Results 11-20of 21 Reviews
Broadbeach Waters, Australia
November 30, 2006
From journal Captivating Cordoba
Ladera Ranch, California
October 26, 2006
To take a stroll through the historic quarter of Cordoba is to discover a beautiful network of small streets, alleys, squares and whitewashed courtyards arranged around the Mosque-Cathedral, which reflects the importance of the city during medieval times and which is a real symbol of the capital.
Its fame spread after it was built, due to its ingenious construction and its wealth. The "forest of columns" (there are nearly a thousand of them), set on top of the Visigoth basilica, is one of the main attractions of this place. Nineteen naves make up the quadrangular plan of the early mosque, divided by a double series of arches, which combine Moorish arches and semicircular arches. In addition to alternating brick with stone, and red with white, other decorative elements were used, such as sculpted marble, stucco, mosaics, and plasterwork.
From journal Experience Cordoba, Spain
by Owen Lipsett
New York, New York
January 24, 2006
The most beautiful and best-preserved Moorish public building, the Mezquita (whose name simply means "mosque" in Spanish), is almost synonymous with Cordoba's age of greatness in most visitors' minds. Originally built atop the ruins of a Visigothic Cathedral in the late 8th century, it was expanded almost continuously over the next two centuries by progressively wealthier and more ambitious emirs. Contrary to popular belief, it remained relatively undisturbed for three centuries after Fernando the Saint reconquered Cordoba in 1236; it was only in 1523 (and against the vehement opposition of the Christian town council that an incongruous Cathedral was placed at its heart, damaging, but not destroying, its neat symmetry.
Entrance is through the Patio de Naranjos a walled former ablutions court on its north side decorated with the orange trees from which its name derives. It's a pleasant enough place to linger in its own right, but to continue farther you have to purchase a ticket (€8, good for one visit only) before entering. This separation between the court and the Mezquita itself dates to its being commandeered for use as a cathedral. Originally, all 19 of the doors between the Patio and the building itself were open during worship, with orange trees planted in such a way that they lined up with its veritable grove of columns topped with double horseshoe arches. The Mezquita's interior was thus sunlit and worshippers were drawn inward toward the Mihrab, the sanctuary from which the words of the imam emanated and toward which prayer was directed, as it indicated the direction to Mecca.
These doors have remained closed since its consecration for Christian worship, and consequently the Renaissance Cathedral at its heart, whose ornate decorations contrast starkly with those of the Mosque surrounding it, is the only area that is well lighted. On entering, my first impression was that the columns and horseshoe arches were more attractive than impressive; it was only once I came to appreciate their sheer number and symmetry that I began to appreciate the Mosque's beauty. There are variations in the color (particularly in the marble used for the columns themselves) and structure of the arches, but their overall harmony is nevertheless impressive in a way unlike anything else I have seen.
Upon seeing the damage inflicted by the Cathedral's construction, Emperor Charles V, who authorized the act, lamented that its architect "destroyed something that was unique in the world." Ironically, the manner in which simple, repetitive Islamic architectural elements put all the ornate visual propaganda of the Spanish Empire to shame serves in a way to further emphasize their beauty. The Mezquita's attractiveness grows the longer you remain inside, or better yet, on multiple visits (which are possible since you can enter freely to attend Mass, when only the Cathedral is lighted and photography is prohibited). As it was intended for daily worship, this further affirms the brilliance of its design, making it a fitting memorial to medieval Europe's most enlightened and cultured city.
From journal Cordoba: Where History Takes a Siesta
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
March 26, 2004
Cordoba, birthplace of Seneca and Maimonides, was the most educated and cultured city in 10th century Europe. Now, this is a city where the old city was declared by the UNESCO a World Heritage Site, and you know why that is as soon as you enter it – you feel like you are a time traveler who just overcame several centuries of civilization and transferred from the modern-day, rectangular, twin apartment buildings to the times when Jews and Arabs lived peacefully next to each other and the city was full of poets, philosophers, doctors, and mystics.
