Yesterday, I took the fast train from Madrid to Cordoba in Spain’s Andalusian south. About 1400 years ago, Muslims arrived here from the Middle East. They made beautiful Cordoba the capital of their western empire and built the Aljama Mosque as a tribute to their religious beliefs and their political power. By 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella (think Christopher Columbus) began the violent expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, as well as members of the well-established Jewish community, which had been in Spain before the birth of Jesus.
The Catholics turned the Mezquita, as it’s called here, into a church, with a nave, a pipe organ, and hundreds of “graven images” that would be prohibited by Islam. The magnificent structure is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognized as one of Spain’s most important historical sites. The photo shows the morning light casting a rainbow of colors from one of the church’s stained glass windows on to columns of the original mosque.