Explore an Ancient Mosque-Cathedral on a Cordoba Mosque Tour
The oldest mosque in Spain, Mezquita de Cordoba or the Cordoba Mosque, boasts stunning Moorish-style interiors and architecture influenced by Jewish, Muslim, and Christian elements. Featuring 856 columns made of granite and marble, the mosque-turned-cathedral dates back to the 8th century when Muslim rulers were in power in the city.
After Cordoba was captured by the Christians in 1236, the mosque was turned into a cathedral, which means that it went through certain renovations and architectural modifications. As a result of this cultural blend, the Mosque-Cathedral boasts several elements of Islamic and Christian architectural and artistic styles. The attraction includes several points of interest like a bell tower, a courtyard of orange trees and fountains, a prayer hall, and the Mihrab. Here’s a comprehensive guide to your Cordoba Mosque tour options!
Why Take a Cordoba Mosque Tour?
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is deeply rooted in history making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain. Here are a few reasons why you should take a Cordoba Mosque tour.
Guided Tours vs Non-Guided Tours
What to Expect on a Cordoba Mosque Tour?
The Mosque-Cathedral in Cordoba is huge. It’s possible that you might feel a little overwhelmed or find it difficult to navigate the attraction all by yourself. This is the reason why we recommend booking a Cordoba Mosque tour for yourself. Such tours include an expert guide who possesses in-depth knowledge of the attraction. They will be able to enhance your experience of the visit by telling you all that there is to know about the Cordoba Mosque.
Once you meet your tour guide and group at the meeting point, you’ll be taken inside the Mosque-Cathedral. The entrance is lined with orange trees and beautiful fountains. Marvel at the 856 columns made of granite and marble inside this iconic structure. The tour includes a visit to the Bell Tower, the Mihrab, and the Prayer Hall, all of which have a significance of their own.
Highlights Covered On Your Cordoba Mosque Tour
The Bell Tower
Originally built as a minaret for the mosque-cathedral, this iconic 54m tall Bell Tower offers a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the city of Cordoba. The structure underwent a transformation after the Christians took over Cordoba in 1236. After an earthquake damaged the tower in 1589, it was decided that a new, stronger tower would be built and adorned with bells from the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. A unique fact about the bells is that each of them has a name as well as engravings mentioned in an inscription.
The Court of Oranges
The entrance of the mosque is lined with beautiful, flourishing trees of palm, olive, cypress, and oranges. The Court of Oranges, also called the Patio de los Naranjos, boasts beautiful fountains and a total of 98 orange trees, which were imported by Abd al-Rahman I and added to the courtyard in the 10th century. Initially used for social gatherings and ablutions, the Patio de los Naranjos is considered the oldest garden in Europe, a lush green and idyllic place where people can relax after their tour.
One of the most beautiful attractions inside the mosque-cathedral, the Mihrab is a place that indicates or is used to identify the wall facing toward Mecca. It features a mesmerising horseshoe arch, a mosaic from the Byzantine tradition as well as inscriptions from the Quran. The Mihrab is decorated with plants, marble, plaster, ceramics, and paint. A small octagonal room covered by a dome, the Mihrab is a celebration and representation of Islamic art and architecture.
Another major attraction of the Mezquita de Cordoba is the hypostyle Prayer Hall comprising 856 columns made of granite, marble, jasper, onyx, and porphyry. The pillars were built by recycling the remains of the Roman temple that existed before this mosque-cathedral was constructed. The hall is also known for its symmetrical double arches (featuring a horseshoe arch and a semi-circular arch on top of it) made of stone and red brick. The Prayer Hall was used for several purposes like teaching, Sharia law cases, special Friday prayers, and more.
The mosque-Cathedral consists of several chapels, the most notable being the Royal Chapel, Parroquia del Sagrario, and the Chapel of Villaviciosa.
While the Royal Chapel is currently closed for visitors, the Chapel of Villaviciosa is the main chapel and the first Christian construction to have taken place inside the mosque a couple of centuries after the Islamic structure was taken over in 1236. The Parroquia del Sagrario is adorned with paintings and murals, the most notable being the Holy Supper.
- Book your Cordoba Mosque tickets online and well in advance.
- You can take a bus or taxi to reach the Mosque-Cathedral.
- The attraction is wheelchair friendly. Visually impaired guests can ask for material for at the ticket office. There are toilets as well for those with physical disabilities or reduced mobility.
- The site allows access to guide dogs.
- Wear proper clothing suitable for a place of worship. Your knees and shoulders must be covered at all times.
- Photography is allowed but you cannot carry tripods or take videos of celebrations or religious services.
- Smoking, eating, and drinking inside the venue are strictly prohibited.
- Large items, bags, or luggage are not allowed inside the Mosque-Cathedral.
- Guests are encouraged to speak softly and behave appropriately during their visit.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cordoba Mosque Tours
A. There are three types of Cordoba Mosque tours available – Priority Entrance and Guided Tour of the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Cordoba Mosque and Jewish Quarter Guided Tour, and Priority Entrance: Cordoba Mosque, Jewish Quarter, and Alcazar Guided Tour.
A. The Cordoba Mosque tour includes all the important points of interest inside the Mosque-Cathedral like the Court of Oranges, Bell Tower, the Mihrab, and Prayer Hall.
A. Cordoba Mosque guided tours are available in two languages – English and Spanish.
A. The Cordoba Mosque guided tour covers all the major attractions inside the Great Mosque of Cordoba like the Prayer Hall, Court of Oranges, the Mihrab, and the Bell Tower.
A. It depends on the type of Cordoba Mosque tour you book. Guided tours usually have a maximum capacity of 25 guests.
A. Yes. The Cordoba Mosque tour is worth it because it’s the best to explore an attraction as vast and historically significant.
A. Yes. The Cordoba Mosque tours include skip the line access.
A. Yes. You can get a full refund on canceling your Cordoba Mosque tour up to 24 hours before the scheduled date.
A. The Cordoba Mosque guided tours are between 1 to 3.5 hours long.