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

The Great Mosque. The Mihrab

Cordoba, Spain

As with many other details of the Great Mosque, the story of the mihrab is slightly different. A mihrab has a double purpose: it shall indicate the exact direction towards Mecca, and in the cases where the imam leads the believers into prayer in front of it, his voice gets amplified from its round shape.
But as the Great Mosque was built on the ground of an existing building, the former cathedral, it was not correctly aligned. Sidi ben Ayyub, the first architect had to compromise, and the wall into which the mihrab was not correctly adjusted to the direction towards Mecca.
But that mihrab was abandoned with the later additions to the mosque. The existing mihrab came along about 200 years later. Perhaps as a recompense to the initial sin, everything was done to make this a unique and beautiful mihrab. Byzantine craftsmen were brought to Cordoba, and the mihrab is often mentioned as the finest of all Moorish religious architecture.

By Tore Kjeilen