Aljama Mosque, Cordoba, Spain

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.

Continue reading

Come for the Rock, Stay for the People

IMG_0007For the next ten days, I am in Jordan, a nation of peace and refuge wedged in between a lot of Middle East belligerence and violence. At the end of my first day, I am relaxing with a fantastic Jordanian merlot, hoping to forget how stiff and sore I am from walking all day.

Continue reading

One City, Two Countries

DSCN0505For the last several days, I have been in Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus. Since the reunification of Berlin, Nicosia is the only city in the world that is divided between two nations. (Istanbul is divided between two continents but, unlike Nicosia, it is one big happy family). I am staying on the Greek side but close enough to the Turkish side that I can hear the call to prayer from the Mosque on the other side of the “green line” while I am listening to the chanting from the local Greek Orthodox church.

Continue reading