As you can see, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is an architectural marvel that is both innovative and typical. . Cite this page as: Dr. Shadieh Mirmobiny, "The Great Mosque of Córdoba," in, Featured | Art that brings U.S. history to life, At-Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series. My parents took me here when I was little as we travelled throughout Spain every year during the summer. The original Great Mosque of Cordoba was architecturally innovative for a number of reasons, though it did have features and characteristics that were common to that era. Spain: Then and Now, n.d. In 1252, Alfonso X succeeded King Ferdinand III and received permission from the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to make the most extreme change of all: the insertion a full-sized Renaissance-style Catholic cathedral into the center of The Great Mosque of Cordoba, the removal of all but one minaret, and that one was converted into a bell tower. While this cathedral is striking and masterful, its inclusion caused incredible shock and dismay. “Features and Characteristics.” Santa Iglesia Catedral De Córdoba. Its so gorgeous! [The great] mosque was famed as a centre for higher learning on a par with Cairo and Baghdad and was the earliest medieval university in Europe,” writes Hillenbrand. . Such an interesting history and magnificent structure. … Web. I love writing about historical sites. “Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain.” YouTube. The ideas for these different designs and their decoration came from Visigothic, Byzantine, Christian and Islamic styles. What a spectacular building. The Guardian, 02 Oct. 2009. . Capilla de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves y San Vicente Mártir. Whereas the Umayyad Mosque uses arches mainly as a structural element, the Great Mosque of Cordoba uses arches as both structural and decorative elements. It is also the only mosque in the world to be visited by a pope when Pope John Paul II came to Damascus in 2001 and visited the relics of St. John the Baptist in the mosque. Wow! These other structures had a distinct separation of arches because the second or third sets of arches were usually on a second or third floor of the building. I had wondered about that from long. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Dec. 2013. “The Great Mosque of Damascus.” Academia.edu. 13 Nov. 2014. 13 Nov. 2014. . Examining the exteriors of each structure, you will immediately see some architectural differences. I’m fascinated by this region of Spain since it has so many religious and cultural influences. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is such a fascinating and timeless piece of ancient history. There are poly-lobed arches, horseshoe arches and interlacing horseshoe arches. Trachtenberg, Marvin, and Isabelle Hyman. While the use of arches and columns was not unusual during and prior to the early-Christian era, the way the arches and columns were used in the Great Mosque of Cordoba was. That mosque is beautiful! Known locally as Mezquita-Catedral, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is one of the oldest structures still standing from the time Muslims ruled Al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia including most of Spain, Portugal, and a small section of Southern France) in the late eighth century. Exterior similarities between the two mosques include the elaborately decorative doors with artistic elements around the doors, though the specific artistic styles differ; Umayyad Mosque utilizes stained glass while the Great Mosque of Cordoba displays intricately designed mosaics. Skip the ticket line by booking in advance and then tour the historic structure with a knowledgeable guide. Stunning! An interesting fact to note about the interlacing arches is that Islamic artists “[drew] from Christian traditions [and] a variety of traditions in creating their art [and] they also….mimic what we see in Christian art of the Romanesque period where we see a lot of interlacing arches and that’s very unusual” (Ross). Bi-level arches had been used prior to the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Islamic, Christian and Roman structures such as the aqueduct bridges of Segovia and Pont du Gard, the Verona Arena, the Colosseum, the Great Mosque of Damascus, Dome of the Rock, the Basilica of San Vitale and Hagia Sophia. The mosque itself is a work of art! Labatt, Annie. 