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Encyclopedia > Great Mosque at Cordoba
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Interior of the Mezquita

Mezquita, (from Arabic "Masjid"), is Spanish for "mosque".


This article deals with the one in Cordoba, Spain. It is a 10th century Moorish Islamic house of prayer. The site is older than the building, having been host to a Roman pagan temple, the cathedral church of St Vincent of Saragossa built by the Catholic bishops under Visigothic rule, and finally the Mezquita itself. Within is a Renaissance cathedral, built by the Christian conquerors in the early 13th century.


The construction of the Mezquita lasted for over two centuries, starting in 784 A.D. under the supervision of the emir of Cordoba, Abd al-Rahman I. The Mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd-al-Rahman III ordered a new minaret, while Alhaken II, in 961, enlarged the plan of the building and enriched the mihrab. The last of the reforms was carried out by Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir in 987. It was the most magnificent of the more than 1,000 mosques in the city. The city in which it was built was subject to frequent invasion, and each conquering wave added their own mark to the architecture. The building is most notable for its giant arches, with over 1,000 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple which had occupied the site previously, as well as other destroyed Roman buildings. Besides the horseshoe-topped arches, the Mezquita also features richly gilded prayer niches. It reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and orange tree courtyard.

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Interior courtyard of the Mezquita, Cordoba

The very year (1236) that Cordoba was recaptured from the Moors, by King Ferdinand III of Castile and rejoined Christendom, the mosque was reconsecrated a Christian church. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the structure of the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features: Enrique II rebuilt the chapel in the 14th century, and a nave was constructed with the patronage of Carlos V, king of a united Spain. Artisans and architects continued to improve on the existing structure until the late 18th century.


See also

  • Alhambra in Granada is a palace built by the Moors, also with Renaissance reforms ordered by Charles V.
  • Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was a church turned into a Masjid by the Turks. Reverted to a Church in 1913, Kemal Ataturk secularized it in 1934 and the Hagia Sophia is now a museum.

Visiting Information

Entrance fee: 6.50 € (Children 3.25 €)


Hours: 10:00 - 18:30 Monday through Saturday, 13:30 - 18:30 Sunday


External link

  • Mezquita de Cordoba (http://www.spain.info/TourSpain/Arte+y+Cultura/Monumentos/A/FP/0/Mezquita%20de%20Cordoba?language=EN)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Mezquita - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (724 words)
The Mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd ar-Rahman III ordered a new minaret, while Al-Hakam II, in 961, enlarged the plan of the building and enriched the mihrab.
Unique among all other mosques, the Mihrab does not point towards Mecca because the foundations of the building are borrowed from the old Roman and Visigoth constructions.
The very year (1236) that Cordoba was recaptured from the Moors, by King Ferdinand III of Castile and rejoined Christendom, the mosque was reconsecrated a Christian church.
Architecture - MSN Encarta (1383 words)
The Great Mosque at Al Qayrawān in Tunisia was built in ad 670, but its well-preserved state today reflects construction of the period 817-902.
The Great Mosque at Córdoba in Spain covers 2.4 hectares (6 acres) and was built in several stages from 786 to 965.
The earliest remaining mosque, the Qutb, near Delhi, was begun in 1195.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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