Photos Cordoba Alcazar/Renaissance Gardens

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Fish pool in Alcazar de los Reyes Católicos - Córdoba

Photo by J. Entrenas - ©2005

Moorish gardens or renaissance? The complexity of Spain's cultural mix.

The Alcazar gardens are not, as some would like to believe, Moorish, but renaissance in style. While the Alcazar certainly has Moorish elements, because many of the artisans that built the castle and its patios were Mudejar, it is overall a 15th-century castle, once inhabited by the Kings of Castile. The romantic images we expect when we hear the Arabic name "Alcazar" instead of "Castle" leave many tourists disoriented when confronted with the complexity and subtlety of Spain's cultural mix. Moorish elements permeate the architecture, which nevertheless is something different from the purely Islamic, much like distant memories of the Moorish culture are present in the Spanish personality today. We sense that Spain is different from England, France, Germany and Italy, yet it is difficult for all but the most perceptive to say why. These fleeting sensations grow stronger or more frequent the farther one progresses south through Spain into the small towns and historic cities of Andalusia.

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©2005 Tony Reed