14 Nov. 2014. In 572 AD, Catholic Visigoths conquered Cordoba and began converting the Temple of Janus into a Christian church that they dedicated to St. Vincent. Hello and welcome to my blog! Web. The development of the Great Mosque paralleled these new heights of splendour. Inside the mosque, there are 856 columns supporting a series of two-tiered arches that support the roof. Amazing! One cannot visit Cordoba (in Spain) today without a trip to its main tourist attraction, The Great Mosque of Cordoba. I can’t imagine being able to walk through it and take pictures of it, myself. The evolution of the “Omeya” style in Spain is resumed in the history of the Mosque of Cordoba, as well as other styles such as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque of the Christian architecture. Great Mosque of Mecca, mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, built to enclose the Ka‘bah, the holiest shrine in Islam. Known locally as Mezquita-Catedral, the Great Mosque of Córdoba is one of the oldest structures still standing from the time Muslims ruled Al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia including most of Spain, Portugal, and a small section of Southern France) in the late 8th century. The Great Mosque of Cordoba and its Influence on Spain. (I was young and in high school and not quite as appreciative as I would be now, so it was fun to read all about it here!). From 711 and until the end of the 8th Century, the Moors campaigned in the … I would definitely love to see it one day. The use of banded arches, spoliated columns with Corinthian capitals and hypostyles arches … . Great Mosque of Cordoba. © Copyright 2020 Traveling Thru History. The Umayyad Mosque uses two sizes of a standard, simple, repeating arch while the Great Mosque of Cordoba uses a variety of styles, sizes and designs. Van Der Zee, Bibi. Constructed over two centuries, work began on the Mezquita by the Emir of Cordoba, Abd ar-Rahman I in 784 AD. I was in Cordoba this summer and the Great Mosque was definitely a treat!! Love all of the history you’ve included! Learning about the past by traveling in the present. Hopefully you will enjoy the beauty and the culture of the places I’ve seen as much as I do. Córdoba is a two hour train ride south of Madrid, and draws visitors from all over the world. . But these elements are not all that make this work an important part of art history. I wish we still made building like this. I’ve been a history junkie since I was a kid and have had the opportunity to travel and see several historic places over the past few years. Web. In Muqarnas Volume XIII: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. During that time, around 169 BC, Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus built a temple to their god, Janus. 11 Nov. 2014. 13 Nov. 2014. And I’m sure it’s even more amazing in person. The Mezquita (Mosque) dates back to the 10th century when Córdoba reached its zenith under a new emir, Abd ar-Rahman III who was one of the great rulers of Islamic history. What a beautiful building. The Great Mosque: History and Exterior The Great Mosque of Córdoba (commonly referred to as La Mezquita) is one of the jewels of Islamic civilisation. Nuns visit the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba on October 14, 2014. The Great Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the most important Islamic monument in the West, and one of the world’s most amazing sites. I didn’t see all of this because it is so huge, but what I saw was amazing! First, it was a temple built by the Romans, next it was converted to a Catholic church by the Visigoths and then it became an Islamic mosque built by Abd al-Rahman I in 784 AD before being altered in a way that has never been done before or since. Web. Both have enclosed courtyards, rectangular prayer halls and repeating abstract patterns adorning the walls. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 July 2014. This was a very good read- so glad to have stumbled upon a blog that talks about history. The difference, however, is that the Great Mosque of Cordoba did not separate the tiers with straight levels of brick or concrete. It is an irreplaceable testimony of the Caliphate of Cordoba and it is the most emblematic monument of Islamic religious architecture. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. Great Mosque of Cordoba from the Air, photo: Ulamm, (CC BY-SA 3.0) Known locally as Mezquita-Catedral, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is one of the oldest structures still standing from the time Muslims ruled Al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia including most of Spain, Portugal, and a small section of Southern France) in the late 8th century. The Great Mosque of Cordoba did away with the common practice of putting tiered arches on separate and distinct levels by removing the separating plane from the structure and instead, extended the arch column up to support a second, freestanding arch. . The architecture is stunning and rich with history. A Renaissance church squats right on top of what was once the most important mosque in the Islamic kingdom, making this building a must-see for anyone visiting Córdoba. The elements that make this structure so important vary. Islamic artists believe that by covering a space in patterns, it makes that space more holy and the reason these patterns are abstract is because