It is very likely that future historians and linguistics from the next millennium will study our beautiful Spanish language, transformed in the odd melange with English that is become popular these days, and result to some conclusions. First, that the English was the hegemonic language in the world during those days. Most technological changes and advances have adopted English words and then these newly coined words have ended up in our dictionaries.
There is a bit of a confusion when dealing with Spain during the Islamic years. These terms are clear only to a small percentage of well read people. It is however confusing for the rest of us, common folk, who have not the required knowledge nor the time to learn seven centuries of our history.
Michel de Nostradamus (1503-1566) was a doctor, a theologian, an astrologer, a mathematician and an alchemist. This character has been for years subject of great study. His prophecies as well as his own persona has stirred the imagination and curiosity of many academics in search of the truth about the man and the key to our future. An enigmatic and systematically ambiguous character.
In Rome, in the Southeast of the city, South from the Aventino Hill, there is a small, a lesser hill, that is commonly known as Mount Testaccio. It is a unique and peculiar construction that tells us a lot about the type of relationship Rome had with a part of its Empire: Hispania.
A few weeks ago in another article I mentioned how important had water been throughout Córdoba’s history, pointing out how this city is one of the few that offers free drinkable water in public spaces in Europe. Today we are overwhelmed in celebration for a new museum has open its doors with the aim of exploring and studying the influence of Water in the city, how did its inhabitants managed this natural resource so that there was not a lack of it at home.
It is known by many by the king of all lighthouses or the “Versailles” of the Sea. We are referring to the guardian of the Gironde estuary, the oldest lighthouse in France and the first one to be classified as a historical monument, in 1862 along with the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
Eduardo Zamacois is often known as being part of a long Spanish family line of artists, even though he was born in Cuba –he would since that day onward have two nationalities–. Zamacois was a prolific writer who particularly enjoyed writing erotic literature. In 1899, the writer, editor and journalist was 25 years old; 55 in 1927 and more the 60 when he went into exile. He would come back home at the age of 100 but inside a wooden box.
Eight was a very recurrent number in Al-Andalous (the Muslim Spain) and particularly important in the city of Córdoba. Jorge Luis Borges in his short tale “The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim” wrote: “Al-Mu’tasim (the eighth son of the Abbasid dynasty who was victorious in eight battles, who had eight sons and eight daughters, who left eight thousand slaves and ruled for eight years, each one with eight moons and eight days)”.
We find the number eight in many symbols. The Seal of Solomon is a symbol of great importance for a good deal of civilizations. This star replicates throughout the world. It is said, for instance, that the Tartessos (an ancient an mythical civilization located in the South West of the actual Andalusia) used this symbol.
Where does this strange and popular letter come from? Well, surprisingly the story begun in Córdoba, or should I say the Córdoba Caliphate. The term “arroba” comes from the Arab الربع (ar-rubʿ) which means the quarter of something (¼) and was widely used in Spain around the IXth century, one unit was equivalent to 25 pounds, in other words one unit was equivalent to one quarter of a quintal or centner: 11,5 kilograms.
Once upon a time there was a major in Córdoba that changed the face of the city forever and he did that in just 15 months. Domingo Badía y Leblich (Barcelona, 1st of April of 1767 – Damascus, 1818) was a true adventurer; fearless like no other he lived a thrilling life. He was a spy, a soldier, an Arabist but above all a Spanish adventurer; he was then known by Alí Bey or Alí Bey el-Abbassi.
Despite the popular refrain “haberlas haylas” (it would mean that when talking about something of which proof of existence is not available if that something’ range is incommensurable enough one must assume that the lack of evidence should not necessarily imply that it does not exist or happen; for instance: one might say that, due to the wide variety in chairs, a pineapple-shaped chair could exist even though we have no knowledge of it), it is very hard for me to acknowledge any truth in the fantasies, legends and other stories regarding witchery and sorcery.
Wind is a a plot between Sun and the Earth’s rotation. Wind is a creator god right from the very beginnings of man kind. Wind carries seeds and life, shapes mountains and creates dunes and waves. Neither rain nor fresh water would exist without the doings of wind, that is to say there is no human life without the continuous action of the wind. Wind creates, there lies its divinity. But once a god also a demon and wind carries destruction in the form of hurricanes or tornadoes, and that is the other true face of life and creation.
For a long time, in order to research the past, going to libraries was an unavoidable necessity. Finding old pictures of a city constituted an almost archaeological task, one even had to ransack every known antiquarian and flea market. However, and fortunately, it all belongs now to the past, thanks to the Internet and especially the social networks.
Tourism is as old as cities –or at least most cities–. Greeks, for example, went on pleasure trips to attend the Games in the city of Olimpia. And Romans were very fond of baths and would travel long distances in order to enjoy them.
“You want fame, but fame costs and right here is where you start paying, with sweat.” Such where the opening words of that mighty TV show from the 80’s Fame. And that is also how this great adventure started, back in 2005. This month of May Hotel Viento10 has entered Trip Advisor’s Hall of Fame after winning the Certificate of Excellence five times in a row. This certificate is only awarded to those hotels that receive the most positive reviews and to those that year after year provide an excellent traveler experience.
The Córdoba mutiny of the Bread occurred in May of 1652, it is normally explained by black plague outbreaks and the outrageous price of the basic goods during those harsh years. This version of the facts, coined by Ramírez de Arellano, is widely accepted; it is even considered as one of the first popular riots in Europe of its kind echoing throughout the continent influencing, in some ways, the French revolution and the recent May 1968 events.
This past Friday of Sorrows while Javier (BUREAU DELLAFLEUR) was working on Viento10’s floral arrangements for the Holy Week, a conversation came up between Gerardo and him about the color of the flowers.
If there is a remarkable image of Córdoba in the XIXth century that would be the aerial sight of the city made and then published by Alfred Gesdon in 1853. We were lucky to have been one of the chosen cities for his beautiful stamp catalog.
It is curioues how the only catholic Queen born in Córdoba went down in History as the “Discreet Queen” and she came in to this world during “the Fair of the Discreet”, that is also the title of a Pío Baroja’s novel set in Córdoba –an author profoundly acquainted with the nature and intimacies of the city. A strange coincidence that links the city to a certain quality: “Discretion”.
I know that the philosopher’s stone is only a myth built on human greed, but, nonetheless, for centuries it was said and believed that this legendary alchemical substance would turn any given metal, such as lead, into gold. It was also believed to be an elixir that would grant eternal life and youth. For many centuries it was also the most ambitioned end to most alchemists. The philosopher’s stone symbolizes perfection to its purest form, the spiritual enlightenment and divine happiness. Those efforts to discover the philosopher’s stone were known as Opus magnum (“Great work”)
Albert Kahn (1860- 1940), besides a banker of Jewish background, was a philanthropist and a cultural promoter. In 1898, at the age of 38, he decided to start “The Archives of the Planet”, a universal project thought to be a dream that he made it come true. He spent a big part of his fortune filming and documenting the World. He paid for the latest and best equipment so the professionals traveling the Planet could record its landscapes, its monuments and its people. Within this photographic and cinematographic atlas of the World, there are 76 pictures of Córdoba taken in 1914.