The Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain

The Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain

On the morning of 29th October 2016, the last day of our Mediterranean cruise holiday, we travelled by coach (1.5 hours) from Seville to Cordoba to see the Mezquita (The Great Mosque of Cordoba & Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption).

The City of Cordoba is 141 kms NE of Seville, alongside the Guadalquivir River. It has a population of approximately 325,000.

The feature photo above shows the Arco del Triunfo in front of the SE wall of the Mezquita taken from the restored Roman bridge that spans the Guadalquivir River.

_DSC1343Our entry point to the old city, offering a view of the Southeastern wall of the Mosque

During the 10th and 11th centuries, under Islamic rule, Córdoba became a cultural, political, financial and economic centre; as one of the most advanced cities in the world, with a population high of around 400,000. It was in this context that the Mezquita was constructed (without the Catholic Cathedral in the centre).

_DSC1344Souvenir shops along our entry / exit route to the old city

_DSC1349View along southwestern wall of Mezquita (right)


Inside the boundary walls of Mezquita, walking to towards the mosque entry door (right)

While the Mosque-Cathedral has been considered an example of cooperation between Muslims and Christians over hundreds of years, that appears to be an inaccurate assessment of the situation. The site is an active Catholic Cathedral in which Muslims are not permitted to pray. According to an article in The National Review (New York), “The Catholic Church officially registered ownership of the cathedral in 2006, although it has controlled it since the 13th century.”

However, it is believed that prior to 784 Muslims and Christians shared the land and a Visigoth Church on the site. However, in 784 the church was demolished and the Mosque (a quarter of the final size) was built there, under Islamic control. The Mosque was expanded many times to its final size before Cordoba was returned to Christian control in 1236. At that time a Catholic Cathedral was built in the centre of the Mosque and the Catholic Church took control of the whole site.

The following 8 images hopefully provide some concept of the openness, vastness and design cues of the Great Mosque’s interior.


_DSC1356_DSC1359_DSC1361_DSC1390_DSC1392_DSC1393_DSC1395Christian Symbols in the 4th quadrant of the Mosque

_DSC1364Arriving at the much smaller, much taller, much more ornate Cathedral

Intersection of Mosque and Cathedral

_DSC1379_DSC1382_DSC1378_DSC1383_DSC1384Intersection of Mosque and Cathedral

The following image is not mine, but is used with permission.

Mezquita_de_Córdoba_desde_el_aire_(Córdoba,_España)The Mezquita, Cordoba. Owner Hameryco. used under license – Wikimedia Commons

The above photos shows more clearly the relationship between The Mosque, The Cathedral and the old city of Cordoba and it shows The Minaret (converted to the Cathedral’s Bell Tower) .

Also important in the history of Cordoba is the Jewish Quarter. We wandered the streets there and stopped off for a scheduled lunch.

_DSC1416_DSC1428_DSC1437Statue of Ben Maimonides, Jewish philosopher, astronomer and doctor, born in Cordoba  1130s

_DSC1438_DSC1447_DSC1454The Stairway to Lunch

_DSC1456Quick view of the Restaurant’s Kitchen as we passed it’s doorway

I don’t remember what we ate for lunch, but despite that I’m certain it was enjoyed by all.

Then back onto the streets to find our bus for the return trip to Seville.

_DSC1457Bride & Bridesmaids on their way to the wedding

_DSC1459_DSC1460_DSC1467_DSC1468_DSC1471Rear view of Arco Del Triunfo also called Puerta del Puente (Bridge Gate) at entry to City

Prior to this visit I had heard about the Mezquita of Cordoba from friends and work colleagues. I didn’t ever consider that I would be able to see it for myself. Now I treasure the memory.

This is also true of all of the destinations on our “Voyage to Antiquity”. We would highly recommend it.

If you would like to see what “Voyages to Antiquity” has to offer, you can find out at:

  • Peter Stanton
    Posted at 17:17h, 16 February Reply

    Absolutely fantastic journey through antiquity…thanks AD

    • alistairstravel
      Posted at 18:22h, 16 February Reply

      I’m pleased you share our feelings for this adventure Peter and appreciate that you taken the time to make this comment.

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