Today we saw Cordoba from the top of the Torre de la Calahorra, the tower at the end of the Roman Bridge.
It wasn’t raining in the morning when we walked to the tower, but there was plenty of evidence that it was rainy and windy last night. This umbrella almost made it all the way to the river. No idea where Mary Poppins ended up.
This tree went down like a bowling pin.
The river was muddy and flowing fast.
It was a good day to spend indoors. The museum at the tower is different from most. It’s not about artifacts or paintings. Instead, it focuses on invention, architecture and ideas. On our day tour, we saw statues of Maimonides and Averroes, and today we heard their ideas, along with those of Alfonso the Wise, and Ibn Arabi. I won’t spend a lot of space here trying to summarize. Instead, I’ll let them speak for themselves.
Women have been prescribed the same ultimate goals as men. The Koran only distinguishes between those, men and women alike, who seek to follow God’s law, and those who do not. There is no other hierarchy among human beings.
Even though for Ibn Rushd the Holy Book is not our Torah, but the Koran, we are both in agreement on the relation between reason and revelation. They are both manifestations of one and the same divine truth. There is no contradiction unless one takes the Scriptures literally, forgetting their eternal meaning.
Alfonso the Wise:
Oh my Christ, who welcomes Christian, Jew and Moor, provided their faith is directed towards God.
“This is forbidden! This is permitted!,” the jurists tell us. But never expect them to tell you, “You are responsible for yourself.” Learn to think things through for yourself. This is what you’re reminded to do on every page of the Koran. If one were to listen to the jurists, relations between God and man would be nothing more than those of master and slave. Faith and philosophy begin where their arid laws end.
Those men come from Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions, but their ideas are remarkably similar. There was a long period in Cordoba when all three religions lived in harmony.
Next we saw examples of the inventions of medieval Cordoba. These are replicas of the surgical instruments of Abulcasis, who lived from 936 – 1013. Far from the barbaric doctors I imagine from the Middle Ages, he invented surgeries and treatments some of which are still used today. Follow the link on his name to be amazed by what this ancient surgeon was able to do.
Here’s an ancient astrolabe, used for navigation…
…and maps of the earth and the planets.
Much of the rest of the museum was about architecture, which was represented by models. Here is the Alhambra from the city of Grenada.
Though it’s a couple of hours away by bus, we may take a side trip there just to see this palace.
Here is the Mosque of Cordoba in miniature.
You can look through the arches of the model to see the inside, which is made up of hundreds of identical arches, just like the actual Mosque.
Along with these models are some more fanciful ones, especially pleasing to children like myself. I’ll just show one scene to give the general idea.
This is a closer look at the man flying in formation with the goose.
Finally, after climbing a narrow, winding staircase, we emerged outside at the top of the tower.
This is one of those little windows where defenders of the tower could use their weapons in relative safety. It’s called an arrow loop. I believe it’s the source of the modern day term, loop hole.
This is one of the river mills, with the mill race flowing strong from the rains.
Here’s the Roman bridge, with the city in the background.
In the distance, to the top left, is the park with pirate ship I mentioned in a previous post.
The museum at the Torre de la Calahorra is more abstract than most, but I enjoyed it. The statues of the great men of Cordoba mean much more when connected with their ideas.
Seems to have stopped raining, so we’re heading out soon to our favorite bar to watch the Barcelona Atletico Madrid game. Should be good…