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Córdoba's Magnificent Mosque

30%20-%20Copy.JPGThe original mosque was built in the 8th century over the site of the Church of St. Vincent using recycled construction material from Roman and Visigothic ruins. Two centuries later, a massive and elaborate expansion was completed. In 1523 part of the mosque was destroyed in order to build a cathedral right in the middle.

I was completely blown away by the infinite spaciousness of this magnificent structure that houses a mosque and a cathedral. No guidebook or photographs could have prepared me for that first impression on seeing what seemed as an endless forest of striped arches, double arches, and pillars of granite, jasper and marble.

It is impossible to fully describe with words this unique mosque/cathedral. Photographs do not do justice to the uniqueness, beauty and peacefulness found inside. I posted an album in Slow Photos with 32 photos of the mosque/cathedral but here are a few images from the album.

Arches leading to the courtyard

Pillars and arches

Detail of the double arches. I was told by our Moroccan guide that the arches in the mosques are representations of the date palm trees found in the Arab countries.

The exquisite mihrab

The High Altar in the cathedral

Comments (10)

Those arches are incredible! Gorgeous pictures. :)

Excellent pictures. You captured the essence of what it is like to visit this treasure.

This post really brought back a lot of memories. The way the Christian church was built over and around the mosque left a strong impression on us.

Thanks for a great post.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, wow! I really enjoyed your photo album and the photos you posted here. You really captured the essence of the mosque in Cordoba. I love the close-ups you took of the arches and the descriptions that your wrote. Thanks also for that link explaining the Mihrab. Really interesting.

I know what you mean by that first impression when you first walk in and see those incredible striped arches. I felt the same way. Thanks so much for rekindling my recent memories and for writing such an awesome post!

Have a great weekend and I'm so looking forward to reading more of your impressions and experiences.

I was drawn to the photo of the arches in Kathy's post earlier. It is wonderful to see more photos of this amazing Mosque. I also loved your photo album. Interesting that they used sing recycled construction material back in the 8th century! Is it used as a mosque or a cathedral or both today?


Lovely. I've really enjoyed your Cordoba posts. It was my favorite spct on our trip to Spain--was it really 20 years ago?


Well, you may not think your photos do these sites justice, but they're beautiful! Off to catch up on some of your other postings, a belated welcome home!

Marta, the mosque is an amazing building and it seems that visitors leave with a strong impression of this magnificent place. I think part of the great interest in the mosque (other than the historical significance) is the fact that mosques in general are not open to non-Muslims and here we can get an idea of the interior of a mosque.

Kathy, I'm sure you ran into the same problems we had in photographing the mosque. The lighting inside is so dim and diffused that most of my pictures came out too dark. My husband could not use his video camera or tripod but did take some still shots that were better than mine. Your photo of the arches is wonderful!

My next post is about Ronda, which I loved in spite of my fear of heights. ;)

Girasoli, it is used only as a Catholic church (Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin). I don't know when was the last time that Muslims were allowed to pray in this mosque but I know that the Muslim community in Córdoba is requesting shared use of the mosque/cathedral.

I also find it fascinating the use of recycled material way back in time. I believe many churches in Rome were built with material from the Forum.

Amy, Córdoba along with Ronda were my two favorite places in Andalusia. Both scored very high in charm and quaintness. 20 years? Time to go back. ;)

I love arches, so you've tapped into one of my favorite things!
These are stunning, Maria.

Brenda, I also love arches and these were pretty amazing, considering the large number found inside the mosque. I also have a bunch of photos of arches from our week spent in Morocco.


Maria, your photo album is really beautiful -- a forest of arches and pillars is a very apt description. The colours and mosaics in the mihrab (at least, I think they're mosaics) are really stunning.

What a beautiful sight this must be.

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