Monday, November 25, 2013


I've seen churches, temples, cathedrals, and bapstries in my several months of travel, but today I saw a most unusual and remarkable place of worship--the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, or the Mezquita, as it's called here.  Andalusia was once an emirate, al-Andalus, from the late 8th until the early 13th century.  The construction of the mosque began in the late 8th century and is the work of three successive Muslim rulers.  After King Ferdinand III of Castille conquered al-Andalus, he converted the mosque into a Catholic Church.  

The combination of Moorish and Christian religious architecture is a sight to behold.  I've never seen anything like it.  These double arches were an innovation in their time, and there seems to be no end to them.  In fact, there are 856 columns in this mosque-cathedral.

There are Christian chapels lining three sides of this vast space, all but a couple of which were locked behind iron gates.

The High Chapel was open to the public.

The seats for the choir are carved mahogany.

This is one of the two organs looming above the choir area.

The shape of the ceiling above the choir area reminded me of the Sistene Chapel.

The mihrab, or apse, of the mosque is still in tact.  The dome is incredibly beautiful.

The mihrab traditionally faces east toward Mecca, but this richly gilded one faces south.  


While Muslim and Christian religious architecture co-exist beautifully in this place of worship, Muslims are prohibited from praying here.  What a pity.

I wandered around this amazing place for an hour and a half, until my fingers started to get numb from the cold.  I leave you with a few more images of my visit.

The courtyard is paved with these little stones--very hard on the sole.

And there were lots of orange trees there.

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