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IslamiCity > Travel > 2008 Summer Program to Spain

Cordoba, located alongside the Guadalquivir River, is an ancient city that has existed at least since Roman times. After the Muslim conquest of Iberia in 711, the Umayyad amirs made Cordoba the capital of al-Andalus. By the 10th century, Cordoba had become one of the greatest cities in the world, thanks to the efforts of the powerful and wise caliph Abd al-Rahman III.

Unrivaled throughout Europe, Cordoba boasted a population of close to one million inhabitants, with numerous districts and neighborhoods, hundreds of masjids, public baths, suqs (markets), mills, and palaces. Students, Muslim and non-Muslim, flocked to Cordoba for religious studies or to gain scientific knowledge available only in the lands of Islam.

A few kilometers outside the city, the ruins of the Umayyad caliphal city, known as Madinat al-Zahra, can be seen. The caliphate crumbled amid economic and military pressures in the early 11th century, leading to the rise of smaller kingdoms whose rulers sought to emulate the opulence and glory of Cordoba.

The Great Masjid of Cordoba is one of the most important monuments in the world, and one of the few remaining structures from the Muslim era still extant in Spain. We will visit the Mezquita (as it is called in Spanish), which was consecrated as a church in the 13th century when Cordoba was conquered by Spanish Christians from the north. In the 16th century, a Renaissance cathedral was built into the center of the masjid, by the order of Emperor Charles V, who later regretted his decision with the words: "You have destroyed something unique in the world with something that can be found anywhere."

The Umayyad palace known as the Alcazar, situated next to the masjid, is also worth visiting, with its structures and gardens. As we visit these sites, we will discuss the building techniques and history of the structures.

We will also visit the Jewish quarter, located close to the Mezquita, and one the synagogues that has survived over the centuries. 

We will also walk across the Roman bridge which traverses the Guadalquivir and discuss the agricultural technology and methods used by Andalusi Muslims.

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Islam in Spain 
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