Your Majesty, I Do Not Agree with You Regarding Mezquita de Cordoba

The history of the Mezquita de Cordoba is typical for this region of Spain, Andalusia. Many centuries ago, there was an ancient Roman temple on this site; then a Visigoth church; and in 785, the great mosque, Mezquita. This mosque became second in the world in significance, and the hegira to Cordoba was as important as the hajj to Mecca, canonical for every Muslim.


During the Reconquista in 16th century, the Christian church was constructed or to be more exact built right into the mosque. When Charles V, the King of Castile and Aragon, visited it, he said his now famous phrase “They have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city.”

Of course Mezquita/Cathedral de Córdoba became one of the “must see” points of our travel list. We even decided to stay in Córdoba for several nights instead of in Sevilla. Reasons? A number of attractions around Cordoba.

Inside of the Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

Irina, my wife, instructed us (I travelled with my son) to enter Mezquita right after the opening time, at 8:30, to avoid the tourist groups which usually arrive around 10:00, and to feel the sacral atmosphere of the ancient place of worship in seclusion. We did it, but … we entered the inner garden of the mosque along with 200 other visitors. I don’t know if they were tourist groups or not, but they immediately took over the whole mosque and buried our dreams of silence, seclusion, sacral atmosphere, and tranquility.

Inside of the Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

However, Mezquita didn’t lose anything. Moreover, it has nothing to lose! It is so dim and dark inside that even an additional hundred shadows wandering around the numerous identical columns with striped arches can’t change the picture.

Сolumns of the Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

Inside of the Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

The poor illumination which barely prevents your forehead from the meeting with a column creates a mystical twilight which can hardly be associated with the forces of light. If anything, it feels like you have just crossed the Styx (the river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld), said thanks to old Charon for the transport, and entered the kingdom of the dead.

I attempted to shoot the most vivid fragments of Mezquita for you:

An interior of the Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

An interior of Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

However, there is a bright place, the Christian insertion, in the middle of the mosque.

The Christian part of the Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

Your Majesty, with all due respect, the Christian fragment here is the only thing that made Mezquita interesting for visiting. Please, don’t take this the wrong way, Islam is no worse that Christianity or vice versa. Just from an architectural point of view, the Christian part of the temple is executed much more finely than the Islamic one. Nevertheless such a combination of two temples in one is unique. There is nothing like it in the world, and probably this is the second reason why the Mezquita of Cordoba is worth visiting.

The Christian part of the Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

“The vast inner garden of Mezquita is planted with exotic flora,” we read in the guide. Really?! These “exotic” plants grow on every corner of Cordoba or Sevilla and in Andalusia in general (the most southern region of Spain): palms, orange trees, and cypresses.


A patio of the Mezquita de Cordoba.

One of the streets of Cordoba, Spain.

Alcazar of Cordoba, Spain.

Okay, okay, probably the rich collection of exotic plants from different corners of the world was concentrated here once upon a time, but these times are long gone, together with the best times of Mezquita. Although its minaret (now the bell tower) is gorgeous and photogenic, it’s much like every bell tower in Europe.


The rules in Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

More about Spain

Parador Duques de Cardona Hotel: You Are in Medieval Spain Today
Watch Your Step! You are in Madrid!
Mona Lisa Copy in Museo del Prado is Younger than Original

22 thoughts on “Your Majesty, I Do Not Agree with You Regarding Mezquita de Cordoba

  1. Great post as usual Victor. Once I got used to the idea of the Cathedral within a Mosque I thought the two structures sat quite well together. Cordoba is a fine city but I have to say that I preferred Seville.


  2. This is one of my favorite places in the world that I have not been in many years. Thank you for the pictures and bringing back the memories of how much I love and miss Cordoba. The one church I have found almost as captivating as the Mezquite is the church in Quito, Ecuador inlaid on the inside entirely with gold.


      1. I have to agree with Debra and King Karl, though having the two together really makes this a most amazing place. Your pictures are great. I remember the lighting inside made it really hard to get good shots of the Islamic sections.


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