Contents

The Great Mosque Of Cordoba: Former Islamic Mosque & Catholic Cathedral

Did you know that Cordoba Mosque, officially known as the Mezquita Cathedral, was originally built in the 8th century during the height of Moorish rule in Spain? This architectural marvel blends Islamic...

Also Known As

Mezquita Cordoba

Founded On

988

Quick information

RECOMMENDED DURATION

4 hours

VISITORS PER YEAR

1500000

UNESCO YEAR

1984

Plan your visit

Fun facts

The Cordoba Mosque was initiated in the 8th century by Emir Abd ar-Rahman I on the site of a Christian Visigothic Church, Basilica of San Vicente Mártir, as part of his vision to elevate Cordoba as a center of science, culture, and arts.

In 1236, Ferdinand III of Castile conquered Cordoba, leading to the reconversion of the Mosque-Cathedral into a Christian church. Rather than demolishing it, Christian rulers opted to preserve and enhance its beauty with new spaces and monuments.

The focal point of the Mosque-Cathedral is its shell-shaped prayer niche, built in the 10th century. Unlike traditional mihrabs facing Mecca, Cordoba's mihrab faces south, resembling the orientation of the Damascus Mosque.




How to buy tickets for the Great Mosque of Córdoba?

Córdoba Cathedral-Mosque Skip-the-Line Tickets
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
Audio Guide
More details
Córdoba Cathedral-Mosque Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
Free Cancellation
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
1 hr. - 1 hr. 30 min.
Guided Tour
More details
Córdoba Mosque & Jewish Quarter Guided Tour
Free Cancellation
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
2 hr. 30 min.
Guided Tour
More details
Córdoba Cathedral-Mosque, Alcázar & Jewish Quarter Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
Free Cancellation
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
Guided Tour
More details

Why Is the Great Mosque of Córdoba So Famous?

Built in a city that is a living expression of the existence of different cultures, forming a vibrant and colorful ambiance, Mezquita de Córdoba, or the Great Mosque of Córdoba, is a historical structure that highlights a unique architectural and cultural heritage and achievement. It is a unique architectural structure that holds traces of its Islamic heritage and architectural style in the west, playing an influential role in Western Islamic art. The blend in the culture has resulted in an architectural hybrid where elements of Islamic religious architecture of the east coexist with the Christian cultures of the west.

Who Built the Great Mosque of Córdoba?

In 785, as per the orders of the Abd ar-Rahman I, the Great Mosque Of Córdoba was built, with later expansion works being carried out by his descendants and successors. But as part of the Reconquista, on Córdoba's capture by the King Ferdinand III of Castile, the Mosque was converted into a Cathedral. It soon saw minor alterations till the late 15th century, followed by major alterations till the 18th century.

Read More About the Origin of Córdoba Mosque.

What To See at the Córdoba Mosque?

About Córdoba Mosque What to see

The Córdoba Mosque stands as an example of a blend in culture and architecture of the east and west. Its architectural design has Islamic art forms uniformly blended with Christian elements.

The architectural choices like the double arches, the horseshoe arch with a semi-circular arch atop it, designs with red brick and stone, are some of the key architectural elements that are world-famous.

The bell tower, Patio de los Naranjos, Mihrab, and the Prayer hall are some of the major highlights with amazing works of art and architecture. Patio de los Naranjos serves as an entrance to the mosque featuring a courtyard with flourishing trees and flourishing fountains. The  54m tall Belltower of Mezquita de Córdoba provides an astounding bird’s eye view of the city.

History of the Great Mosque of Córdoba

The mosque was built in 785 AD during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman I, who ruled over the region of Al-Andalus, with the capital being Córdoba. The mosque faced numerous expansion works till the late 10th century until King Ferdinand III of Castile captured Córdoba. This change in political situation was followed by the conversion of the mosque to a cathedral in 1236. Despite the change, there were only a few minor alterations until the 16th century.  Later, in 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which led to the onset of numerous renovation and preservation projects.

Brief Timeline of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba

  • 785: Year Of Origin Of Mosque. A Muslim chapel was built with a basilica layout. It was built on the orders of Abd ar-Rahman I when Córdoba was the capital of the Muslim-controlled region of Al-Andalus.
  • 1146: First Dedication Of The Cathedral. King Alfonso VII celebrated Holy Mass in the mosque with the archbishop of Toledo, Don Raimundo. 
  • 1236: Córdoba Captured by King Ferdinand III of Castile. Córdoba was captured by the Christian forces of Castile during the Reconquista.
  • 1236: Second Dedication as a Catholic Church. With Córdoba being captured by the Christian forces, the mosque was converted into a Catholic Church.
  • 1882: Declaration as a Historic-Artistic National Monument. During the period of modern restorations to preserve the mosque and cathedral elements, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba was declared a National Monument.
  • 1984: Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The status was extended to the entire historic center of Córdoba in 1994.

