THE GREAT MOSQUE OF CORDOBA, universal symbol of Moorish heritage in Spain, and one of history's most extraordinary works of art, awaits you in Cordoba.
Come and admire this architectural jewel - a unique space made up of forms, light, columns and colours, where you will feel all the splendour of ancient Al-Andalus.
Visit "Andalusia routes" or our Spain & Morocco Tour in our website and send your request trip for more information.
It seems as if the place that the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba occupies nowadays was dedicated, from ancient times, to the cult of different divinities. In this same place, and during the Visigoth occupation, another building was constructed, the “San Vicente” Basilic.
On top of this basilic and after paying half of the site, the primitive Mosque was constructed. This basilic, of rectangular shape, was shared for a period of time between Moslems and Christians.
After the Muslim enlargement, the Basilic became property of Abderraman I, who destroyed it to construct the first “Mosque Alhama” or main Mosque of the city. Nowadays, some of the constructive elements of the Visigoth building are integrated in the first part of Abderraman I.
The Great Mosque has two different areas: the courtyard or “arcade sahn“, where the “alminar” (minaret) is constructed (beneath the Renaissance tower) by Abd al-Rahman III, and the “haram” or praying hall.
The interior space consists of a forest of columns and red and white arches giving a strong chromatic effect. The site is divided into 5 different areas, corresponding each one of them to the different expansions that have occurred on it.
In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Panels of scented woods were fastened with nails of pure gold, and the red marble columns were said to be the work of God. The primitive part of the building, erected under the direction of Abd-er-Rahman I., was that bordering the Court of Oranges. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.
Muhammad Iqbal described its hypostyle hall as having "countless pillars like rows of palm trees in the oases of Syria". To the people of al-Andalus "the beauty of the mosque was so dazzling that it defied any description."
The main hall of the mosque was used for a variety of purposes. It served as a central Prayer hall for personal devotion, the five daily Muslim prayers and the special Friday prayers. It also would have served as a hall for teaching and for Sharia Law cases during the rule of Abd al-Rahman & his successors.
The Great Mosque of Córdoba exhibited features, and an architectural appearance, similar to the Great Mosque of Damascus, therefore it is evident that it was used as a model by Abd al-Rahman for the creation of the Great Mosque in Córdoba.
LayoutThe building's floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large, flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.
The mosque was built in four stages, with each Caliph and his elite contributing to it.
Until the 11th century, the courtyard was unpaved earth with citrus and palm trees irrigated - at first by rainwater cisterns, and later by aqueduct.
Excavation indicates the trees were planted in a pattern, with surface irrigation channels. The stone channels visible today are not original.
Abd-er-Rahman III added a new tower. The minaret contained two staircases, which were built for the separate ascent and descent of the tower. On the summit there were three apples, two of gold and one of silver, with lilies of six petals.
The minaret is four-faced, with fourteen windows, having arches upon jasper columns, and the structure is adorned with tracery.