In Muqarnas Volume XIII: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. I’ve really enjoyed learning about the history of the places I’ve been and really want to share what I’ve learned with others. . Constructed over two centuries, work began on the Mezquita by the Emir of Cordoba, Abd ar-Rahman I in 784 AD. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 June 2014. What an amazing place and I love the photos. And I’m sure it’s even more amazing in person. 2 Transverse Arch Historical Significance. Skip the ticket line by booking in advance and then tour the historic structure with a knowledgeable guide. (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!). Too beautiful to be believed! It does not only represent the Muslim faith but is also an ancestor of other mosques in al-Andalus. The Great Mosque of Cordoba and its Influence on Spain. We created Smarthistory to provide students around the world with the highest-quality educational resources for art and cultural heritage—for free. Labatt, Annie. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Dec. 2013. During this period, Cordoba was one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. 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. Córdoba’s Mosque-Cathedral is a stunning monument to the two religions and cultures that have shaped Andalusia: Islam and Christianity. 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. 14 Nov. 2014. Both have enclosed courtyards, rectangular prayer halls and repeating abstract patterns adorning the walls. “Features and Characteristics.” Santa Iglesia Catedral De Córdoba. UNESCO World Heritage Centre, n.d. 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. I’m fascinated by this region of Spain since it has so many religious and cultural influences. Demirhan, Meryem. While the original features of the mosque are enough to make this building an innovative piece of architecture, it wasn’t until after King Ferdinand III of Castile conquered the city in June 1236 that the most truly unique feature of this ancient masterpiece came to be. xo Caitlin. 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. I love all the little details at Cordoba and how unique it is. Witcombe, Christopher L.C.E. Web. 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. From 711 and until the end of the 8th Century, the Moors campaigned in the … Must be so amazing to see in person. The building is a visual reflection of symbols of the Muslim culture. The mehrab in the Cordoba mosque is somewhat exceptional as it does not point towards the south, in the direction of Mecca. . Capilla de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves y San Vicente Mártir. I didn’t see all of this because it is so huge, but what I saw was amazing! Mirmobiny, Shadieh. 14 Nov. 2014. My goodness, just looking at the photos of this spectacular place thrills me to pieces. The Guardian, 02 Oct. 2009. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is such a fascinating and timeless piece of ancient history. This is called a Hypostyle hall. At Córdoba the earliest section of the Great Mosque was built in 785–786. [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. Trachtenberg, Marvin, and Isabelle Hyman. This is one I had to research for my Art History class and hope to visit some day. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 July 2014. Its so gorgeous! 14 Nov. 2014. What a beautiful structure! 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/. Such an interesting history and magnificent structure. Capilla de la Concepción de Salizanes o del Santísimo Sacramento. This created an innovative design that had never been seen before. 12 Nov. 2014. Print. The ideas for these different designs and their decoration came from Visigothic, Byzantine, Christian and Islamic styles. Historical treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the subject of a … 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. Over the next 600 years, many other changes would be made to the mosque to bring it more in line with Christian churches, but the biggest change of all happened almost immediately. Can’t wait to read more of your blog! What a beautiful building. Be sure to check for new posts on Mondays. It is an irreplaceable testimony of the Caliphate of Cordoba and it is the most emblematic monument of Islamic religious architecture. 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. Web. “Umayyad Conquest of Hispania.” Wikipedia. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is currently used as a Catholic church. Wow. It includes several elements of architecture and style that were typical of the period when it was created, but it also has several elements that were innovative and unique. 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. This, though, is the last feature which the Great Mosque of Cordoba and Umayyad Mosque have in common. It had been defying precedents. Most of the arches have an alternating stone and red brick pattern while others are covered in mosaics. I would definitely love to see it one day. “The Great Mosque of Damascus.” Academia.edu. Web. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. While this cathedral is striking and masterful, its inclusion caused incredible shock and dismay. . I wish we still made building like this. 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. The Mezquita’s architectural significance lies in its being a structurally speaking, groundbreaking structure for its time. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 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. Even now, it still holds an important place in the hearts of many. Web. I have visited here! The history of the Mosque of Cordoba can be traced back as far as the Visigoths, an ancient Germanic people. The Visigoths were settled on … . Web. Hopefully you will enjoy the beauty and the culture of the places I’ve seen as much as I do. 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. 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- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 09 May 2012. 13 Nov. 2014. . Fought over for centuries by Christians and Muslims alike, the Great Mosque of Cordoba will forever be a place that stands for the harmony of artistic, architectural and religious traditions. Examining the exteriors of each structure, you will immediately see some architectural differences. Great Mosque of Cordoba. Web. Hello and welcome to my blog! What a spectacular building. “The Art of the Umayyad Period in Spain (711–-1031).” