoba in 1236 (to Castile),Valencia in 1238 (to Aragon), Niebla-Huelva in 1238 (to Leon), Silves in 1242 (to Portugal), Murcia in 1243 (to Castile), Jaén in 1246 (to Castile), Alicante in 1248 (to Castile), culminating in the fall of the greatest of Andalusian cities, the ex-Almohad capital of Seville, into Christian hands in 1248. Ferdinand III of Castile entered Seville as a conqueror on December 22, 1248.
Then I saw a sign for Almeria and Algeciras together over the motorway, the strange thing about the Algeciras sign was that it was also written in Arabic. Then I got off the motorway, by taking a small road on the right hand side, it brought me to a roundabout. There was an African guy, who was selling tissue papers and fragrance for the cars. He would come to each car and look at the driver if he or she was interested to buy them. I was the first driver on the red the light, so he came to me first but I apologised to him with the hand signal, then he went to the other cars, which were behind me but none of the occupants bought anything from him. I took left turn on the roundabout and followed the road which was going into the city, and then I stopped the car on one side of the road and entered the address of the Medinatul Zahra in the GPS.
Cordoba, a candle in a dark night
When I was driving through the city, I had noticed that the Spanish houses had flat roofs in design whereas most of the European cities would have them in the triangular shape. I came out of the city and took a small road on the right hand side which brought me to the car park of Medinatul Zahra. After parking the car, I walked into a small tunnel which brought me to the ticket desk. I was surprised to see that whole museum complex was underground. It was 10'o clock and they just opened the door. It had taken me little longer to reach Cordoba city but all the sacrifice of waking up early, and then driving at the slower speed speed was well worth it.
In October 2009, a new 30-million-euro interpretive centre was opened by the Junta de Andalucía, and finally the archaeological site is becoming a major Cordoba attraction, far more accessible and comprehensible to visitors. The sprawling, award-winning building is designed to make a minimal impact on the landscape and to reflect Medinatul Zahra motifs and materials. It houses research, educational, storage and administrative facilities.