The Mezquita, the jewel of Andalusia. To be honest, I didn't know anything about Cordoba when we went there. I heard it was worth visiting, but I didn't know why.
We were supposed to stay somewhere else overnight, somewhere deep inside the provenance of Extremadura, but then, all of a sudden, my brother suggested we drove to Cordoba. And so we did.
I caught WiFi and quickly found us a hotel, and also learned that Cordoba is actually famous for an amazing mosque.
We arrived to the town quite late, so we had the opportunity to wander around empty streets and get a first glimpse of The Mezquita. First thing in the morning, I went there to see it in its full glory (my men refused to pay 8 euros and waited for me outside). And impressed, I was!
So much craftsmanship went into its making! So many eras and genres were fitted under one roof. It had a huge empty dark spaces, very lit spaces, Arabic parts, Spanish Catholic parts, rainbows on the floor made by stained glass windows in the ceiling, shiny angels, lots of golden saints, and so on and so on…
A little bit of history:
The Mezquita dates back to the 10th century when Córdoba reached its zenith under a new emir, Abd ar-Rahman 111 who was one of the great rulers of Islamic history. At this time, Córdoba was the largest, most prosperous city of Europe, outshining Byzantium and Baghdad in science, culture, and the arts. The approach is via the Patio de los Naranjos, a classic Islamic ablutions courtyard, which preserves both its orange trees and fountains. When the mosque was used for Moslem prayer, all nineteen naves were opened to this courtyard, allowing the rows of interior columns to appear like an extension of the tree with brilliant shafts of sunlight filtering through.
At the centre of the mosque, squats a Renaissance cathedral which dates back to the early sixteenth century while, to the left, is the Capilla de Villaviciosa built by Moorish craftsmen in 1371. The Mosque was consecrated as a Christian Cathedral in the same year that Cordoba was re-conquered (1236). Alfonso X built the Villaviciosa Chapel with stunning multi-lobed arches.
The bell tower
The Torre de Alminar is 93m high and was built on the site of the original minaret. It’s possible to climb the steps to the very top for superb views of Cordoba.
10.00h – 18.30h Monday to Saturday
13.30h – 18.30h Sunday
09.00 and 10.45 there are services on Sundays when there is free entrance to the Cathedral only.
C/ CARDENAL HERRERO, 1
14003 Cordova, Spain