Picture Stories – Bird in Cordoba

Bird in Cordoba

The Great Mosque of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain

The Story Behind

This was taken during my visit to the Great Mosque of Cordoba in 2020. The Mosque-Cathedral (as it is also known) is a site of immense historical significance and had seen its glory days during the height of the Moorish conquest after the 8th century. In the 13th century, the mosque was converted into a cathedral after the Christian Reconquista of Spain.

At the time of my visit, I happened to be wandering around the courtyard just prior to my museum visit (Yes, it’s as much a museum as it is a functioning cathedral today – tickets can be purchased onsite or online). This picture was taken along the northeastern wall adjacent to the massive bell tower. The shadow that formed from the mid-afternoon sun against the Moorish arches served as an interesting framing element. As if on cue, one of the nearby pigeons strutted into the frame and here you have one of my most prized works.

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is a unique and beautiful building that is a testament to the rich history of Spain. The mosque is a must-see for any visitor to Cordoba, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bird in Cordoba, 2020

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What Makes this Moment Special

This “only once” moment was made possible due to a combination of factors – time of day, which played a role in the formation of shadows against the inner courtyard walls. Perhaps, most underrated and one which most professionals may not be willing to concede; sheer luck played a role as well in contributing to this amazing picture. The picture would not have been close to half as interesting were it not for the pigeon suddenly moving into the frame.

Getting There

Spain is blessed with a comprehensive network of high speed rail lines, so getting to Cordoba from nearly any major city in the country is a breeze. I departed from Sevilla Santa Justa station at about 9.10am and reached Cordoba in just under an hour.

The Great Mosque took me approximately 45 minutes (I took my sweet time) to reach by foot after a brief stopover at Jardines de la Victoria. I also had the opportunity to meander and wander around the narrow alleyways of the Old Jewish Quarter. 

Cordoba Station
Spanish national high speed rail operator Renfe.
I took the more scenic route via Jardines de la Victoria on my way to the Mosque-Cathedral

It’s not hard to find the Mosque-Cathedral really – you know you’re on the right track when you see the bell tower sticking out conspicuously above distant horizon. Remember to slow down and enjoy the sights along the way – the Old Town has plenty of surprises in store for the casual visitor as well.

Walk through the Old Jewish Quarter on your way to the Great Mosque
The Mosque-Cathedral's iconic bell tower can be seen in the background.

Things to See and Do

There are numerous alfresco eateries in the area where you can stop by for some beer and coffee, while indulging in people-watching.
One of the numerous courtyard gardens in the area.
One of many whitewashed buildings in the Old Jewish Quarter.
Residential building at the Old Jewish Quarter.
Find an array of art and souvenirs available for sale at a number of shops lining the streets around the Mosque-Cathedral
The old town offers the curious wanderer a treasure trove of surprises waiting to be discovered. You never now what might be just around the corner.
Standing atop the Roman Bridge (Puente Romano) and looking towards the Diocesan Library of Cordoba and Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs.

The two banks of the Guadalquivir River are connected by the Roman Bridge (Puente Romano), which dates back to the 1st century BC. The bridge had since been renovated and restored a number of times, bringing it to its current state. At the time of my visit, I spent some time on the bridge admiring the beauty of the river that it spans.

Caloharra Tower (Torre de la Caloharra) sits on the other end of the Roman Bridge (Puente Romano). The Mosque-Cathedral can be seen in the background, at the opposite bank of the Guadalquivir River.
Seen here is the bell tower from within the Mosque-Cathedral's courtyard. The bell tower was once the minaret of the former mosque complex and was converted to its current state after the Christian conquest of Cordoba.

Further Reading

About Picture Stories

Picture Stories is a series dedicated to visual-driven short-form documentary and storytelling where I share and recount my travel and photographic experiences – one picture at a time. If the world is my canvas, then the lens is my brush.

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