Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Cordoba or Mezquita de Cordoba, is an Islamic mosque that was converted into a Christian cathedral in the 13th century. It was originally built in 785 CE by Abd ar-Rahman and is regarded as an important monument of Islamic architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain.
The site of the Mezquita de Cordoba was originally home to a Roman Temple. Historians believe that it was a place of worship for the Roman god, Janus.
However, recently, these claims have been called speculation owing to a misunderstanding of Roman milestones found nearby. The claims were also dismissed by Robert Knapp, in his overview of Roman-era Cordoba.
When the Visigoths invaded the area in the year 572, they seized Cordoba, and built a church here. When the Moors conquered Andaluisa in 711 from the Christians, the church was divided into two halves and was used as a place of worship by both Christians and Muslims.
In 784, however, the church was destroyed under the orders of Emir Abd al-Rahman, and work began on a great mosque.
Emr al-Rahman ordered the destruction of the church and began work on a great mosque. Construction took over 200 years, and it was finally completed in 987. An outer nave and courtyard were added, making it the second-largest mosque in the Islamic kingdom, after the Kaaba in Arabia.
The Hypostyle Hall was a courtyard with a fountain at its center, an orange grove, and a minaret that is now present within a tapered bell tower. The first expansion was by Abd ar-Rahman II between 833 and 848. Abd ar-Rahman III went on to expand the north side between 951 and 952. Al-Hakam II expanded the south side in 961, and finally, Al-Mansur expanded the eastern side between 987 and 988. He extended the hall about 45 meters to the south and added 12 more arches or bay, repeating the double-tiered arches of the original design, maintaining uniformity.
The last expansion work under the Muslim rule was under Al-Mansur who extended the mosque laterally towards the east, extending both the courtyard and the prayer hall.
Cordoba was recaptured by the Christians in 1236. Immediately, King Ferdinand III ordered the lanterns of the mosque to be returned to Santiago de Compostela, which was converted back to the original bells.
The mosque was again converted into a church, although the mosque was never demolished. More alterations were made over the years, which resulted in a hybrid structure.
With the passage of time, several chapels were created around the internal structure of the building over, with most of the funerary chapels being built through private patronage. The Chapel of San Felipe and Santiago, in 1258 is the first precisely-recorded chapel known to be built along the west wall of the compound.
The Villaviciosa and Royal Chapels were some additions in the 13th century and a Renaissance nave in the 16th century by Charles V. A more significant modification was carried out to the Villaviciosa Chapel in the late 15th century by replacing the mosque arches with Gothic arches.
The most significant alteration of the structure was the construction of a Renaissance transept and nave in 1523. Charles V gave permission for the project to proceed, following opposition from the city council of Cordoba.
In 1589, a strong earthquake or storm caused damage to the minaret, which then served as a bell tower. The old minaret was then reinforced by building a Renaissance-style bell tower around it.
Numerous modern restoration work was done, starting from 1816, with the restoration of the original mihrab. Restoration of the bell tower was started in 1991 and completed in 2014. The Renaissance choir and transept of the cathedral were restored between 2006 and 2009.
A. The Mosque-Cathedral Of Cordoba was built in 785 CE by Abd ar-Rahman. Find out more information about the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba on our history page.
A. According to history, the other names of the Mosque-Cathedral Of Cordoba are Mezquita de Cordoba, the Great Mosque Of Cordoba, and the Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption.
A. According to history, the Mosque-Cathedral Of Cordoba was first converted into a cathedral in 1236.
A. Following the conquest of Cordoba by the Christians in 1236, the mosque went on to be slowly converted into a cathedral.
A. It is believed that a Roman Temple dedicated to Janus was present on the site of the Mosque-Cathedral Of Cordoba.
A. After conversion to a church, a Renaissance transept and nave were added in 1523 to the Mosque-Cathedral Of Cordoba.
A. Yes, remains of the original Great Mosque of Cordoba are still present at the site.
A. The Mosque-Cathedral Of Cordoba was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.
A. Yes, the Mosque-Cathedral Of Cordoba is worth visiting. It is considered one of the greatest examples of Islamic architecture in the world.
A. Yes, Mosque-Cathedral Of Cordoba tickets can be purchased online.