La Mezquita, Cordoba- The beauty of the Moorish style

La Mezquita, Cordoba

In many presvious posts we spoke here about the beauties of Andalucia: Unique Natural Reserves, The local style of Pueblos Blancos or about the best dishes in that region. Today we want to spoke about one of the most famous mounment maded in the Moorsih Style.

About la Mezquita, Cordoba

Although it has officially been a Christian site for almost nine centuries, La Mezquita’s identity as a mosque is inescapable – notwithstanding the cathedral insensitively placed in its centre like a huge spider in its web. As with the Alhambra, Emperor Carlos V can be blamed for this aesthetic indiscretion. Overriding the wishes of Cordoba’s mayor, Carlos authorized the cathedral’s construction in the 16th century, although he deeply regretted his decision upon beholding the completed travesty. Yet, despite time’s every indignity, the world’s third-largest mosque remains a place of grandeur, glory and ineffable mystical power.

Best 10 features of La Mezquita

1. The Caliphal Style

The mosque was begun by Caliph Abd el-Rahman I in AD 786. La Mezquita constitutes the beginning of the Caliphal architectural style, com­bining Roman, Gothic, Byzantine, Syrian and Persian elements

2. Puerta del Pardon

Originally entrance to the mosque was gained via many doors, also designed to let in light. This door , the Gate of Forgiveness (1377), is in Mudejar style and is now the only one open to the public.

3. Patio de los Naranjos

The delightful Courtyard of the Orange Trees  would have been used by worshippers to perform ritual ablutions before prayer.

4.Torre del Alminar

 A minaret once stood where the belfry now is. Built in 957, it was enveloped in this Baroque belltower.

5. Recycled Columns

Great ingenuity was required to achieve the rhythmic uniformity inside, since most of the columns used in con­struction were recycled from Roman, Visigothic and other sources. They were a hotchpotch of varying sizes, so the longer ones had to be sunk into the floor. To reach the desired height, a second tier was added.

6. Mihrab

 Dating from the 10th century, this is the jewel of the mosque. An octagonal chamber set into the wall, it was to be the sacred focal point of prayer, directed towards Mecca. No amount of ornamentation was spared. Emperor Nicephorus III sent artisans from Constan­tinople to create some of the finest Byzantine mosaics in existence.

7. Interior

The plan of the interior is that of a so- called “forest” mosque, with the rows and rows of variegated columns (856 remaining) and arches said to evoke date palms. Unlike Christian churches, based on earlier Roman basilicas with their focus on the central enthroned “judge” the Islamic aim is to induce an expansive, meditative state for prayer.

8. Capilla de Villaviciosa & Capilla Real

One of the happier Christian additions, the Villaviciosa Chapel has exuberant arches in the Mudejar style and dates from 1377. Next to it, the Royal Chapel sports appealing Mudejar stucco work and azulejo (tile) decoration.

9. Choir Stalls

The Baroque choir stalls date from 1758, and the exquisite carved mahogany depicts Biblical scenes.

10. Cathedral

In 1523 some 60 of the 1, 013 columns were removed from the heart of the mosque and others walled up so as to q construct the cathedral.

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