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. 13 Nov. 2014. Whereas the Umayyad Mosque uses arches mainly as a structural element, the Great Mosque of Cordoba uses arches as both structural and decorative elements. In the 206 BC, Rome conquered the Carthaginian inhabitants of the area now known as Spain. 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. There are poly-lobed arches, horseshoe arches and interlacing horseshoe arches. . The mosque also symbolizes the long cultural dialogue between Islam and Christianity during the medieval period. I was in Cordoba this summer and the Great Mosque was definitely a treat!! The Great Mosque of Cordoba displays these patterns by way of mosaic, which was “the most lavish way to decorate” at that time (Ross). I’m a architecture fan and that mosque looks spectacular. N.p., 26 May 2013. The Cathedral Cordoba, n.d. 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. Summarised extracts from a full article: 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. To examine fully whether or not the Great Mosque of Cordoba was truly an innovative masterpiece, let us compare it to the other prominent Islamic structure of that time: The Great Mosque of Damascus, also known as the Umayyad Mosque. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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. . The shape of the horseshoe arch allowed architects to achieve greater height in the arches and it gave an opportunity for greater visual pattern and rhythm in the design. The architecture is stunning and rich with history. 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. During that time, around 169 BC, Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus built a temple to their god, Janus. Wow, this is so fascinating and so absolutely beautiful! Wow! Khan Academy, n.d. 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. 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). “Umayyad Mosque.” Wikipedia. The elements that make this structure so important vary. 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 believe that the brilliant histories of art belong to everyone, no matter their background. Web. Abrams, 1986. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 July 2014. In 1236 C.E., immediately after the fall of Cordoba this magnificent mosque was converted into a Catholic church. For a time, Christians and Muslims shared the Church of St. Vincent, with areas set apart where Christians and Muslims could worship separately. The Muslim invasion of the Cordoba peninsula took place in 711 AD. Taking the form of a discrete chamber, and richly ornamented with carved marble and gold mosaics, the mihrab is the focal point of the mosque’s prayer hall as expanded during the reign of the second Andalusi Umayyad caliph, al-Hakam II (r. 961-76). I want to visit Cordoba so badly! This practice of adapting and incorporating previous architectural styles and local elements is what makes Islamic architecture so one-of-a-kind. © Copyright 2020 Traveling Thru History. A few short years later, around 710 AD, Muslim forces overran Cordoba and seized control of the city. A symbol and reminder to the world of the golden civilisation that Muslims built in Europe over one thousand years ago. Only the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Great Mosque in Damascus had vertical, navelike designs. 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. These were taken from the Roman temple which had previously occupied the site and other destroyed Roman buildings. The Great Mosque is amongst the oldest sites of continuous prayer since the beginnings of Islam and the fourth holiest mosque in the world. 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. One cannot visit Cordoba (in Spain) today without a trip to its main tourist attraction, The Great Mosque of Cordoba. What wasn’t common was using a variety of designs for those arches. An interconnected world is not as recent as we think. 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). Web. In 572 AD, Catholic Visigoths conquered Cordoba and began converting the Temple of Janus into a Christian church that they dedicated to St. Vincent. The placement of multiple rows of arches in the layout of a church was something that was very common. 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). “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). Web. . My name is Erin and I’m so glad you decided to stop by. 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. The Great Umayyad Mosque remains one of the great symbols of the glorious period of Muslim civilisation and its pride. 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. 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. “Córdoba, Andalusia.” Wikipedia. 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. “Córdoba: The City That Changed the World.” The Guardian. Van Der Zee, Bibi. “Sacred Places: Mosque of Córdoba, Spain.” Sacred Places: Mosque of Córdoba, Spain. Nuns visit the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba on October 14, 2014. 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. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is considered to be one of the most significant and monumental expressions of Islamic rule in Spain. The hypostyle hall in the Great Mosque at Cordoba, Spain, is a classic example of this type of arch. Thanks for letting us travel through your eyes!!! 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. 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. West wall, from north to south: Capilla de San Ambrosio. Soon after, various sections of the mosque were converted into chapels. Beautiful location and wonderful photos. Great Mosque of Mecca, mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, built to enclose the Ka‘bah, the holiest shrine in Islam. Cordoba is a two hour train ride south of Madrid, and draws visitors from all over the world. Stunning structural music created by Moors! This mosque was begun in 784 AD and over the course of the next two hundred years, would receive various modifications and alterations by the Muslim rulers of al-Andalus. Standing in the historic centre, it is one of the most beautiful examples of Muslim art in Spain. Amazing! 