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Mezquita Cordoba

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by .Bala

Article by Auston Martin


Mezquita Cordoba is a beautiful cathedral situated in Cordoba and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain. Its official name is the Cathedral of Saint Mary, but once upon a time it was a mosque. In its place was an old temple from the Roman period and later on a cathedral built by the Visigoths. Construction of the Mezquita was started in the 8th century by an Arab ruler, Emir Abd ar-Rahman I. At first, the mosque had another name – it was dedicated to his wife and took her name – Aljama. The successors of the Emir added something new to the mosque. Abd ar-Rahman III built another minaret, Al-Hakam II added new structures to the mosque and at the end of the 10th century, Al-Mansur built a new courtyard and the outer nave. When Cordoba fell into Christian hands again in the 13th century, the mosque was reconverted into a Christian cathedral. Alfonso X built two chapels – the Villaviciosa and the Royal Chapel and Charles V added a Renaissance cathedral into the structure. A long time passed till another Muslim prayed in the Mezquita again – it was in 1931 when a Muslim doctor prayed for the first time since the Muslims left Spain. Today this magnificent building is under the protection of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Islamic influence

The Mezquita and Alhambra in Granada are the best examples of Islamic Art in Spain. The Mezquita has massive arches made of jasper and other precious materials. These columns were originally taken away from the temple that the Romans built and from the Visigothic cathedral which previously stood on the site. The most important vestibule of the said mosque served for coaching and managing commandments and peace inside Al-Andalus for the duration of the Arab rule. This rectangular building has walls with Quranic captions inscribed on their surface. It also has a wide open and gaping court, windows made of colored glass, beautiful mosaics and lovely minarets. In architectural style, the Mezquita is comparable to the Mosque of Damascus in many aspects. In front of the mosque there is a lovely garden with oranges and beautiful fountains.

Christian influence

The Royal Chapel of Alfonso X is maybe the best example of Christian influence on the building. Inside the chapel, visitors can see two pulpits designed by Michel de Verdiguier and fascinating choir stalls by Pedro Duque Cornejo made in Baroque style. There are also a beautiful altar curtain from the 16th century and a Baroque Christ in marble. In front of the chapel, magnificent Baroque tower surrounding the Muslim minaret and the Pardoners gate are some of the most beautiful examples of the Christian influence. Even after the mosque became a cathedral, because of its dazzling beauty, Christian rulers kept almost all of its Islamic characteristics and just added their own seal.

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