The Great Cathedral and Mosque in Cordoba, Spain, also known by the names Mezquita and Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady, is hailed as one of the grandest monuments of the Moorish architecture. The medieval structure used to be an Islamic mosque, and later converted into a Roman Catholic Cathedral. The Great Cathedral and Mosque dates back to the 10th century, a time when Cordoba was the largest and most affluent city in Europe.
The Great Cathedral and Mosque is the largest attraction in Cordoba and the whole of Spain. The entire structure is incredibly massive—spanning 24,000 square meters, all in all, housing 856 esthetic columns made of finest materials such as granite, marble, and jasper. With the dimensions it owns, it is unarguably the biggest place of worship in the entire world and the title makes all tourists want to see its grandness. One of the architectural highlights of this must-see building is its “forest of columns” topped with red and white striped Islamic-style arches which serve as a reminder of the glorious status of Cordoba during the medieval period.
Touring the grounds of The Great Cathedral and Mosque is like living in the ancient times. Built as a mosque in 786, the building was restructured several times during the Muslim rule but remained true to its original form. In 1236 under the Christian Reconquista of Cordoba, it was converted into a church and four centuries after, a Renaissance cathedral was constructed at the center of the building. The size of the cathedral is overwhelming that it dominates the rest of the structure. Despite the prominence of the cathedral, the equally attractive Islamic mosques are highly-preserved which renders an opportunity for art enthusiasts to appreciate two separate beauties of Muslim and Christian architectures. From the modest yet intimate Islam mosque structures, the attraction seamlessly transforms into the richly-decorated and well-illuminated grand Cathedral, giving an awesome contrast of two different themes.
The Great Cathedral and Mosque is an absolute must when touring Spain. It does not just have relevance in history, it also plays a significant role in displaying Europe’s culture, influences, and architecture. There is probably no other place in the world one can see the unification of architectural treasures belonging to different eras, including Egyptian, Greek-Roman, and Visigothic styles, and ancient art in the likes of Byzantine mosaic with praising inscriptions. The Cathedral in the center is an explicit display of art in itself. The styles of the 16th and 17th centuries are highly evident: Spanish-Flemish vaults, Renaissance domes, baroque altars, and treasure chambers that protect precious religious relics from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Other features that make The Great Cathedral and Mosque worthy to be seen include the elaborately-designed prayer niche or mihrab accentuated with geometric and flowing design of nature’s images such as landscapes and plants. The colorful mosaics, bright minarets, elegant stained-glass, spotless white marbles, fountains, and courtyards are features that make The Great Cathedral and Mosque inviting.
Touring Spain will not be complete without passing at Cordoba and its majestic The Great Cathedral and Mosque. Standing on its grounds gives a powerful impression of sacredness and richness both felt at the same time. It is indeed an incredible opportunity to be consumed by the beauty of The Great Cathedral and Mosque, the world’s most elaborate place of worship that harmoniously represent two different beliefs.