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. 13 Nov. 2014. For centuries Rome ruled the area that they named Hispania Ulterior Baetica, of which Cordoba was the capital. 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.” Smarthistory. 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. The difference, however, is that the Great Mosque of Cordoba did not separate the tiers with straight levels of brick or concrete. . 13 Nov. 2014. 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. Ross, Nancy. 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. And the history is quite fascinating. Capilla de los Santos Simón y Judas de la Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. 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. That mosque is beautiful! I can’t imagine being able to walk through it and take pictures of it, myself. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.d. Web. Web. As for the style of the arches attached to those columns, that, too, is unique. 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. 13 Nov. 2014. Stunning! Spain: Then and Now, n.d. But these elements are not all that make this work an important part of art history. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The modern building is the product of centuries of development, with its oldest parts dating to a 16th century Ottoman renovation. “Great Mosque of Cordoba.” 13 Nov. 2014. . 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. While this cathedral is striking and masterful, its inclusion caused incredible shock and dismay. I’m jealous of your travels. Almost every surface in both mosques is covered in some form of patterned decoration to create a luxurious and holy space. … This was a very good read- so glad to have stumbled upon a blog that talks about history. 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. It’s truly very beautiful and a lovely place to visit too! 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). The Great Mosque of Cordoba The Great Mosque of Cordoba can be seen as “the earliest extant example of Andalusi architectural culture”[i]. 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. “Umayyad Mosque & The Great Mosque of Córdoba.” YouTube. 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. 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. 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. 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. We believe art has the power to transform lives and to build understanding across cultures. Inside the mosque, there are 856 columns supporting a series of two-tiered arches that support the roof. Travel to Cordoba from Morocco. My parents took me here when I was little as we travelled throughout Spain every year during the summer. At this time Córdoba was the largest, most prosperous cities of Europe, outshining Byzantium and Baghdad in science, culture and the arts. Moving on to the interior, we see one of the more distinct elements of the Great Mosque of Cordoba. . Gates, Sandra, and Megan Smith. What a spectacularly fascinating piece of architecture and amazing history! 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. 13 Nov. 2014. Moving on through the interior we see further similarities between the two mosques. Today the Mezquita de Cordoba (Cordoba Mosque) as it is comonly known (or the Cordoba Cathedralas it was kn… 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. Desiring the magnificent edifice for their new place of worship, the local bishop ritualistically cleansed the building and declared it a Catholic cathedral. Thank you for sharing your very informative post! . Wow! 13 Nov. 2014. Capilla de San Agustín. The development of the Great Mosque paralleled these new heights of splendour. The establishment of a great Mosque reflected this achievement. Over the next two decades, with the intent to recreate his birth city of Damascus, al-Rahman worked to design a mosque that would rival the Great Mosque of Damascus while incorporating local styles and elements. Upon seeing the completed structure for himself, Emperor Charles V is sa… Love all of the history you’ve included! YouTube, 6 Dec. 2012. 13 Nov. 2014. . This is right up my alley. Can’t wait to do some traveling in the months to come, this is so inspiring! My hubby would really love to spend hours here photographing every bit! 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. Web. 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. . 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. Another reason why this structure is so important is because it includes the deliberate incorporation of so many local, Visigothic and Christian architectural traditions that would later become very influential in the building of future Islamic buildings. Cordoba Mihrab – Courtesy of Khan Academy. 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. Just, wow. ... Cordoba’s significance. I love writing about historical sites. 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. As you can see, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is an architectural marvel that is both innovative and typical. The Great Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the most important Islamic monument in the West, and one of the world’s most amazing sites. 13 Nov. 2014. Córdoba is a two hour train ride south of Madrid, and draws visitors from all over the world. 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. Its history sums up the complete evolution of the Omeyan style in Spain, along with the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque … The use of banded arches, spoliated columns with Corinthian capitals and hypostyles arches … Lecture. “Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain.” YouTube. I had wondered about that from long. Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe, n.d. The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, also known as the Great Mosque and the Mezquita, is one of the most-visited sites in Spain, and it has the crowds to match. Architecture, from Prehistory to Post-modernism: The Western Tradition. “Great Mosque of Damascus.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. To south: capilla de la Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba converted into chapels style of the Islamic.. 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