Islam forbids the depiction of things observable in nature, so Islamic artists decorate their mosques in repeating floral motifs and other patterns inspired by what they see in nature. My goodness, just looking at the photos of this spectacular place thrills me to pieces. Today the Mezquita de Cordoba (Cordoba Mosque) as it is comonly known (or the Cordoba Cathedralas it was kn… YouTube, 6 Dec. 2012. All rights reserved, Top 5 Reasons Why Travelers Should Be Living in Chicago, National Monuments to See In Washington, DC, Becoming A Travel Influencer: 5 Things to Know Before You Start, 10 Ways to Get Your Travel Fix When Stuck at Home, The Influence of Art on History, Part 3: Oliver Twist. Stunning structural music created by Moors! It’s truly very beautiful and a lovely place to visit too! One of the most memorable and influential buildings of Islamic Spain was the Great Mosque of Cordoba, built between the 8 th and 10 th centuries, and in its time considered a wonder of the world by both Muslims and Christians. In the southern half of Spain, in one of the oldest cities in the region, lies one of the most unique structures in religious history. We believe art has the power to transform lives and to build understanding across cultures. Columns had been used for centuries in buildings such as the Parthenon and many early Christian basilica-styles church, but what makes the columns in the Great Mosque of Cordoba so special is that the number of them, 856, is “the most columns in any single building ever” (Ross). The Mezquita’s history begins with its initial inception and assembly in the late eighth-early ninth century, continuing into its expansions of the tenth century, culminating in its unexpected welding of ideology in the sixteenth century. 14 Nov. 2014. At this time Córdoba was the largest, most prosperous cities of Europe, outshining Byzantium and Baghdad in science, culture and the arts. One reason is that the Great Mosque of Cordoba was built about 175 years after Islam began, making it one of the first mosques ever built. The hypostyle hall in the Great Mosque at Cordoba, Spain, is a classic example of this type of arch. Lecture. And interesting point about Islamic architecture using floral motifs!! What an amazing place and I love the photos. It had been defying precedents. The original structure was built by the Umayyad ruler Ê¿Abd ar-Raḥmān I in 784–786 with extensions in the 9th and 10th centuries that doubled its size, ultimately making it one of the largest sacred buildings in the Islamic world. Can’t wait to read more of your blog! What wasn’t common was using a variety of designs for those arches. THE MEANING OF THE GREAT MOSQUE OF CORDOBA IN THE TENTH CENTURY The Great Mosque of Cordoba is universally recognized as one of the most singular monuments of medieval architecture. The Muslim invasion of the Cordoba peninsula took place in 711 AD. By the time the Great Mosque of Cordoba was finally completed over 200 years later, it had become the most innovative Islamic Mosque in the world. The Great Mosque of Cordoba The Great Mosque of Cordoba can be seen as “the earliest extant example of Andalusi architectural culture”[i]. My hubby would really love to spend hours here photographing every bit! “Umayyad Mosque.” Wikipedia. 14 Nov. 2014. The last interior feature of the Great Mosque of Cordoba is probably the most unique, and shocking, of all. Travel to Cordoba from Morocco. This is called a Hypostyle hall. In the 206 BC, Rome conquered the Carthaginian inhabitants of the area now known as Spain. The building is a visual reflection of symbols of the Muslim culture. xo Caitlin. The Visigoths were settled on … . At Córdoba the earliest section of the Great Mosque was built in 785–786. Looks awesome! Capilla de San Agustín. Capilla de los Santos Simón y Judas de la Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. The Cathedral Cordoba, n.d. These were taken from the Roman temple which had previously occupied the site and other destroyed Roman buildings. Mirmobiny, Shadieh. A few short years later, around 710 AD, Muslim forces overran Cordoba and seized control of the city. The extensive use of arches and columns makes the gallery look much larger than it is and gives the illusion that it goes on for forever. It does not only represent the Muslim faith but is also an ancestor of other mosques in al-Andalus. “The Great Mosque of Cordoba.” Smarthistory. