Magnificent and striking the Mezquita Cordoba traces
its place in history as an established place of worship
as far back as Ancient Rome.
Founded by the Romans, Cordoba developed into a busy port
of commerce, shipping many goods including Spanish olives
and wine into the heart of its empire.
The site at which the Mezquita (Mosque) remains once stood a Roman temple. Turbulent centuries of counter-occupation of the region by Christians and Muslims have led to the site being developed from temple, to Mosque and finally Cathedral by Christian conquerors in the early 13th Century. As Spain remains predominantly Catholic, the site is a popular Catholic Church in Spain to visit and is one of many Churches in Spain and Cordoba itself. However, its significance as a lasting Moorish landmark is the real draw here for many visitors, making it one of many appealing Attractions in Spain.
The Muslim invasion of the Cordoba peninsula took place in 711 AD. Constructed over two centuries, work began on the Mezquita by the Emir of Cordoba, Abd ar-Rahman I in 784 AD. During this period, Cordoba was one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. The establishment of a great Mosque reflected this achievement.
Demonstrating breathtaking architecture within the Mezquita Cordoba, rows of marble pillars and colourful red and white arches give distinctive character to surroundings. Entrance to the Mihrab (prayer room) makes for a grand display of golden Byzantine mosaics adorned by inscriptions of the Koran.
Following Moorish occupation, Christians led by Fernando
III re-conquered the city in 1236. Interestingly the Christians,
possibly respectful of the magnificent Mosque, merely
converted the sacred site into a cathedral, allowing most
of the structure to remain standing. Throughout the centuries
various artists and architects have added to the Mezquita
de Cordoba to create renaissance and gothic styles. Additions
to the site include a number of chapels interspersed around
the cathedral, each depicting and dedicated to a saint.
The most obvious addition of all is the 93 metre bell
tower affording a superb view of Cordoba city.
Perhaps the most inviting part of the Cathedral is the Orange Tree courtyard with colourful flower arrangements and offering a respite to the visitor from the hot Andalucía sun. Spring time offers the perfect time of year to visit. Entrance to the Patio de Los Naranjos is free. Tickets are also sold here for further entrance to the site. Through Monday to Saturday and Sunday afternoons, a small entrance fee is levied to sections of the Mosque and Cathedral. On Sunday mornings religious Sunday service is held and entrance to the Cathedral is free.
The Mezquita de Cordoba makes for a highlight of any
visit to Cordoba and is regarded as one of the top
attractions in Spain. Its present occupation as a
Catholic Church in Spain reflects the varied history of
this region. The draw of its lasting significance as an
Islamic landmark highlights the sites importance during
the cities Moorish reign as having been one of the largest
Mosques of the Islamic world. The cathedral, while not
fitting in with the older surroundings of the Mosque,
still adds dynamic to the site and commands the locations
ranking as an important religious symbol. The historical
and cultural significance of the buildings gives it a
worthwhile place on any tourist’s itinerary interested
in visiting churches in Spain.