'An English Lady in Cordova - The Alternative Guide' describes my experiences of living as an immigrant in Cordova and the nearby village of Posadas. The experiences are mostly funny (and usually embarrassing!) but factual at the same time. I describe some of the most emblematic monuments in this World Heritage UNESCO city, as well as those of the surrounding villages. I also talk about the rich history of the area, the culture, geography and relate some of the legends of these fascinating places. There are about 320 pages with lots of pictures, half of them in colour. Please see the following for the summary.
An English Lady in Cordova is a humorous and factual introduction to Cordova and the surrounding Guadalquivir villages, told from the perspective of a seasoned immigrant.
The narrative is embellished by the author’s own amusing experiences, many of which are recollections of when she first arrived in the intimidatingly authentic province of Cordova, faced with a new way of life which she struggled to assimilate. She describes many emblematic sites and locations within this area, while paying homage to the rich culture and history of the irrepressible Cordobese and the beautiful land from which they hail. The descriptions are captured in the colourful illustrations that accompany the chapters.
The reader is transported from the Judería Jewish quarters at the heart of Cordova’s Old City, to the open countryside of Posadas’s village; then out west to Almodóvar del Río and Hornachuelos, and eastwards to Castro del Río, Zuheros and Priego.
In this intriguing and entertaining journey of time, culture and landscape, one is led along the paved Roman Via Augusta past noteworthy monuments, such as the Great Mosque of Córdoba, to watermills of Phoenician and Roman age that pepper the banks of the Guadalquivir. There are prehistoric dolmens, such as those in Posadas’ Sierrezuela, and ancient limestone quarries from which were hewn pillars for the famous monuments; mines that were exploited for silver, copper, zinc and gold also punctuate the timeless land.
The reader visits enchanted, reconquered castles, such as that of Almodóvar del Río (one of the best preserved in Andalusia), and investigates the tumble-down Moorish palaces of Abd-ar-Rahman’s Medina Azahara, which once marked the acme of the Al-Andalus Umayyad civilisation.
There is mention of the national park of the Bembézar-Hornachuelos area, known for its richness in rivers, lakes, fauna and flora, and that of Zuheros and Priego in the Subbética – where in this latter town, the reader also participates in the dramaturgical and emotive Holy Week processions.
Along the way, one passes mysterious convents, secretive sanctuaries and age-old hermitages that nestle in the folds of the Sierra Morena. Also in this holy category are the cursed, decaying remains of Santa María de los Ángeles monastery which lie under the path of the flying monk, as well as the holy arch of Posadas that miraculously answers the devotee’s supplication.
The chapters of this book echo the Latin-Moorish warm-blooded, exuberant and haphazard sentiments, flitting from humorous to serious, as the author describes her amusing but eager role in this vibrant, multi-coloured theatre. She explains her relationship with its idiosyncratic actors as she normalises into their way of life. She becomes yet another actress in their time-honoured, theatrical customs, engorging their Latin pride as she avidly listens and jots down their unique stories to later divulge these and the descriptions of the culture and timepieces, with the wider audience.
If you'd like to read some excerpts from this book, you can by visiting my blog: https://anenglishladyincordova.home.blog/