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On approaching the Mezquita, one's first thoughts are of approaching a massive fortress. All around the exterior there are massive doors, highly decorative but closed and uninviting.

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Photo Right - One of the Mezquita's many exterior doors.

Under the Moors it was known as the Aljama Mosque, at its time the second largest mosque in the world. Taking over 200 years to complete, the Mosque's construction started in 784AD. With the capture of Cordoba by Fernando III in 1236AD the mosque was converted to a cathedral and almost all the outer doors were sealed. During Moorish times, the many open doors of the mosque let in light which made the structure brighter, and, one would imagine, a more welcoming place than it is today.


A section of the cathedral and its elaborate ceiling.

The Mezquita is a large structure taking up a good city block.

Inlayed ceiling and beams can be found in some sections of the Mezquita.


When the mosque was converted into a cathedral, a third of the pillars were removed for a courtyard. In the center of what is left of the mosque, the arches were reworked and the ceiling raised, this space is now the heart of the cathedral (photo above, left).

Inside the Mezquita are row after row of arches and pillars. Marble was required for the mosque's construction. Many of the pillars in the Mezquita were pilfered from earlier Roman buildings. If the pillar was too long, it was sunk into the ground and reshaped to fit in with the other columns.

It is almost impossible to portray this masterpiece of architecture appropriately in photographs. The repeating arches and soaring ceiling are balanced by exquisite detail decorations.


Photo above - the entrance to the "mihrab" (Islamic prayer room) is adorned with Byzantine mosaics and bordered by Koran inscriptions done in gold.

Photo Right - elaborate arches with in the Masquita.

Photo left - all around the perimeter of the Mezquita are chapels, each dedicated to a saint.

Click on the photo above to see the larger version.

Go to The Alczar de Los Reyes

Check out Seville

Tip - Enter the Mezquita through the courtyard.


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This page last updated February 2007