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1. The Great Mosque

2. Exterior

3. The Courtyard

4. The Mihrab

5. The Columns


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The Great Mosque

Cordoba, Spain
The centre of Cordoba is the Great Mosque, now a museum and called Mezquita. Starting to be built around 760 under the local ruler Abdurrahman 1, it incorporated Roman architectural traditions, made use of columns from older buildings around, and added the Muslim sentiment of the abstract and the limitless room.
The double arches are very representative for the architecture dominating all over North Africa. The change between dark and light large squares, adds an simplicity contrasted by details in the roof, where arabesques are mixed with Arabic writings.
The first mosque was very small compared to what was to come, and was completed in 785. Abdurrahman doubled its size about 50 years later, while Caliph Hakam doubled it once more in the second half of the 10th century. The last addition came under Vizier al-Mansur around 1000.
Sadly enough, this masterpiece of Western Muslim architecture is spoilt by a Christian cathedral cutting itself right into it in 1523. Even if this is a nice building, too, its a shock to the total construction, that has horrified even medieval Christians.

By Tore Kjeilen