The most amazing site in Cordoba is the Mezquita, an enormous mosque that was converted into a Christian cathedral. The mosque was built in the 8th century on the site of a Visigoth cathedral and kept getting enlarged over the course of the next two centuries. This is the first thing that you see when you enter the old city and the last thing you see when leaving it. The mosque occupies a very large block of the city. From the outside, the building looks like a brick-walled fortress with mudejar horseshoe patterns on the walls. If you enter through the Bell Tower, you will see a huge difference in the appearance of the Bell Tower from the rest – it’s pure baroque, as the tower was built in the 16th-17th centuries, with gorgeous ornaments on the inside of the ceiling. The mosque/church is probably the most amazing combination of eight centuries of architecture you would ever see. Here are the elements of the mudejar style alongside the Hispano-Flemish, Renaissance, and baroque features. The first things that makes this place stand out from any other church are the marble columns, connected with each other by semi-circular arches with white and red vertical stripes. The most important part of the old mosque is the mihrab, dating back from the 10th century, built during the last and largest expansions of the mosque. It is a large wall now behind the iron gates, decorated with mudejar horseshoe shape stucco, mosaics and plaster. Mihrab holds a sacred stone.
From journal Travels to Spain - Cordoba, Granada and Malaga
Berwick, Nova Scotia
November 27, 2003
The mosque was very impressive. It was larger and had more columns than we had expected--and we expected quite a bit! It definitely deserves its designation as the most important mosque in the Western world. The mosque contains 850 columns and is made of jasper, marble, granite, and onyx.
The "Mezquita de Cordoba" was begun in 784 by Abd al-Rahman I when he bought the Visigoth basilica of San Vicente, which was then torn down and the mosque was built on the site. At this point, the mosque was one-third of its current size. Three periods of additions brought it up to its current glory. Between 822-852, under the reign of Abd al-Rahman II, the mosque housed an original copy of the Koran and a bone from the arm of the prophet Mohammed. This made the pilgrimage to Cordoba second in importance only to the pilgrimage to Mecca. Construction of the famous Mihrab (prayer niche) took place between 961 and 976 AD, and this became the place where the Koran was kept. Finally, the size of the mosque was doubled by Al Mansur in 987 AD and it became the largest mosque in the world. When the Christians took over, they originally left it largely undisturbed and dedicated the entire site to the Virgin Mary. In 1371, the Christians did build the Capilla de Villaviciosa using Moorish craftsmen so that it would blend in with the Mudejar architecture. However, in 1523, an inconsistent Baroque cathedral was started in the center of the Mosque. Charles V sanctioned this, but he was reportedly horrified when he saw the results - and so were we.
From journal Viva Espana!
August 3, 2003
Inside of this awesome structure is a forest of over 850 columns which were "recycled" from abandoned Roman and Visigothic temples. This building was quite literally pieced together like a quilt! Atop these ancient columns rest two layers of gigantic candycane-striped arches which make for a glorious visual effect.
La Mezquite is sometimes refered to as the upside-down building because the majority of its weight is on the top. In the 16th century, after the expulsion of the Moors, many of the central arches and supports were torn out. This was done to make room for a new cathedral. It was, of course, a major weakening of the structure which (from a technical standpoint) should have collapsed.
After 750 years of being in operation as a cathedral, all of Spain still refers to it as La Mezquite or even Mezquita. Perhaps this is done out of a sheer admiration for the Moors who designed such an engineering marvel: A building that shouldn't be able to stand at all -- yet does so solidly.
From journal Cordoba's Endless Majesty
July 13, 2002
From journal Capturing Cordoba
The architectural style evolved during it`s construction, reaching the greatest splendor during the caliphate of al-Haken. Do not miss great skylighted domes for extra interior light and ingenious engineering system which consists of clustered pillars bearing intersecting lobed arches to support the domes.
Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
June 8, 2002
From a sane standpoint, now its only virtue is that entry to the mosque is free before 0930 - for prayer I understand. Still, there is plenty of the old mosque to see, gracious narrow pillars supporting brightly coloured arches and, most striking of all, the Mihrab indicating the direction of Mecca. The original bell tower has not survived, but the terrific walls of the Mezquita surround another one, the Courtyard of Orange trees, and the main building.
From journal Charming Andalucian City
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
November 11, 2000
This mosque initiated the so-called Califal style, which combined Roman, Gothic, Byzantine, Syrian and Persian elements and was the starting-point of all Arabian-Hispanic architecture of the centuries to come, up to the Mudéjar-style of Arabians living in the Spain reconquered by Christians.
After the reconquest of Cordoba in 1236, a baroque church was built inside it and today it is the Cathedral of Cordoba.
From journal Cordoba, 1000 years after