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is a mixture of architectural styles superimposed on one another over the nine centuries its construction and renovations lasted. Must be so amazing to see in person. Its history sums up the complete evolution of the Omeyan style in Spain, along with the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque … Web. Web. West wall, from north to south: Capilla de San Ambrosio. Upon seeing the completed structure for himself, Emperor Charles V is said to have declared, “they have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city” (Wikipedia). The Great Umayyad Mosque remains one of the great symbols of the glorious period of Muslim civilisation and its pride. Wow, this is so fascinating and so absolutely beautiful! Moving on through the interior we see further similarities between the two mosques. “Islamic architecture is unique in the non-Western world in that it alone – not Buddhist, not Hindu, not Pre-Columbian – shares many of the forms and structural concerns of Byzantine, Medieval, and Renaissance architecture, having grown from identical roots in the ancient world” (Trachtenberg, 215). This, though, is the last feature which the Great Mosque of Cordoba and Umayyad Mosque have in common. Ross, Nancy. The grand mosque of Cordoba is most notable for its giant arches and its forest of over 856 (of an original 1,293) columns of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite. For centuries Rome ruled the area that they named Hispania Ulterior Baetica, of which Cordoba was the capital. Web. Capilla de la Concepción de Salizanes o del Santísimo Sacramento. I’m a architecture fan and that mosque looks spectacular. “Sacred Places: Mosque of Córdoba, Spain.” Sacred Places: Mosque of Córdoba, Spain. Web. Desiring the magnificent edifice for their new place of worship, the local bishop ritualistically cleansed the building and declared it a Catholic cathedral. New York: H.N. Thanks for letting us travel through your eyes!!! Gates, Sandra, and Megan Smith. Web. It is the use of those common features and characteristics that made this structure the fascinating marvel that it is. The Great Mosque of Cordoba was constructed in 784 AD and expanded on over the next two centuries The interior of the mosque is famously colorful, containing piggy-back arches with horseshoe arches containing alternating brick and stone voussoirs, creating a red and white striped effect. The mosque also symbolizes the long cultural dialogue between Islam and Christianity during the medieval period. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 09 May 2012. Historical Significance. As the mihrab does not follow the the qibla direction, it has been proposed that this is because the Mezquita is built in reference to the old Roman Cardo (north-south thoroughfare). Web. I have visited here! The Great Mosque of Cordoba is currently used as a Catholic church. “Córdoba, Andalusia.” Wikipedia. But then, in 766 AD, Cordoba became the capital of the newly-designated Muslim region of al-Andalus under the rule of Abd al-Rahman I. For a time, Christians and Muslims shared the Church of St. Vincent, with areas set apart where Christians and Muslims could worship separately. Web. Wow! . Celebrated for its harmony, balance, dra-matic use of light and decoration, and its overall unity and aesthetic sensitivity, the monument belongs to an es- Thank you for sharing your very informative post! Beginning in 152 BC, in a city that would become the capital of the Islamic Emirate and, for a time, the most populous city in the world, a sacred edifice was erected that has fascinated the public for generations. Be sure to check for new posts on Mondays. The Umayyad Mosque was completed in 715 AD, a full 69 years before the Great Mosque of Cordoba was even begun, and was the most prominent Islamic building of the time, serving as one of the main architectural inspirations for the Great Mosque of Cordoba. In the 20th century it … This is right up my alley. . 13 Nov. 2014. I want to visit Cordoba so badly! The horseshoe arch is a Visigothic feature, the interlacing horseshoe arch is a Christian feature and the alternating stone and red brick comes from the Byzantine tradition. . Historical treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the subject of a … Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. This is one of the funnest history lesson have had and i am not usually one to sit down and read it, the buildings look amazing the photos are just captivating. Wow. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is one example of these interactions, serving as a visual representation of the political and societal history of the region. Help Smarthistory continue to make a difference, Help make art history relevant and engaging, Arts of the Islamic world: The early period, Arts of the Islamic world: The medieval period, Dado Panel, Courtyard of the Royal Palace of Mas’ud III, The Great Mosque (or Masjid-e Jameh) of Isfahan, Arts of the Islamic world: The later period, Introduction to the court carpets of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires, Mimar Sinan, Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul, Mimar Sinan, Rüstem Pasha Mosque, Istanbul, https://smarthistory.org/the-great-mosque-of-cordoba/. Beautiful location and wonderful photos. Too beautiful to be believed! Learn how your comment data is processed. As for the style of the arches attached to those columns, that, too, is unique. Standing in the historic centre, it is one of the most beautiful examples of Muslim art in Spain. The Great Mosque of Cordoba displays these patterns by way of mosaic, which was “the most lavish way to decorate” at that time (Ross). Cordoba is a two hour train ride south of Madrid, and draws visitors from all over the world. Moving on to the interior, we see one of the more distinct elements of the Great Mosque of Cordoba. 