Mezquita, Cordoba, History and Tour
Mezquita, it was once a mosque which now houses 16th century church. But prior to mosque there existed a church of San Vicente built during 6th century. There are some mosaic remains from that original church. Reading this much history of Mezquita had my mind confused and I was not sure what to expect as I stepped into the wonder of medieval world. The construction of Mezquita lasted 2 whole centuries. Abd ar Rahman I, the emir of Cordoba started this grand project. History mentions that The Mezquita held an original copy of Koran and an arm bone of Prophet Mohammed. This place was one of the major Muslim pilgrimage sites.
The Tour of Mezquita
Once inside for tour, the first impression was as if I had stepped into a forest of red and white striped columns and arches. An amazing place, as I passed by the columns I felt as if I was walking between different time intervals. This post has pics of the mosque part of Mezquita. I will cover the church part in another post.
It took us 2hours to complete the tour. But this monument deserves more time. Every corner had something to say or remind of its grand history.
There are 800 red and white columns with double arches. It is not brightly lit inside and I fumbled with my camera settings. It took a few clicks and adjustments to get some decent shots. Once I did that, I focused to frame but the symmetry everywhere stumped me. The columns are topped with double arches, one is the Romansque arch and the lower one a Visgothic horseshoe arch. From one end it seemed as if the columns extended to infinity.
The Prayer Hall Mihrab
The most important part, the prayer hall Mihrab, is an exquisite part of the mosque. It is a one of the most decorated part, a small room with a golden arch entrance. This part was built in 10th century by Al Hakam II. It is said that 3 thousand pounds of colored glass and enamel adorn the walls and the dome here. These were designed by Byzantine craftsmen then.
Mihrab, a semicircular niche in the wall of the mosque. It is in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims faced when praying.