Bookmark and Share



1. The Great Mosque

2. Exterior

3. The Courtyard

4. The Mihrab

5. The Columns


Open LookLex Encyclopaedia

Open the online Arabic language course

City of The Great Mosque

When the Moors conquered Spain in 711, the first thing they did was destroying most of it. Tribal rivalries left it in neglect for a few decades. But when it was made capital by the ruler Abdurrahman 1 in 756 did a great project of building one of the greatest cities of its time begin.

Cordoba, Spain

Photo: Tor Eigeland/Saudi Aramco World/PADIA

Even more power came to Cordoba when independence from Baghdad was declared in 929. From this time on, Cordoba grew into becoming the largest and most cultural city of Europe, a clear rival to Baghdad and Cairo (founded 969), the two other great cities of the Middle East in the 10th to 13th centuries.
With the slow decline of Muslim control over Spain, as well as the many shifts in ruling dynasties, Cordoba would loose some of its force from the 12th century. Yet, it was no accident that AverroŽs and Maimonides was born here in the same century.
Cordoba was conquered by king Fernando 3 of Castilla in 1236. The new lords neglected Cordoba, but beyond turning mosques into churches, little was done to destroy the heritage of Muslim art.
Another splendid example of the Muslim inheritance in Spain is the old Ummawiyy castle, Alcázar. This served as the headquarters of the catholic kings during the Reconquesta. The main attraction here are the gardens, lavish, extensive, and with water in a central role.
Interesting is also the Jewish synagogue of 1315, one of only three to survive the Christian takeover of Spain.

By Tore Kjeilen