Side of the Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain

Looking through the keyhole of an abandoned convent, Cordoba, Spain

Bridge altar 1, Cordoba, Spain

Bridge altar 2, Cordoba, Spain 

La Giralda

I'm not entirely sure what was going on here. We stopped in while walking around Sevilla and the church was filled with smoke, and music, and people were taking turns walking up to this alter, touching it and sometimes bowing and kissing it.

Statues of nuns at the Centro Anadluz de Arte Contempareno which is the contemporary art museum in Sevilla.   I'm not big on video/installation art so I didn't care for the exhibitions, but the architecture and structure of the museum itself was worth going to. It's housed in an old monestary.  Cool to see the contrast between old (ancient?) and new.

Protesters in the cathedral. Sevilla, Spain

Tomb, Catedral, Sevilla.

3 details from the Sevilla Cathedral, Spain

Looking out at the city from La Giralda, the tower in the Cathedral. 
Sevilla, Spain

Climbing up the La Giralda

In the bell tower of La Giralda
Sevilla, Spain

La Giralda's shadow, Sevilla, Spain

Sevilla, Spain

Interior of the Catedral, Sevilla, Spain

Religion plays a major role in Andalusian society.  There are cathedrals and churches everywhere, and even those that seem understated on the outside have elaborate altars inside: huge murals, golden facades, velvet, embroidery, flowers, and a giant statue of the Virgin Mary in one of her 12 states.  Locals explained to me that it's not just a Sunday visit to church in Sevilla, religion (Catholocism, to be specific) plays into most aspects of life. I noticed many churches that had mass 3 times a day, and most times we stopped into a church to take a look, at least a few people were inside praying. It's why we couldn't buy groceries on Sundays - apparently it is illegal in Sevilla to sell most products on Sunday. The only places open are certain bars, tapas restaurants, and the "Alimentacions" (convenient stores) owned by rebellious Chinese people who don't adapt their work ethic or schedules to match that of Spain.

One of my favorite experiences in Spain was stopping into the San Leandro convent on a Friday night - totally randomly - and listening to a choir of 20 nuns sing hymns with organ music. It was so dark and peaceful in the church. The way their voices echoed with the huge ceilings, combined with what seemed to be 500 year old paintings and altars, felt like we traveled back in time! It was pretty magical.

I found it to be really challenging to make great photos in the cathedrals and churchs, partly on account of it being dark (no tripod on this trip) and also because many of the thing I'm interested in are so high up - the repeated viewpoint of looking up bored me after seeing so many pictures.  Religion does not appear to be so prominent in Portugal but maybe I can find some churches where I can continue to rise to the challenge of making photos I like in churches. It's good to be out of my comfort zone.


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