13 Nov. 2014. The mehrab in the Cordoba mosque is somewhat exceptional as it does not point towards the south, in the direction of Mecca. By order of Abd al-Rahman I, who purchased the Christian half of the Church of St. Vincent from the local congregation, the Church of St. Vincent was destroyed and a grand mosque put in its place. Only the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Great Mosque in Damascus had vertical, navelike designs. The placement of multiple rows of arches in the layout of a church was something that was very common. Almost every surface in both mosques is covered in some form of patterned decoration to create a luxurious and holy space. Another key difference of the exterior is that Umayyad Mosque has three minarets while the Great Mosque of Cordoba only has one, though it does not appear like one anymore and we will go into the reason for that later. “Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba.” Wikipedia. Web. . Even now, it still holds an important place in the hearts of many. “Historic Centre of Cordoba.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Web. Web. UNESCO World Heritage Centre, n.d. 13 Nov. 2014. 13 Nov. 2014. An interconnected world is not as recent as we think. It is to Córdoba what the Alhambra Palace is to Granada and the Giralda tower is to Seville, a unique focal point of identification, appropriated by Christians through conquest. Gorgeous pictures! Witcombe, Christopher L.C.E. This practice of adapting and incorporating previous architectural styles and local elements is what makes Islamic architecture so one-of-a-kind. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 June 2014. Thank you so much for such an informative piece. The history of the Mosque of Cordoba can be traced back as far as the Visigoths, an ancient Germanic people. Inside the Great Mosque of Cordoba are further examples of interlacing arches, poly-lobed arches, horseshoe arches, interlacing horseshoe arches and the standard single arch. “Umayyad Conquest of Hispania.” Wikipedia. Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe, n.d. Cordoba Mihrab – Courtesy of Khan Academy. The modern building is the product of centuries of development, with its oldest parts dating to a 16th century Ottoman renovation. The Great Mosque is amongst the oldest sites of continuous prayer since the beginnings of Islam and the fourth holiest mosque in the world. “Umayyad Mosque & The Great Mosque of Córdoba.” YouTube. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the most important monument of all the Western Islamic world, and one of the most amazing in the world. And the history is quite fascinating. In 1236 C.E., immediately after the fall of Cordoba this magnificent mosque was converted into a Catholic church. “Córdoba: The City That Changed the World.” The Guardian. This is one I had to research for my Art History class and hope to visit some day. The final two reasons why this structure is so important are that it is the only mosque on earth with a cathedral inside and that it includes such a unique Hypostyle hall. . Khan Academy, n.d. Just, wow. The great mosque at Cordoba is a breath-taking legacy of the Berber-Arab conquests in the Iberian Peninsula. The Great Mosque of Cordoba [named in español Mezquita – Catedral de Córdoba] is a complex site of extraordinarily rich history and key development in Muslim architecture in a Western empire. What a beautiful structure! 2 Transverse Arch Córdoba's most famous monument, the Great Mosque, is located in this section of the city, where it was once connected to the Umayyad palace with a covered passage over the street (sabat). We created Smarthistory to provide students around the world with the highest-quality educational resources for art and cultural heritage—for free. Aside from putting a twist on the traditional style of bi-level arches, the Great Mosque of Cordoba utilized a wide variety of arch designs and placement. My name is Erin and I’m so glad you decided to stop by. Aside from that feature, these two magnificent structures have various other similarities as well as several distinct differences. Along with sharing architectural elements and themes, the Great Mosque of Cordoba also follows the tradition of Umayyad Mosque in being built over the site of a local Christian church. “The Art of the Umayyad Period in Spain (711–-1031).” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. 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