Sunday, July 14, 2013

Seville/Cordoba: Week 2


View of La Giralda from Alcazar
This past week I visited the Alcazar of Seville and spent the past two days in Cordoba. But before I get to the sightseeing facet of my presence in Spain I should give an update on my research. This past week it hung by a thread. Having reached the end of one roll of microfilm without seeing nearly as many documents as I expected, I began to wonder if that was the end of the line. However, after talking to one of the archives' research assistants I learned three more rolls of microfilm remain pertaining to Wilkinson's relationship with the Spanish Crown. This was a huge relief. 

Because of the high volume of researchers during the summer months and the lack of microfilm viewing machines, I'm doing everything I can to arrive every morning at the archives well before it opens (8am). Each day I sift through General Wilkinson's correspondence with Spanish Governors of West Florida, Louisiana, and Havana. For each individual letter I record the date and its place of origin in an effort to retrace Agent 13's path through the American frontier. While creating my exhibit in St. Lawrence Special Collections last year I found that given a chronologically concentrated distribution of correspondence and trade related documents I could literally track a historical figure's path and actions through time/space. It's a simple concept really. Yet when carried out on a wider scale with hundreds of documents, each letterhead marks a single waypoint in the complex journey of that person's experience. Whenever I find a particularly important document I take care to record excerpts or some even in their entirety. This has proved to be an effective method for building the foundation of a historical narrative.

That's enough for now recounting my research methods. As you already have begun to see, I've been balancing my hours in the archives by visiting local historical sites. On monday I finally visited the Alcazar of Seville. It has long been a residence of various Muslim and Christian leaders in Spain and is still used by the Royal Family today as one of many places of residence. The prevalence of Islamic art and architecture throughout the Alcazar is breath taking. The dome directly to the right was just one of many ornamental ceilings throughout the palace. 


 As I was exiting the Alcazar there was an artist selling her impressions of Islamic patterns just outside the palace gates. After talking to her for a bit about her work, I found she shared my appreciation for the cultural diversity in Spain of centuries past.

This weekend I had the privilege to see the remnants of convivencia in Cordoba. To the right is a castle I saw while traveling by train to Cordoba on Friday. After looking at Google maps I still can't figure out what it's called.
The Cathedral-Mosque of Cordoba
Yesterday I visited the Cathedral of Cordoba. I've called it a hybrid Cathedral-Mosque above because although the Catholic Church now owns it, in reality most of the structure still remains in appearance a mosque. In terms of function however, I recently learned that the Church bars Muslims from praying within the structure. 

Later yesterday afternoon an hour in the Catedral-Mezquita I made my way to one of the three remaining synagogues in Spain. This statistic does not include synagogues built more recently, but refers to the three synagogues that survived destruction during/after the Reconquista. The picture below is of the Hebrew inscription that marks the year of the synagogue's completion (1315).

To end this post, here is a picture I took today overlooking the River Guadalquivir, the Roman Bridge, and the Cathedral of Cordoba. Thanks for reading.


4 comments:

  1. Matt D
    I too visited Spain when I was your age and loved it, I have enjoyed looking at your pictures.
    The reason I am reaching out to you however, has to do with your research in the Archives of the Indies in Seville. I work in the museum about the city of Frankfort, KY, the Capital City Museum. Gen'l James Wilkinson was our founder in 1786. We talk a lot about him here in the museum, on tours and we even have a costumed interpreter who portrays him for special walking tours in the old part of town where he built a home (torn down in 1870). I have also recently re-read the bio of Wilkinson by Linklater.
    We would be very interested in what you found at the archives, how much they have regarding him, any insight you might have on him would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your work and research and I look forward to hearing from you.
    John Patrick Downs,
    Capital City Museum
    325 Ann St. (named after Gen'l JW's wife, he named all the streets, we also have a Mero St)
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    502-352-2182
    frankforthistory@gmail.com
    capitalcitymuseum.com
    visitfrankfort.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Matt D
    I too visited Spain when I was your age and loved it, I have enjoyed looking at your pictures.
    The reason I am reaching out to you however, has to do with your research in the Archives of the Indies in Seville. I work in the museum about the city of Frankfort, KY, the Capital City Museum. Gen'l James Wilkinson was our founder in 1786. We talk a lot about him here in the museum, on tours and we even have a costumed interpreter who portrays him for special walking tours in the old part of town where he built a home (torn down in 1870). I have also recently re-read the bio of Wilkinson by Linklater.
    We would be very interested in what you found at the archives, how much they have regarding him, any insight you might have on him would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your work and research and I look forward to hearing from you.
    John Patrick Downs,
    Capital City Museum
    325 Ann St. (named after Gen'l JW's wife, he named all the streets, we also have a Mero St)
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    502-352-2182
    frankforthistory@gmail.com
    capitalcitymuseum.com
    visitfrankfort.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear John Downs,

      Thank you so much for your message on my blog last September. Because it's a travel blog, and I haven't traveled since August, I did not catch your comment until just now. I would be happy to assist you and the Capital City Museum in any way possible. I stumbled across some exciting material this past summer in the Archivo General de Indias and the Chicago History Museum. Not surprisingly, a great deal of the material I read relates to Kentucky and Wilkinson's plans to bring the territory under Spanish rule. More on that later.

      Cheers,
      Matt Dudley

      Delete
  3. castillo de almodovar del rio, in cordoba province

    ReplyDelete