Kapoors Year 4: The Med/India/Sri Lanka travel blog

One Of The Many Doors That No Longer Open To Welcome The...

The Courtyard Of Orange Trees Where Muslims Once Washed Before Entering The...

Anil Deep In Thought As He Studies Our Copy Of The 'Lonely...

Fortunately, This Door Welcomes Visitors Into The Mosque Cum Cathedral, One Of...

Another Door Opens On The Opposite Side Of The 'Patio De Los...

These Balconies Face South Towards The River Along The Facade Of The...

A View Of The Mezquita From A Tower In The Castle Of...

The Dramatic Interior Of The Mezquita With Its Discintive Red And White...

Here It Is Possible To See The Arches Above A Statue Of...

One Of The Islamic Galleries Along The Interior Wall Of The Mosque

Further To The Right, There Is An Even More Elaborately Decorated Doorway...

I Tilted My Camera To Show You The Dome Soaring High Overhead

Not All The Arches Are Red And White And These Compliment The...

There Are Only 856 If The Original 1293 Columns Remaining, Hundreds Were...

This Vaulted Ceiling Is Clearly Christian, It Was Constructed In The 16th...

There Are Dozens Of Christian Altars On The Interior Walls Of The...

One Wall Of The Mosque Has A Huge Wooden Window With Rippled...

The Broken Glass In The Wooden Window Allows A Peek From The...

The Cathedral Domes Are Elaborately Decorated, What A Contrast To The Geometrics...

This Arch Was Unique Within The Mezquite, I Had To Wait For...

Yet Another Style Of Arches, These Ones Below Windows High Up In...

The Elaborately Carved Seats In The Choir Loft

The Main Altar Of The Cathedral Is Flanked By High Windows And...


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I have seen a great deal of Islamic architecture during my travels in North Africa, Egypt, India and the United Arab Emirates, but I was totally unprepared for the beauty of this mosque, built on the foundation of a Visigothic church that had been partitioned between Muslims and Christians. I had been looking forward to seeing the famous Alhambra in Granada, but somehow, no one had ever drawn my attention to this stunning structure here in Cordoba.

When I first read about it, I learned that over 400 hundred of its 1293 columns had been removed from the centre of the mosque in order to construct a huge Christian cathedral in their place. I was appalled that this was allowed to happen, though religious groups have desecrated each other’s places of worship throughout history and continue to do so today. In light of what was done, it makes me realize that we are fortunate that the entire 23,000 sq metre mosque was not demolished completely, and that the remaining 14,000 sq metre prayer hall with over eight hundred columns still stands for us to enjoy and cherish.

While we were touring the mosque cum cathedral, I overheard an English-speaking tour guide describe the events that led to the building of the cathedral. Apparently, a young king had recently been enthroned and he was pressured to allow the construction of the church within the mosque. He was new to his responsibilities and with many other matters weighing on him, he followed the advice of his courtiers and granted permission. He had never even been to Cordoba, had never seen the mosque in all its glory.

Years later, when he was finally able to visit the city, it is said that he wept at the sight of the damage that had been done to this treasure. I have to say, I completely agree with his assessment. While the cathedral is a stunning building on its own, the construction of dozens of small chapels around the perimeter of the mosque meant the permanent closure of nineteen of the doors in the exterior walls. These doors, when opened in the past, would have flooded the interior spaces with light and made the Mezquita even more beautiful.

I hope you can get a small sense of the beauty of the red and white-striped arches in the mosque. I have never seen any so vibrantly decorated and it was hard to resist photographing each and every one of the columns that are still standing. I’m beginning to learn that the less I know about a place before I visit it, the more I am delighted at the beauty and history before me. I hope that you might one day be able to visit the Mezquita yourself and I apologize in advance if my photos take away some of the surprise and awe I have experienced here. If you have visited Cordoba yourself, I trust this will be a reminder of an enchanting place, one that certainly warrants visiting again.

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