A two hour train ride from Madrid, the great mosque of Cordoba is an oldest structure from the late 8th century, located in Andalusia.
This building, just like the mosque of Damascus, has survived a long path through history, first being a Roman temple, which was converted into a church, then into a mosque, and finally rebuilt and transformed into a Catholic church in the present.
One third of this area is occupied by the Court of the Oranges and the cloisters around it. The courtyard of this mosque houses orange trees as a reminder of the Umayyad dynasty.
The building is comprised of a courtyard with a fountain, a prayer hall in hypostyle (standing on columns) and a minaret in a bell tower to call the believers to prayer. The 850 pillars divide the interior space into 19 north-to-south and 29 east-to-west aisles.
The arches of the prayer hall are formed of stone and red brick with a repeated geometry, which lead to the elaborate horseshoe arched mihrab, the prayer niche facing Mecca all adorned with calligraphic and vegetal motifs.
Looking up to the heavens above the mihrab arch is the exquisite honey-combed with radial patterns dome enriched with inlaid golden mosaics.
The only mosque on earth with a cathedral inside, and a deliberate incorporation of the traditional and the innovative, the Cordoba mosque is a brilliant example of Muslim-Moorish architectural transformation.
1. The Mosque’s Website: http://www.mezquitadecordoba.org/en/history-mosque-cordoba.asp
2. UNESCO about the Mosque: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/313
3. TheGuardian about the Mosque: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/13/cordoba-catholic-churchs-claim-mosque-cathedral