Wednesday we had a blessed break in the rain, and took advantage of the improved weather to visit the Alcazar, basically a castle with large gardens.  As you enter the Alcazar, you are greeted by this imposing king.

The site has a long history, starting with a gate to the Roman city.  After the Romans, the Visigoths built fortifications on top of the Roman constructions.  In the 9th century it was a fortress of the caliphate, and extended all the way to the river.  After the civil war from 1009 to 1031 caused the fall of the caliphate, most of the structures here were demolished.  In 1328, something like the current Alcazar was built, by King Alphonse XI.  though the castle has seen many changes through the years.  I think that’s Alphonse in the statue above.

It was the Alcazar where Columbus made his first request for funding from Isabella and Ferdinand, who lived here for many years.  At the end of the 15th century, the Alcazar was made the seat of the Spanish Inquisition.  During this time, living space was added for both the inquisitors and the prisoners, though the accommodations differed in some respects.

Today, inside the castle is a variety of art work, including these two statues I found notable since, unlike most, they’ve had their noses fixed, nose jobs in marble.

 

This is another view of Cordoba native son, Seneca.

 

Though this is a very old stone castle, some of the rooms are still opulent. This is the Oceanus Room, and looks like a judge’s chambers.  The seats are from the Cordoba city council from the 17th century.  The bust on the table is our old friend, the Gran Capitán.

 

The walls on the Mosaics Room are decorated with Roman mosaics recovered during excavations of the Correderra Plaza.

 

This is Polifemo and Galatea. The myth is that the cyclops Polifemo came upon the sea nymph Galatea embracing her lover, Acis.  Jealous Polifemo crushes Acis with a rock, but Acis is saved when Galatea changes him into an immortal river spirit like herself.

 

This is an entire, intact floor, likely once walked on by a Roman nobleman and his family.

 

Here is a depiction of Medusa, looking not so much deadly as pixyish.

 

After enjoying the art, we walked up the steps…

 

…to the ramparts.

 

 

 

Up here, the rooms are not opulent at all.  In fact, they look cold and lonely.

 

The central courtyard would have provided some relief from all the stone interiors…

 

…and far below, you can see the extensive gardens.

 

The gardens are lovely, even in this off-season, but I’ll save the details and pictures for another post.

I’m happy we made the best of our un-rainy day–looks like more rain is coming.