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[224] which I kept continually in view, until, passing the superb stone bridge of Alcolea, the turrets and domes of Cordova appeared in the horizon before me. A half an hour afterwards I entered the city, having ridden, between four o'clock and eleven, sixty-three miles. . . .

The epoch of the splendor of Cordova is, of course, between 755 and 1030. . . . .The remains of the luxury and magnificence of this grand epoch in the Moorish annals are not to be mistaken at Cordova. The ruins of the Palace of the Kings, where the Inquisition now stands, on the bank of the Guadalquivir, and one of the bridges, which, however, is partly of Roman architecture, would be considered very curious in any other part of the world; and, undoubtedly, we should everywhere find more distinct and more magnificent traces of this singular people, if they had not been so carefully obliterated by the conquerors when they entered, in the thirteenth century, and if the monuments, which even they spared and respected, had not been overturned by a tremendous earthquake in 1589.

One, however, still remains to us; and one, too, that so completely fills and satisfies the imagination, that a stranger at Cordova hardly regrets or remembers what he has lost. I mean the Cathedral, still in the popular language called the Mezquita, the grandest of all the monuments of Arabic architecture; for, between Bagdad and the Pillars of Hercules, nothing to be compared to it is to be found. Abderrahman I. began its construction in 786, and his two successors enriched and finished it. It is one of the largest churches in the world, five hundred and thirty-four feet long and three hundred and eighty-seven feet six inches wide, built of a fine stone, and forming nineteen naves, supported by eight hundred and fifty columns. The coup d'oeil, on entering, is magnificent. Nothing but St. Peter's equals it; not even the vast Gothic churches of the North, or the Cathedral of Milan; besides that it has the charm of entire novelty in its form, style, and tone. In all these it is still essentially and purely Arabic. The beauty of its marbles, the curious mixture of the Eastern, the Western, and the Northern styles in its architecture,—which has confounded the inquiries of the learned as to the origin of the style called Gothic,—and the minute delicacy and graceful lightness of its ornaments, combined with the grand effect produced by the whole imposing mass of the edifice, whose thousand columns make you feel as if you were in the labyrinths of a forest, altogether render it not only the first thing of its kind in the world, but one of the most curious of all the monuments of the wealth and power of man. . . . .

Until 1528 it remained precisely as when the Moors left it; and

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