20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cordoba's Great Mezquita-Cathedral

The Mezquita-Cathedral of Cordoba is an architectural, religious and historic wonder. It has been used for thousands of years by peoples from various cultures and religious beliefs and today combines a unique Muslim/Christian blend that is visually stunning.

Decoration on the exterior of the surrounding wall foreshadows what one will discover inside the gates.

Admission  tickets and audio guides are purchased at two separate kiosks inside the spacious gardens.  Oddly, one cannot get the audio without a ticket in hand, so that both complicates and slows the process. It's all somewhat confusing and the cues (visible below) are long, but eventually one realizes to just go with the flow! 

Audio guides dangling around our necks and tickets in hand we step inside the mosque and are overwhelmed by the intricate patterns and paintings. With all of these Christian saints and images one forgets its Moorish past. 

Then, one turns around and beyond the gold and glitter are the magnificent 856 coloured granite jasper and marble pillars.

At 258,333 square feet and said to be able to hold 40,000 people the mosque-cathedral's size is mind boggling.

It's almost impossible to see from one end to the other.

Meanwhile, overhead the beauty of the architecture inspires and awes.

All along the outer perimeters are a series of chapels.

Even their size or square footage is surprisingly spacious. Some are Moorish in design and detail...

While others are unmistakably Christian...

This particular chapel, dedicated to Saint Theresa, houses a gold monstrance. 

Courtesy of http://www.artencordoba.com/en/
At 8.5 feet tall, made of solid gold, and weighing more than 400 pounds the monstrance depicts a 12-sided gothic cathedral. Made in the 16th century by Enrique de Arfel it is opulent, ostentatious and perhaps a little over the top. I say that because I overheard one man cynically ask his wife how many Incas had to die for all that gold to find its way to across the Atlantic and into Spanish coffers. :(

The white domed ceiling is equally impressive.

Then, after contemplating this is the most amazing thing one will ever likely experience in a lifetime we came face-to-face with the cathedral. It is unlike anything we've seen before. Its detail, size, glitter and glitz are utterly breathtaking and all the more impressive because it is smack dab in the centre of a mosque!


It seems fitting that in 1984 the mosque-cathedral and historic centre of Cordoba became a UNESCO World Heritage site. If time allows we'd love nothing better to return and once more experience the grandeur of this amazing structure.

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  1. Fantastic! This was the main attraction for us wanting to go to Cordoba along with enjoying the city itself but time just didn't allow it. It is a beautiful structure and the history is so interesting. It is amazing that the mosque wasn't first destroyed before building the cathedral because that seems to have been the way of doing things way back when, instead of realizing the beauty of the mosque and integrating into the features of the cathedral.

    Thanks for showing me what we missed. Hopefully one day soon we will return to see it for ourselves.


    1. Cordoba is one of those destinations, Ruth, that require a second, third and possibly fourth visit. It's totally walkable with welcoming locals and so very much to see and do. We would love to return one day and yes, you should too!

  2. Cordoba looks amazing. It seems that it has so much to offer.

    1. It does indeed. It deserves so much more than a few hours.

  3. Stunning... just stunning! Isn't it interesting to see the blend of two cultures - maybe a lesson for current-day adherents!
    The sheer beauty that you've captured in these pictures is so uplifting. Thanks Dianne, once again, for sharing your experiences with us.

    1. Unfortunately, the church recently tried to change the name to simply the Cordoba Cathedral on all tourist brochures, Google maps, etc. but it caused such an uproar that the powers that be reinstated the name to include its Moorish past. The battle is far from over, but concerned citizens are continuing to step up to the plate.