The Great Mosque of Córdoba located in the Spanish region of Andalusia was originally a small Christian Visigoth church. When the Moor Muslims came to rule Spain, Abd al-Rahman I ordered the construction of the Great Mosque in 784.
This Mosque was further expanded by later Muslim rulers. This Mosque of Córdoba was important to the Islamic community of al-Andalus for three centuries. In 1236, Córdoba was converted to a Roman Catholic church. Since the early 21st century the Spanish Muslims have been lobbying the Roman Catholic church to allow them to pray at this site, but have however to date been denied permission.
In its heyday, the Great Mosque of Córdoba was used as the main place for prayer, it was also a hall for teaching Islam and the site for Sharia Law cases.
Architecture And Design
The architectural design of the Great Mosque of Córdoba is inspired by the Great Mosque of Damascus, the Dome of the Rock, and the Aachen Cathedral. Architects also incorporate Roman columns of Gothic structure and others sent from different regions of Iberia as gifts. The Columns, arches, and other decorative aspects of the Mosque were incorporated with ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass. Mosaics and azulejos were also incorporated in the design of the Mosque. The walls were also decorated with Quranic inscriptions. The mihrab of the Mosque was considered an architectural masterpiece with its geometric and flowing designs of plants.
However, when Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, the center of the Great Mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. As time passed other Christian features were added such as chapels and a nave. The minaret of the Mosque was also converted to the bell tower.
It is reported that Abd al-Rahman I is buried under the site of the Cordoba Mosque. Abd al-Rahman I initially named the Mosque ‘Aljama Mosque’ in honor of his wife.
The Great Mosque of Córdoba was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a part of the Historic Center of Córdoba in 1984. Although Muslims are not allowed to pray at this Mosque, it is a must-visit with its amazing architecture and remarkable historical significance.
Architecture and Design
This Mosque was built over a Visigoth church measuring approximately 8m X 8m with four columns dividing the interior into nine parts. The designs in each of these nine parts are unique and follow Islamic design concepts. This Mosque, which was converted to a chapel in 1186, is constructed of brick and small stones. The overall architectural design and formation is a blend of Moorish style and local building techniques. However, much of its influence can be attributed to the caliphate in Córdoba and the Great Mosque of Córdoba.
After the conversion of the Mosque to a church, the qibla wall and mihrab were lost when an apse was built in the Mudejar architecture style. Today, this building also features many Christian-themed decorations and murals of Christ and other figures.
Today, this building functions as a church. However, Muslim travelers will get a feel of the Mosque that it was, especially with the inscription in Kufic script on the facade of the building that reveals the details of the Mosque's origin.
Despite the changes over the years, the building retains its ‘Moorish character’ to date. It was declared a National Monument in 1931 and was further renovated between 1970 and 1973. The Mosque of Almonaster la Real is a must-visit place while on your Halal trip to Spain.
Picture Credit - marbellaazul.com
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