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Mezquita (La Mezquite) - Mosque
This is a building that took 200 years to build and was the inspiration of the first Muslim Emir Abd ar-Rahman I,  and he named it to honour his wife. The Mosque-Cathedral is the greatest in the world, after Mecca. Many emirs succeeded one another at Cordoba, which was one of the greatest capitals of all Islam. Abd-et- Rahman, first independent emir of the Caliphate of Baghdad, founder of the Caliphate of Cordoba was responsible for the construction of the mosque on the site of a Visigoth cathedral which in its turn had succeeded a temple of Janus.
His successors enlarged it. When King Ferdinand the Holy
re-conquered the town in 1236, the mosque was converted into a cathedral. The mosque-cathedral is composed of 19 naves, with a total of nearly 1,000 pillars. .In a magnificent building there are numerous highlights but from an artistic point of view, it is the sections of the old mosque that command most attention.
The Puerta del Perdon ( door of forgiveness ) (16th century), in Moresque style gives access on the northern façade to the Patio de los Naranjos ( Orangery Court ). To the left of this behind a grill, reredos representing the 'Virgen de los Faroles', copy of a picture by the modern painter Julio Tomero de Torres. The bell tower, in Greco Roman style (1593) replaced the Alminar, which had become dangerous.

 The patio is planted with orange trees and palms. It is crossed to enter the church by the Puerta de las Palmas. The interior of the mosque gives the impression of a forest of columns. They are in precious marble, and come from temples at Nimes, Narbonne, Constantinople, Tarragona, Carthage, etc. They are mostly Roman or Visigothic, of unequal height. Two storeys of arches rest on them. The ceilings of the ancient mosque, brilliantly coloured, have been preserved in part.
The Royal Chapel, Mudejar style, is decorated with with stuccos of great beauty. The former chapel of San Pedro, the Kebla, vestibule of the Mihrab, is surrounded by superposed arches. Magnificent mosaics, arabesques, inscriptions and friezes.
The Mihrab in which was deposited the Koran, is a tiny sanctuary, highly decorated.
The Mihrab
The  prayer hall in La Mezquita of Cordoba has the arched Mihrab or prayer niche. A mihrab is used in a mosque to identify the wall that faces Mecca—the birth place of Islam in what is now Saudi Arabia. This is practical as Muslims face toward Mecca during their daily prayers.
The Dome

Pilgrims had to go around the Mihrab  seven times on their knees: the marks of their circular passage are clearly visible in the flagstones. To left and right of the Kebla is the Maķsurah, an enclosure reserved for monarchs. The sacristy, in baroque style, contains a rich treasure: Gothic high altar curtain in silver and precious stones by Enrique de Arfe (16th century) and a golden chalice by Benvenuto Cellini.
The library contains about 200 incunabula (pamphlets or booklets), with Mudejar binding. The Crucero, Christian edifice built in the 16th century, in the centre of the quincunx of the mosque, is in plateresque style.
The Choir with carved seats and stalls. In the Great Chapel (16th century) there is a magnificent baroque tabernacle in coloured marble.




The Patio de los Naranjos or Courtyard of Orange Trees in Mezquita of Cordoba (Cordoba mosque-cathedral) follows from the area  worshippers of Islam set outside for cleansing before prayer. Though after 600 years of Christian control the design and feel has changed. Right up to the 20th century local women used the baroque fountain to collect water. The tower in the orangery courtyard with a sculpture of St. Raphael
contains the original minaret of Abd ar-Rahman III which was damaged during an earthquake.


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