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Cordoba Mosque

Cordoba Mosque

Oct 12, 2013


The Cordoba mosque currenlty known as the cathedral of Córdoba is a world heritage site. The ancient Cordoba mosque was one of the most important monuments of Moorish architecture. It was the third largest mosque in the world after the Casablanca and Mecca but its artistic importance, since its construction, was known throughout the East and the West.

The Cordoba mosque was the most magnificent Islamic monument in the western civilization. Its construction began in 785, when Abd-al-Rahman established Cordoba as capital of Al-Andalus in that period Cordoba was the largest and most advanced city in Europe. The mosque was built on the site of an ancient church dedicated to San Vicente. The mosque was extended in successive stages by Abd-ar-Rahman II, Al -Hakam II and Almanzor.c

The Cordoba mosque was built during the Moorish occupation in Spain. The Moorish kingdom was known as Al- Andalus between 711 and 1492. ( الأندلس classical Arabic al- Andalus ) to the territory of the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim rule during the Middle Ages till the conquest of Grandada by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, ending of the Islamic power in the Iberian Peninsula.




AbdaRahman I

The construction of the Cordoba mosque was started by AbdarRahman I, in 785 , on the ruins of  the Visigothic church of San Vicenete, . The result of this first stage of construction was a harmonious room ,11 ships with 110 marble and granite columns . Above them a double series of horseshoe arches and semicircular constituted an unprecedented architectural novelty . The play of light and shadows that offer the limestone and brick arches creates a unique atmosphere.

Abderrahman I, was inspired by the mosque of Damascus, but there is a strong influence of Hispanic Roman art, not only because they took advantage of the demolished materials basilica of San Vicente but also  for the new element used like the horseshoe arches of Visigoth art, which Islam will adopt as a symbol of their own architecture. The arches that divide the ships are double in height . The lower horseshoe arch and the upper half point . The stone and brick alternating mosque gives a unique two-color that will  be the model  for later  islamic buildings . This double arches provides  better interior lighting . The origin of this unique double-height building model seems to be the Roman Aqueduct of Los Milagros ( Merida ) .

Stitched Panorama

The first extension

Abderrahman II  expands the Cordoba mosque in 833, adding eight arches. The columns that hold it are white marble from the Roman theater in Mérida. Eleven capitals are Arabs , and the rest are Romans.

Abderraman III  was the next califa  in 912 .Although he didn´t make a new extension in the Cordoba Mosque, his most important work is the construction of the city palace of Medina Azahara. The first Caliph intervention did not affect the oratorio. He enlarged the yard, dropped the first minaret and erected a new one that would model for Almohad minarets and Moorish towers.

Stitched Panorama

The second extension (tenth century)

In 961 Al-Hakam II provides the greatest treasures that today is the Cordoba mosque : the Mihrab , with its precious and exuberant decoration in carved marble and central octagonal dome of the Kliba interlaced arches , both considered masterpieces of world art .
Al-Hakam II succeeded at age 46 and continuing the policy of his father and keeps the peace and prosperity in Al-Andalus. The period of greatest glory and splendor of the Caliphate of Córdoba is in his reign.The Caliphate was based on the equality of all ethnic and religious groups to access government positions, Respect for Christians, Jews, and the establishment of a meritocratic bureaucracy and middle class business and management, were the basis of that state of being.He expanded the mosque, the Alcazar and ended reformed the city of Medina Azahara. Provided the city night street lighting and sewer, paving besides the vast majority of its streets.

Al-Hakam II adds twelve sections  more to the Cordoba mosque , coming closer to the course of the Guadalquivir , reaching the final depth of today. In the qibla or end wall construction , is the mihrab or niche you are targeting the prayers .

el mihrab de la mezquita de cordoba

The third extension (987)

The latest and greatest enlargement of the Cordoba mosque is due to Mansur  “Almanzor”, who in 987 , nearly doubled its size . From this period are the blue marble columns with capitals compounds , and reddish brown marble with Corinthian capitals . The imminent fall of the Caliphate is seen in the poverty of materials used in this area. Mansur was Unable to make up to the south, due to the next location of the Guadalquivir River, Mansur  added eight ships  more to the east .


The tower of San John

The ancient minaret  was built by order of Abd al-Rahman III and later was transformed into the present  belfry tower by christians, it has a height of 40 meters, the construction of the tower is due to Hernán Ruiz III, despite this, the minaret it is still preserved inside, the tower is  crowned for the statue of St. Rafael , the Archangel, and the custodian  of Cordoba. The tower is attached to the Forgiveness Gate “La Puera del Perdón” , the main entrance to the enclosure.


The orange trees courtyard (el patio de los naranjos)

The patio was originally planted with palm trees in 786. Its current name comes from the orange trees that contains planted in the late fifteenth century. It is an enclosure of 130 meters long and 50 meters wide which is divided into three parts, each with a fountain in the center. Also, inside the Patio are located the Fountain of St. Mary and the Fountain of Cinnamon. The function of the “court of ablutions” in Muslim society was basically religious , but came to become a social meeting point for society of Cordoba. There are also data pointing to the use of its galleries as schools for children, before Hakam II created public schools. As early Christian era porches, especially the West, were used as a hospital and foundling home .In the christian period,the porches, especially the West, were used as a hospital and foundling home.


Virtual view, click in this link  and you you will be able to see inside the mosque and cathedral  in 3D.


The cathedral

The Cordoba mosque was replaced by the cathedral in 1236 and , but the mosque it is still preserved .The Cathedral of Cordoba amazes both its beauty and its mixed of architectonic styles: christian and moorish . In the sixteenth century the Bishop Manrique gets from Charles V the permission to build inside the Mosque . Both the bishop and the king agreed on the need to respect the Alhaken II expansion and preserve the the magnificent Moorish architectural legacy . Thus, in 1523 , The christian Cathedral of Cordoba was designed and begun by Hernan Ruiz, After the death of the architect, continue building his son, his grandson and Juan de Ochoa . Thus, are summarized in the same building nearly two centuries of architectural evolution . The plant, a Latin cross , has Gothic vaults along with other protobarrocas and a Renaissance dome . The altarpiece made ​​of marble is concluded in the seventeenth.


Details to highlight:

  • The prayer hall consists of more than 800 columns
  • It is a unique temple in the Islamic world and the Christian.
  • Construction of the mosque began in 786 AD and the initiative will be expanded on four Umayyad rulers .
  • It consists of a courtyard and a prayer room , consisting of nineteen longitudinal aisles .
  • The purpose of the exhibition was not only religious but also social , cultural and political .
  • The consecration of the church as a cathedral in 1236 takes place in the Main Chapel.
  • The works for the construction of the Chapel, Cruise and Choir starting in 1523 .
  • His style is Renaissance , and is due to the architects Hernán Ruiz I, II and III , and Juan Diego Ochoa Praves
  • On both sides of the temple are many chapels , the result of the desire of the faithful Catholics buried in the Cathedral.

Cathedral of Cordoba (Cordoba mosque) views from the other side of the roman bridge,on the Guadalquivir river,one way to access to this wonderful monument  is crossing the bridge.


Opening Hours of the Cordoba Mosque:

  • November to February: Monday through Saturday, 8:30 to 18:00 h.
  • Sundays and religious holidays, 8:30 to 11:30 h. and 3:00 p.m. to 18:00 h.
  • March to October: Monday to Saturday 10.00-19:00 h.
  •  Sundays and religious holidays, 8:30 to 11:30 h. and 15:00 to 19:00 h.

Ticket Price

  • General price: 8€ per person
  • Children from 10 to 14 years € 4
  • Children under 10 years Free entrance



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