Find out more about the history of the Córdoba Mosque.

The Great Mosque of Córdoba Architecture & Design

Mezquita de Córdoba, or the Great Mosque of Córdoba, was a square-shaped construction during its origin, with a covered prayer hall and an outer courtyard. Its collection of over 500 columns from the Roman and Visigoth ruins, with two tiers of arches connecting them at the ceiling, was a distinguishable feature. The columns had a horseshoe-shaped design at the bottom and a semi-round structure at the top. Its unique design and special materials help in complementing the airy atmosphere created by the alternating arches of red and white and give an infinite forest-like feel in the massive prayer hall.

This special design gave a feel of infinite space thanks to its design of rows and rows of columns, which was a sharp contrast to the designs of medieval cathedrals. But the insertion of a cathedral nave during the sixteenth century, during the conversion, works from mosque to cathedral does break the feel of uniformity to the otherwise uniform work of architecture. Even with a surface area only second to that of the Holy Mosque in Mecca, the design of the structure steps out of the usual Islamic mosque tradition in several ways, most notably being the fact that it does not face the Holy Mecca.

Yet, the architecture and design of the Great Mosque of Córdoba possess features like the double arch, which is still considered to be an architectural marvel and is studied as a technical and aesthetic breakthrough, throwing light on the development of Islamic architecture in the period.

From the 19th century to the 21st century, numerous restoration projects were carried out, which uncovered from behind the former altar of the old Chapel, restored the mihrab's Islamic mosaics, and uncovered the original structure of the Mosque-Cathedral.

Learn more about the Córdoba Mosque's architecture and design.

The Great Mosque of Córdoba Legends

  • It is said that the  Abderraman I decided to build the mosque after having an angelic vision. As per the Legend of the Angel, while sleeping at al-Rusafa Palace, he saw an angel appear and ask him what he had done for Allah in return for the things he had received. Because of this, he decided to build the mosque for god.
  • As per legends, it is said that the Saint Mary's Fountain has magical properties that help single women get married.
  • According to the Legend of the Ox, it is said that the sculpture of the ox next to the pulpit of the Main Altar, was built in the memory of a white ox who held on to his life until he transported the last of the columns, thus playing a key role in building the mosque.
  • Although there has been no evidence to clarify the rumor, it is believed that there’s a hidden underground passage that connects the Medina Azahara city with the Great Mosque of Córdoba.

The Great Mosque of Córdoba Facts

Córdoba Mosque
  • During the reign of King Charles V, he got the Capilla Mayor, a cathedral nave built into the Mosque, which is said to have been his regret later on as he considered the addition has just ruined something unique.
  • A prayer hall or Mihrab of a mosque is supposed to face south-east, the direction of Mecca. But quite like like the Damascus Mosque, the mihrab of the Great Mosque of Córdoba faces south.
  • The unique arches of the Mezquita de Córdoba are supported by 856 granite and marble pillars, which were transported from the Romans and Visigothic ruins.

Know Before You Visit The Great Mosque of Córdoba

Q. What are the other names of the Great Mosque of Córdoba?

A. The Great Mosque of Córdoba is commonly known as the Córdoba Mosque or Mezquita de Córdoba. It is also known as the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba.

Q. When was the Great Mosque of Córdoba built?

A. The Great Mosque of Córdoba was originally built in785 AD during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman I and was converted into a cathedral in 1236. 

Q. Why is the Great Mosque of Córdoba so famous?

A. The Great Mosque of Córdoba is a UNESCO World Heritage which was originally a mosque that was later converted into a cathedral, thus and holding historic importance and exhibiting both the cultural and architectural art forms.

Q. When was the Great Mosque of Córdoba converted into a cathedral?

A. After Córdoba was captured by King Ferdinand III of Castile, The Great Mosque of Córdoba was converted into a cathedral in 1236. 

Q. Are Great Mosque of Córdoba tickets available online?

A. Yes, Great Mosque of Córdoba tickets are available online.

Q. How far is the Great Mosque of Córdoba from the airport?

A. It takes about two hours to drive from the Córdoba airport to the Great Mosque of Córdoba.

Q. Is the Great Mosque of Córdoba worth visit?

A. The Great Mosque of Córdoba holds a crucial historical significance as it is a standing example of presence of Islam in the west. Moreover, it stands as an example of beautiful blending of two religion, their culture, art and architecture. This makes this UNESCO World Heritage worth a visit.